With support from the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi forces recaptured Ramadi from Islamic State (IS) at the end of last year, leaving the city in ruins. The extent of the devastation was largely the result of American aerial bombardment and IS’s tactic of heavily booby-trapping the city with explosives. The destruction makes the IDF’s 2014 operation in Gaza pale in comparison, but, Evelyn Gordon writes, don’t expect European or American officials to withdraw their condemnations of Israel:
[A] Pentagon spokesman correctly blamed Islamic State for the damage to Ramadi: “100 percent of this is on IS because no one would be dropping any bombs if IS hadn’t gone in there,” Colonel Steven H. Warren told [reporters].
Yet in Gaza, both the Obama administration and European officials largely blamed the damage on Israel rather than Hamas, even though Israeli airstrikes were employed for the exact same reason, sometimes caused greater-than-expected damage for the exact same reason, and obviously wouldn’t have been launched at all had Hamas not attacked Israel to begin with. Indeed, Israel’s airstrikes were arguably far more justified than America’s were: IS wasn’t firing missiles at America from Ramadi or digging attack tunnels into American territory from Ramadi. In contrast, Hamas had fired thousands of rockets at Israel from Gaza over the previous decade and dug dozens of cross-border attack tunnels, including one that notoriously emerged right next to a kindergarten. . . .
I don’t really expect any Obama administration or European official to admit to having unjustly criticized Israel during the Gaza war. But any fair-minded person comparing the devastation of Ramadi to that in Gaza should reach the same conclusion a group of high-ranking Western military experts did in a comprehensive report issued last month: that, during the Gaza war, Israel “met and in some respects exceeded the highest standards we set for our own nations’ militaries.”