Quick, take a fast current events quiz:
1. Since the start of the Palestinian intifadas (Intifada I in 1987 and Intifada II in 2000), how many Palestinian civilians were intentionally murdered by Israel?
2. Since the start of the Palestinian intifadas, how many of the Israeli fatalities were civilians intentionally murdered by the PLO, Hamas, and their affiliates?
Now, if you’ve 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 is “zero” and the correct answer to the second 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 Jews shot back. These are people who were killed in 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 endeavors against Israeli civilians.
True, Israeli anti-terror operations are not so surgically exact that only guilty terrorists are dispatched to Allah. I am quite sure that if and when military technology is invented for killing only guilty terrorists when they hide among innocent civilians, Israel will be the first country to adopt it. Until then, however, when Palestinians intentionally target and murder Jewish civilians, innocent Palestinian civilians will suffer the consequences of Arab terror.
Israel suffers from a fundamental strategic problem, one which hinders its ability to defend itself – namely, the fact that modern Hebrew does not have a linguistic equivalent of the American slang expression “Tough!” As a result, Israeli politicians generally fail to answer the world’s whining about Palestinian civilians getting hurt in counter-terror operations with that most succinct of one-word responses.
International law recognizes the rights of countries at war to attack terrorists and 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 the massive allied bombings 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!”
Ditto for Japanese civilians killed in World War II. 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 afterIsrael completely withdrew from Gaza.
Don’t want Palestinian civilians killed when Israel shoots back? Simple. Stop the rocket attacks on Israel. Don’t like Israeli reprisals? Simple. Stop the terror atrocities committed by Palestinians against Jews.
When 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 for inspection.
Want Palestinians to earn decent wages and have a comfortable life? Simple. Suppress Palestinian terrorism. Stop Palestinian rocket aggression.
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!
Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.