Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

It's Okay for Troops to Shoot Civilians, Unless They Have Blue Eyes

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

It's Okay for Troops to Shoot Civilians, Unless They Have Blue Eyes

Article excerpt

It's Okay for Troops to Shoot Civilians, Unless They Have Blue Eyes

SECRETARY OF STATE Warren Christopher rushed from the Nov. 12 Cairo economic summit to a crisis meeting in Paris with the three leaders of Bosnia's Muslim, Croat and Serb communities. The Bosnian Serbs were refusing to let a regular council of ministers be formed because they want only the weakest of governments in Sarajevo. With help from France and others, Christopher extracted a Serb promise to work with State Department officials.

During a subsequent press conference, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns was asked to comment on firing by Bosnian Serb troops on Muslim civilians trying to return to their homes in Serb-controlled areas. "It is intolerable for armed troops to fire on civilians in this fashion," Burns declared. He added that freedom of movement by civilians back to their homes was an absolute essential for peace in Bosnia, regardless of whether the Serbs wanted this to happen.

Ironically, the brutal treatment by Serb soldiers of Bosnia's "blue-eyed" Muslims, which the U.S. finds "intolerable," is identical with the treatment meted out by Israeli soldiers to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967, and the hundreds deported since then. …

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