From Israel, Zvi Bar’el writes: “At the end of last week we received a reminder about the environment we’re living in. We heard Iran’s ruler talk about Israel’s destruction, we saw the Syrian army massacring its own people. Some leaders have no compunctions about harming their people or their neighbors,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the cabinet meeting. True, it’s a lousy environment. Only one sentence is needed to complete the picture: “And there are governments that don’t mind continuing to occupy other nations for nearly 50 years.”
It isn’t just the environment that’s bad. It’s also that “the international community” – mainly Western countries – can’t claim a monopoly on international morality. A veto by just one of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members is enough for a murderous leader to continue killing his country’s citizens, and for those citizens to realize that the “international community” is nothing more than a noisy microphone.
In a single moment, Russia became the bad guy in the Syrian story. An evil empire. But what was rejected in the resolution? Nothing concrete that could stop the slaughter, no intention to impose sanctions, not even a hint at military intervention. What have the United States and the Europeans done to help Syria’s people? And what do they plan to do? Just what they’ve been doing so far.
It’s hard to swallow the Russian and Chinese veto of the resolution that merely intended to demand a stop to the violence. Even Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom was disappointed by the veto and Knesset members were appalled by Russia’s behavior.
It’s interesting that the Russian-Chinese veto is rousing such profound anger and loathing in a country that permanently relies on an American veto.