Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Look at the Poor, Pulverized, Palestinians!

What we're supposed to call the "continuing cycle of violence" in Gaza and the increasingly large parts of Israel within range of Palestinian weapons is in the news again. Or still.

Facts, Feelings, and Favoritism

So far, it's the old familiar refrain:
  • "...rising civilian death toll..."
  • "...international condemnations..."
  • "...looming humanitarian disaster..."
Quite a few people in Gaza and around the world are mad at the Jews. For what they think is good reason.

Hamas, after being voted into power in Palestine, continued it's patriotic and noble duty of dropping rockets into Israeli towns and cities. Jews died, which is what they were supposed to do. Then, the Jews got fed up, and are now attacking Hamas strongholds.

The global community reacted the way I've come to expect:
  • Jews getting killed?
    Chill out, man: these things happen
  • Jews fighting back?
    The horror! The humanity! How dare they?
Deeply buried in the Palestinian portion of the perennial Mideast Crisis is a land dispute. Some Palestinians may have a legitimate grievance.

But, and I realize that this sounds intolerant, I don't think that the question of who paid how much for what land should be settled by one side putting explosives on their kids and having them blow up on the neighbor's patio.

But, the Poor, Pathetic Palestinians!!

I've seen photos of Palestinians crying their eyes out. Some of them may have been genuinely upset about something during the photo op. And, I have no doubt that Palestinians who were not currently and directly engaged in killing Jews have gotten killed.

In a war, when fortifications are made of concrete, concrete gets hurt. When fortifications are made of people, people get hurt. Sometimes killed. Hamas has a long, and prudent, habit of putting its command centers, launching equipment, and other targets, behind, under, or among 'civilians.'
Human shields: Protection and Propaganda in One Package
"Prudent" in a Machiavellian sense: If the risk of killing 'civilians' prevents an attack, it's good news for Hamas; if 'civilians' get hurt or killed, it's the fault of the Jews - and a great photo op.

I think Israel recognizes a difference between shopkeepers with a business to run, and terrorists with Jews to kill, and picks its targets accordingly. But then, I'm biased. I tend to favor people who don't turn suicide bombing into a religious act.

The 'human shield' approach to fortification has worked quite well, so far, for Hamas. The global community, from the African Union's Peace and Security Council to the United Nations Security Council, is marching in step behind the 'disproportionate attack' bandwagon: condemning Israel and politely ignoring Hamas attacks on Jews.

With human shields, whatever happens, Hamas wins:
  • If Israeli forces attack, they're more likely to take losses, which Hamas can brag about.
  • If Jews aren't killed, Hamas wins, since they can show photos of poor, pulverized, Palestinians and get sympathy from the 'global community.'
Photos of Jews who got clobbered by the Lions of Islam? Not so much sympathy. After all, they had it coming. At least, that seems to be the conventional wisdom.

Jews Bombed a School!

Today, the United Nations is complaining that those Jews attacked two schools. In one of them, three people were killed. Members of the same family. Men.

Maybe the translation was wacky, but over here an "elementary school" is a place where pre-teens are taught. You'll find adults there, but they're not often related to each other.

There's an explanation: "...The schools were in use as shelters for civilians fleeing the military operation. The buildings were 'clearly marked' with U.N. flags, and the agency said it had given the global-positioning coordinates of all its schools to Israeli authorities...." (CNN) The article isn't clear on the point, but it looks like the Israeli forces were firing on a Hamas mortar position next to the school.

And Hamas wins: What people will remember, generally, is that those Jews bombed a school.

Why Aren't the Jews Bombing Orphanages?

'Unprovoked' Israeli attacks on schools, mosques, and other tear-jerker targets get publicized. Why don't we read about the Jews bombing orphanages? A story like that would practically write itself, and photos of crying kids would be a great marketing tool for Hamas and like-minded organizations.

I've come to the conclusion that, although Middle Eastern culture recognizes the existence of orphans, children without parents are not put in orphanages. I could be wrong about this: but during the entire "unilateral" invasion of Iraq, I didn't read or hear about a single orphanage being bombed.

Since Yankee imperialists (funny, that phrase seems to have gone out of fashion) were killing hundreds of people in hospitals all over Iraq at the time (Saddam's version of reality), I'd have expected a few burning orphanages, too.

I suppose even Middle Eastern propaganda draws the line somewhere, when it comes to making up stories.

Related posts: In the news: Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.