US/Israel: Sibling Lessons

Oftentimes in culture, it is up to the older siblings to teach the younger siblings the extent of values that cannot be impacted upon them by their parents.  I can recall many quiet (and several rather loud) conversations with my little brother and sister about the way things are, the way things should be, right, wrong, and most importantly, the family ways of getting things done.


In the case of Israel, it appears that it’s learned quite well at the side of its older sibling, the Unites States.  Despite only having been a nation since 1948, the state of Israel continues to impress its older peer with continued fervent dedication to the mores of the family.  Unfortunately, the family’s mores involve war crimes, human rights violations, and blatant terrorism.


CNN.com reported on 12/24/07 that no officers would be charged for the use of cluster bombs during the 2006 conflict against Hezbollah in particular and the Lebanese population in general. (http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/12/24/israel.cluster.bombs.ap/index.html)  According to the article, as many as one million bomblets dropped on Lebanon did not explode.  The article goes on to state that even the U.S. State Department surmised that the ordinance had been misused.


Of course, The United States would know a thing or two about the misuse of cluster bombs.  So would Laos.


According to Wendy Batson of Handicap International, between the years 1964 and 1973, the United States Air Force dropped 90 million cluster bomblets, thirty percent of which failed to detonate as intended.  The bombings came at a rate of one per 8 minutes-for 9 years.  These unexploded bombs continue to kill Laotians everyday, and have killed 12,000 people since 1973.


The United States has said little about it, and has certainly not taken any steps to even consider prosecuting the officers who ordered the bombings that continue to kill and maim even nearly 35 years later, so why would anyone expect anything else out of Israel, even with a slight verbal (and quite hypocritical) wristslap from the U.S. State Department?


Israel is part of “the family”.  Even if it’s rebuked in public, in private, family tends to support one another.  This is no exception.  Israel has internalized the lesson of its older sibling, and has done so quite effectively.


The good news is that on the international front, many countries are starting to work together to rid the world of the plague of cluster bombs.  There was a conference in Lima on the subject in May of 2007, and it featured the participation of 67 states.  138 countries participated in a recent summit in Vienna to forge an agreement on the elimination of cluster bombs.  Even the United States Congress is starting to get in on the act in a limited capacity, as it pushed through a moratorium on exporting the cluster bombs.


Let us hope that this leads to new lessons learned by the older sibling, and that the younger sibling starts to absorb these new standards sooner as opposed to later.

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