Mitchell Bard 
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© Mitchell Bard 2016

War By Another Name

Israeli soldiers 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 demands.

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.