Understatement

Israeli soldier at Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah (Source: BBC News) A short news summary from BBC News:

US criticises Arafat siege. The White House describes the destruction of the Palestinian leader’s West Bank HQ as “unhelpful” – the US’s first questioning of Israel’s actions.
[BBC News | WORLD]

Understatements can be funny, and this news story actually gave me a pained laugh. Because this particular understatement is tragicomic rather than funny.

“Unhelpful” is an impotent word. A word deliberately void of reproach. It’s a word used by mediators when one of the parties has just lashed out but there’s still hope for a peaceful resolution to a tense situation, and both parties respect the mediator’s say on the matter. It’s not a word that has any meaning when the party saying it is 1) 100% on the side of one of the parties, and 2) that party is actively trying to kill the other party.

The murder of the democratically elected (Nobel peace laureate) Arafat will clearly be “unhelpful” in the process toward peace. As it has been for years, US policy appears to continue to be that Israel should only kill the Palestinian people and country slowly rather than quickly, because the latter causes too much press.

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