Retired general Andrew Leslie recently told Conservative political staffer, Alexandra Constantinidis, that Israeli defence forces fired “indiscriminately” on Palestinian women and children in the recent conflict in Gaza, according to media reports.
Andrew Leslie, who plans to run as a Liberal candidate in Ottawa-Orleans, is co-chair of a group of advisers to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau on international affairs. As such, one might expect him to have a better grasp of the Hamas-Israel conflict and especially Hamas’ strategy of using human shields for their military emplacements and compounds.
The retired Lieutenant-General may have had good reason to believe he was talking to a political friend and felt free to express himself. The gotcha aspect of this story, though, is beside the point. Leslie openly suggested the Israelis had little regard for women and children, and that flies in the face of prevailing evidence.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau seems to share Leslie’s concern over civilian deaths in Gaza, but he has not suggested that the Israel government was acting indiscriminately—nor has Prime Minister Stephen Harper or NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.
It is maddening to hear people like Andrew Leslie hold Israel to account for every civilian death in Gaza while making little or no allowance for the underlying reasons Palestinian civilians are put in harms way during conflicts with Hamas.
A captured Hamas urban warfare manual—Introduction to the City War—tells of the benefits of civilian deaths and openly admits that Israel tries to avoid them.
“The destruction of civilian homes: This increases the hatred of the citizens toward the attackers and increases their gathering around the city defenders,” according to the manual.
The manual also explained how populated urban areas make Israeli operations difficult because Israeli soldiers try not to harm civilians.
Another report tells us that after visiting Israel, retired British colonel Richard Kemp said, “I believe that on the basis of everything that I’ve seen, that everything the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] does to protect civilians and to stop the death of innocent civilians is a great deal more than any other army, and it’s more than the British and the American armies.”
Many Canadians share the opinion that Justin Trudeau is not ready to be our prime minister. Well, in my view, neither is Andrew Leslie ready to be a member of our parliament and I hope for all our sakes that Trudeau is getting second opinions when it comes to advice on international affairs from Leslie.