It’s interesting, and unsettling, to note the near-absence of Democratic Party criticism of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, even as the Bush Administration executes a near-180-degree turn in its policy toward the crisis.
The vote in the UN Security Council yesterday, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza — and pointedly not demanding an end to Hamas rocket fire as a condition for that ceasefire — passed by an unanimous 14-0 vote. The important shift, undoubtedly brought about by Israel’s killing of UN workers, Palestinian civilians, and high-profile attacks on schools and refuges, was by the United States, which abstained rather than veto the resolution. The Washington Post calls it a “sharp reversal” by the White House:
“The resolution demands an ‘immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza,’ U.S. and Arab officials said. It marked a sharp reversal by the Bush administration, which had refused to allow passage of a cease-fire resolution without binding assurances that Hamas would halt its rocket attacks against Israel.”
Eating humble pie, Palestine-style, Secretary of State Condi Rice — who had earlier parroted the White House line that any ceasefire would have to be “sustainable and durable” and not a return to the “status quo” — now says:
“We decided that this resolution — the text of which we support, the goals of which we support and the objectives of which we fully support — should indeed be allowed to go forward.”
Jackson Diehl, the deputy editorial page editor of the Post and no dove, opined bluntly in his op-ed:
“Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip is failing. … Every day this war continues, Hamas grows politically stronger, as do its allies in other countries and its sponsor, Iran. … Now, bogged down, suffering casualties and inflicting many more, creating terrible pictures for television, it will have to accept an unsatisfying settlement.”
Of course, as I’ve argued in The Dreyfuss Report, the Israeli attack was almost certain to boost Hamas.