By Another Name
today went into the homes and schools
of Palestinians in the West Bank and
Gaza, dragged children out into the
street and shot them without provocation.
Given the media distortions
and Palestinian propaganda you might
not immediately recognize this as a fictional
lead to a news story. I made it up to
illustrate a point that no one in the
press seems to have made, and that is
not a single Palestinian youth would
have been injured in the last three months
if they were in their homes and schools
where they belong. Why hasn’t anyone
asked the obvious question: Why are these
kids on the streets throwing stones and
Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers
and civilians instead of studying in
school and doing their homework at home?
One explanation may
relate to the breakdown of authority
in the Palestinian family structure.
Parents no longer can control their children.
I wouldn’t want to say parents don’t
care about the welfare of their children,
but it’s hard to imagine why they would
rather see them confronting soldiers
with guns than teachers with erasers.
The more cynical answer
is that Palestinian leaders see their
children as pawns in a larger political
chess game. The pawns can be sacrificed
to gain international sympathy for their
It is certainly tragic
that Palestinians are dying in confrontations
they are provoking, but it’s hard to
be too sympathetic to their complaints
about the imbalance of the death toll.
Would they decry the violence if the
majority of dead were Jews?
And what about complaints
of excessive force? The reality is that
many of the Palestinians who have been
killed had guns and were shooting at
soldiers, or were mixed in among people
with guns. Listening to people like the
insufferable Hanan Ashrawi you get the
impression that Israeli soldiers should
simply stand with their arms behind their
backs and offer themselves as targets
for Palestinians hoping to make their
Olympic team in rock throwing.
Imagine what would happen
in our great democracy if people were
out throwing rocks at police. It’s not
hard to predict the response. Think about
what would happen in New York, where
police have used deadly force in cases
with far less provocation.
The one question I have
for Israelis — and I’ve never seen it
answered — is why they don’t use water
cannons like they do in Europe. Maybe
in the parched Middle East water is too
valuable to spend dousing demonstrators,
but it seems that blowing them away with
water would be preferable to doing the
same with bullets.
Israel’s use of tanks
and helicopters have validated a position
many have long held regarding the alleged
threat posed by a Palestinian state.
Years ago an Israeli paratrooper said
that he favored a Palestinian state because
it would make it easy to know where the
bad guys are. Look how easy it is for
Israel to cripple Palestine and take
out its leadership. The helicopter gunships
knew exactly where Arafat’s headquarters
were and purposely chose to destroy the
building next door after warning the
occupants to leave. Next time, they adjust
the target and timing and it’s hasta
la vista, Yasir.
No one in Israel wants
war with the Palestinians. It would be
preferable to live side by side in peace,
but the Palestinians aren’t willing to
do so. They will never be satisfied with
any deal that an Israeli government can
live with. It looks more and more like
Israel and Palestine will live in a state
of limbo the way Israel and Lebanon have
coexisted for the last 15 years.