Wednesday, June 28, 2006
By Steven Plaut
Quick, take a fast current events quiz:
1. Since the start of the Palestinian "intifada", how many innocent
Palestinian civilians have been intentionally murdered by Israel?
2. Since the start of the Palestinian "intifada", how many innocent
Israeli civilians have been intentionally murdered by the PLO, the Hamas,
and their affiliates?
Now if you have been relying on the mainstream media, you will be forgiven
for not knowing the correct answers to those two questions. The correct
answer to the first question is "zero", and the correct answer to the
second question is "All of them!"
That's right. Not a single innocent Palestinian has been intentionally
killed by Israel during the past two decades of "intifada" violence. But
every single one of the hundreds of Jewish civilians killed was an
intentional act of Palestinian murder.
Sure, plenty of guilty Palestinians have been killed, and these include
murderers, leaders in terror organizations, rank and file terrorists, and
people setting up rocket launchers to fire at Jewish civilians. And sure,
there have also been innocent Palestinian civilians who were killed or
injured when the Jews shot back. These are people who were killed in the
same Israeli anti-terror operations necessitated by Palestinian terrorist
aggression and atrocities.
There is a fundamental difference, however, between Palestinian civilians
getting killed in anti-terror operations and reprisals by Israel and
Israeli civilians, who are killed by Palestinian Islamofascists. The
Palestinian dead are unintended collateral damage from operations aimed at
stopping rocket attacks and other terrorist attacks against Israeli
civilians. True, Israeli anti-terror operations are not so "surgically
exact" that only guilty terrorists get killed in them. I am quite sure
that if and when such a precise military technology is invented, for
killing only guilty terrorists when they hide among innocent civilians,
Israel will be the first country on earth to adopt it. However, until
then, when Palestinians intentionally target and murder Jewish civilians,
innocent Palestinian civilians may suffer the consequences of Arab terror.
Jewish civilians are ALWAYS the target of Palestinian terror. Israeli
soldiers hurt by the terrorists are generally the unintended collateral
Israel suffers from a fundamental strategic problem, which damages its
ability to defend itself, namely, the fact that modern Hebrew does not
have a linguistic equivalent to the American slang expression "Tough!"
True, it has some words for "What a Shame," but they do not quite convey
the same meaning. As a result, Israeli politicians generally fail to
respond to whines from the world about Palestinian civilians getting hurt
in counter-terror operations by saying, "Tough!"
There has never been a war in which only soldiers get killed, and there
does not exist a weapons technology that allows military strikes to take
place in an exact manner where no civilians near military targets ever get
hurt. Such surgical precision is all the more impossible when terrorists
intentionally hide within and behind civilian populations. International
law recognizes the rights of countries at war to attack terrorists and
even soldiers when they are hiding among civilians, even when such attacks
produce civilian deaths. International law assigns blame for those deaths
on the belligerents who use the civilians as their "human shields". As
well it should.
When German civilians were killed in massive allied bombing of Germany in
World War II, when schools with German children were blown to bits, the
American command did not send out forensics crews to examine whether the
shell or bomb had really come from an American plane or perhaps from
something else. The Allied command just said "Tough!". Nazi Germany had
started the war, engaged in barbarous aggression and genocide, and Germany
. including its civilians . would have to bear the consequences. Don't
like German children being targeted? Then don.t start a world war.
Ditto for Japanese civilians killed in World War II. Let us keep in mind
that far more innocent Japanese civilians died in the conventional bombing
of Tokyo than in the two nuclear explosions. Bombing Tokyo was necessary
to end the war. (Actually, so was bombing Hiroshima.) Civilians died
as a result? Tough!
When Palestinians on a Gaza beach are killed by an Israeli shell (if that
is what really happened, and there are reasons to doubt it), then the
moral responsibility for those deaths rests squarely on the shoulders of
the Palestinian terrorists who necessitate Israeli return fire. These are
the same terrorists who have fired thousands of rockets and mortar shells
into Israeli civilian areas, even after Israel completely withdrew from
the Gaza Strip. These are the murdering Islamofascists who have turned
the Negev town of Sderot, well inside Israel's pre-1967 borders, into the
Israeli equivalent of Guernica, under daily bombardment. Sderot's
low-income civilians live in bunkers, afraid for their lives.
Don't want Palestinian civilians killed when Israel shoots back? Simple.
Stop the rocket attacks on Sderot.
Don't like Israeli reprisals? Simple. Stop the terror atrocities
committed by Palestinians against Jews.
You want Palestinians to move about freely without being searched at
checkpoints? Simple. Stop the campaign of bombings, suicide mass
murders, and atrocities by the Palestinians. When the Palestinians stop
murdering Jews, no one will have to check their cars. When Palestinian
ambulances no longer carry explosives and murderers, no one will stop them
You want the Palestinians to earn decent wages, have a comfortable life?
Simple. Suppress Palestinian terrorism. Stop Palestinian rocket
aggression. Then they can even hold day jobs in Israel if they want.
