One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Who’s to blame for the war in Gaza? Palestinian children, of course

Natan Sharansky demonstrates an exercise in sickening oversimplification.

gaza-german-mapIsrael’s assault on Hamas is just the latest in a long chain of military clashes, the scripts of which are always the same. On one side, there is the Israeli army. Technologically and militarily superior, its soldiers are motivated by a powerful commitment to their country’s security. On the other, there are Palestinian terrorists whose aim is to kill as many innocent Israelis as possible by unleashing missiles and suicide bombers on civilian centers. Then, when Israel retaliates, they appeal to the world with gruesome images of Palestinian suffering as part of a global campaign to prevent Israel from defending itself.

Yep, and it’s not at all this kind of black-and-white moral depiction that accelerates this cycle that Sharansky supposedly deplores.  But it gets worse: not only is every Palestinian an insidious guerrilla exploiting the suffering of civilians, but Palestinian children are not as deserving of protection as other innocent civilians.

Inevitably, some of these protests come from Israelis. Last week, before the tanks had begun rolling into Gaza, the journalist Tom Segev put it bluntly in a column he wrote in Ha’aretz. “A child in Sderot is the same as a child in Gaza,” he wrote, “and anyone who harms either is evil.”

Mr. Segev is correct when he says that the suffering of children on either side is intolerable — this is why the pictures from Gaza make us shudder. But he is wrong to draw a moral equivalence between the two sides. In this, he lends a hand to the Palestinians’ most shameful military tactic: pimping the suffering of their civilians as a weapon of war.

And — yes, there’s more — the UN refugee agency charged with caring for the over one million refugees in Gaza is actually making their lives worse by not forcing them back to homes that they don’t have.

Why is it that the tempers raised by the Israel-Palestine issues give rise to the most shockingly inhumane moral pronouncements, on both sides?  The question tempts one to pledge, as Kevin Jon Heller has, simply not to write about the area at all.

(map from Wikimedia Commons)


January 6, 2009 - Posted by | Middle East | , , ,

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