They are welcome to shop in Israel and get Israeli medical treatment. No
But as long as the terror continues, don't expect Israel to respond by
turning the other cheek and abandoning self-defense. Don't like it?
TOUGH! When suicide bombers blow up Israeli buses and cafes, military
strikes at the perps will continue and Palestinian civilians may well die.
Tough! You don't want innocent Palestinian civilians to have to die?
Stop the mass atrocities against Jewish children and other living things!
Don't like civilians getting hurt in wars? Then don't start wars of terror
and aggression against Israel.
The Bash-Israel lobby keeps coming up with new forms of political
aggression against the Jewish state. The newest goes something like this.
Until Israel is technologically capable of killing terrorists hiding in
the middle of cities full of civilians without a single Palestinian
civilian being injured as "collateral damage", then Israel should be
coerced into adopting a policy of Quaker pacifism, under which it does not
respond or retaliate at all to terror atrocities.
In other words, by demanding that Israel only implement 100% pure military
tactics that no other army on earth has ever adopted, the Bash-Israel
lobby is in effect really insisting that Israel stop defending its own
civilians altogether. Israel should just respond to the firing of
thousands of rockets at its civilians by turning the other cheek, becoming
the first nation on earth to adopt such pacifism as its military strategy.
Israel must be disarmed, while the terrorism must be rewarded. And if
Israel dares to shoot back, it becomes the aggressor. By the same logic,
Britain and the US were the real aggressors against Germany in 1944.
Such disingenuous demands for utopian purity in military operations, even
when they come from Israel's own Leftists, are little more than a demand
for unconditional Israeli capitulation to terror. Indeed, the only
permissible defensive strategy such people are willing to allow Israel to
follow is such capitulation.
Let us stop with the rhetorical pretenses and affectations! People who
are "only" outraged when Palestinian civilians are unintentionally hurt by
Israel, but have nothing to say against the mass rocket attacks on Sderot,
are naked anti-Semites. They consider Jewish children legitimate targets
of Arab aggression and Islamofascist terror because they hate Jews. In
reality, they do not care a fig about Palestinian civilian casualties.
Such causalities are such delightful propaganda tools that can be
exploited to demonize the Jews.
There is only one effective way to prevent Palestinian civilian
casualties, and that is to stop the Palestinian terrorist aggression
against Israel. But that is the one solution to the problem that these
modern day pogromchiki, including the academic brownshirts, will never
allow to be implemented.
2. June 28, 2006
Stop Terror at Its Source
By MICHAEL OREN
June 28, 2006; Page A14
JERUSALEM -- Dawn broke yesterday over the Israel-Gaza border on a surreal
but not unfamiliar scene: Rows of Merkava tanks, armored personnel
carriers and Humvees were assembled in preparation for an incursion into
the strip. These forces -- when given the green light -- would punch
through booby-trapped refugee camps in search of Hamas and Islamic Jihad
gunmen, while Israeli jets and helicopters hunt the terrorists from above.
By invading Gaza, Israel hopes to counter increasingly bold Palestinian
attacks -- such as the firing of some 1,000 Qassam rockets at Israeli
border towns and the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hamas earlier
this week. The troops will probably net a large number of terrorists and
may rescue the captured soldier. But while the operation may flex its
military muscle, it cannot restore Israel's deterrence power or prevent
future rocket attacks and kidnappings. Indeed, the attack may well prove
Pyrrhic -- inflicting greater injury on Israel than on the Palestinians.
The quandary Israel confronts today originated in the unilateral
withdrawal of all Israeli settlers and soldiers from Gaza last August. A
sizable majority of Israelis supported disengagement, excruciating as it
was, as a means of achieving a national consensus on the country's borders
and of preserving its vital Jewish majority.
Yet even those Israelis most in favor of the Gaza pullout understood that
many Palestinians would interpret the move as a strategic retreat and a
victory for Hamas and al-Aqsa terror. "We shot at the Jews and they fled
Gaza," they would say, "so let's keep shooting and they'll abandon Tel
Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem." Israel could have refuted that claim by
responding immediately and massively to every infiltration and to every
rocket fired, irrespective of whether the attacks caused Israeli
casualties. Gaza is now a de facto independent state, Israel should have
declared, and like any other state it must bear the consequences of its
* * *
But Israel did none of this. On the contrary, infiltrations and rocket
strikes began almost the day after the Gaza disengagement. The primary
target was Sderot, a working-class town in the western Negev populated
mostly by long-settled immigrants from North Africa and more recent
arrivals from Russia. Israel responded with missile attacks aimed at
eliminating the Palestinian rocket crews and destroying the Qassam
factories. But the crews were too elusive and the factories too readily
The attacks against Sderot and other border towns intensified -- several
Qassams struck Askhelon, Israel's major industrial city in the south --
and the Palestinians elected a Hamas government sworn to escalate the
violence. Israel retaliated by blasting the Qassam launching areas with
artillery fire, but the barrages did little but churn up dirt and
accidentally hit civilians. The Jewish state, from a Palestinian
perspective, seemed helpless.
Israel's impotence was the product of several factors, firstly Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's reluctance to reoccupy Gaza so soon after
evacuating it. Then came Mr. Sharon's stroke and the Israeli elections,
during which, traditionally, Israel refrains from staging large-scale
operations. Finally, Ehud Olmert succeeded in cobbling together a
left-of-center coalition that pledged to proceed with the unilateral
disengagement from the territories (or, as it is now called, convergence),
but largely abandoned Mr. Sharon's hard-hitting antiterror tactics.
Though himself a resident of Sderot, Minister of Defense Amir Peretz, a
Laborite and advocate of renewed talks with the Palestinians, vowed to
exercise maximum restraint and to "count the shells" that the Israel
Defense Forces fired into Gaza. Indeed, when Qassams were smashing into
Sderot last week and Mr. Peretz's neighbors were on a hunger strike in
front of his house, the defense minister was in Jerusalem stumping for his
candidates in the Jewish Agency elections.
Israel's inaction has provided a bonanza to Hamas. By demonstrating that
disengagement impaired rather than enhanced Israeli security, Hamas has
dissuaded many Israelis from supporting a similar withdrawal from the West
Bank, from where Qassams could be launched at Tel Aviv and the Ben-Gurion
airport. By firing the rockets from densely populated neighborhoods, the
Palestinians have forced Israel to kill and wound civilian bystanders,
sullying its reputation abroad. Indeed, many world leaders and virtually
all of the press hastened to condemn Israel for allegedly firing a shell
onto a Gaza beach that killed eight Palestinians. That the IDF denied
firing the shell and that the Palestinians destroyed exculpatory evidence
by gouging shrapnel from the victims' limbs could not repair the damage to
Collateral damage not only hurts Israel's international standing, it also
divides the country internally. Many Israelis grieve over the deaths of
innocent Palestinians, even those incurred in successful strikes against
terrorists. Israel's Supreme Court is now considering two lawsuits against
the IDF, both filed by Israelis, for the unintentional deaths of 15
civilians while killing Hamas commander Selah Shahada in 2002.
The deaths of more than a dozen Palestinian civilians by Israeli fire in
the last few weeks has further widened these schisms, pinning the
government between the leftists who denounce its callousness and the
generals who disdain its sheepishness. An Israeli raid into Gaza will
almost certainly result in a frightful number of civilian deaths. The
press will once again focus on funerals and mourning families and forget
the reason for Israel's action. Israelis will once again agonize over
whether these casualties were justified or avoidable.
Palestinians will not be the only ones killed. Hundreds of Qassams fell on
Sderot but it took the deaths of two soldiers and the kidnapping of a
third to move the government to consider major military action. Soldiers
are Israel's Everyman -- or rather Everychild -- and Israelis are acutely
sensitive to their safety. Yet in retaliating for the rocket attacks and
trying to free the hostage, the IDF will almost certainly suffer
After a few days of heated battles and accusations of Israeli atrocities,
the government will be compelled to extract its forces from Gaza, but not
all the soldiers will be going home. And the rockets will keep raining on
Sderot. Posing as defenders of the land, Hamas will be made more, not
less, popular by the Israeli attack, and Abu Mazen will be commensurately
weakened. Mr. Olmert will be unable to proceed on convergence and the
Israeli right will begin its inexorable return to office.
There is, however, one way to avert a public relations disaster for
Israel, to limit casualties, and to restore Israel's deterrence power:
Israel must return to the targeted-killing policy that enabled Mr. Sharon
to triumph over terrorist organizations. Israel must target those
Palestinians who order others to fire rockets from within civilian areas
but whose families are located safely away from the firing zones. No Hamas
or Islamic Jihad leader should be immune from such reprisals -- neither
Prime Minister Ismail Haniya nor Khaled Meshal, who masterminds Hamas from
Damascus. Though there is certain to be some international backlash, the
damage to Israel's image will likely be temporary. Who today remembers
Abdel Aziz Ranitisi and Sheikh Yassin? Those responsible for causing
injury and death to both Israelis and Palestinians must pay the ultimate
price. Only then can quiet be restored to Israel's borders and progress
toward either unilateral or negotiated solutions resumed.
Mr. Oren, senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, is author of
"Six Days of War" (Oxford, 2002).
URL for this article:
3. In the US, a pro-terror seditious professor can be fired:
Why not in Israel?
4. Tikkun Magazine Pseudo-Rabbis Celebrate the Kidnapping of the Israeli
5. Gyno-paganism comes to Tikkun:
6. Tikkun mourns the killing of al-Zarqawi:
7. The Outing of Ami Isseroff, rabid Beilinite:
8. Targeted Assassinations:
9. Naked anti-Semitism at Yediot Ahronot: