Sometimes the underdog is wrong. The brutal regimes of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin were all weaker than the forces that ultimately vanquished them.
Yet for decades the Palestinians have mastered the art of persuading the world that because they die in greater numbers and have inferior arms, they are more deserving of sympathy and support in their conflict with Israel.
Israel’s Military Edge Safeguards its Survival
Here’s why they are wrong:
1) Israel’s military edge safeguards its survival in the world’s toughest neighborhood. But if a SWAT team is better armed than a wild gunman they must neutralize, does that mean that they’re at fault when the gunman dies?
2) Israel’s casualty figures are smaller because Israel tries to protect life by investing in anti-missile defense, shelters and early-warning systems to minimize the deaths caused by Palestinian rocket attacks.
3) By contrast, Palestinian terrorists purposely endanger life by targeting Israeli civilians while using Palestinian civilians as human shields (to maximize the PR benefits of any Israeli reprisals).
4) Israel’s death toll should be adjusted for its tiny population, to feel the true “national pain” of each loss. When Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered three Israeli teenagers last month, it was proportionally comparable to the murder and abduction of about 118 Americans teenagers. How many Taliban would die from a US military response to the Taliban abduction and murder of 118 American teenagers?
5) Gaza-based terrorism is inflicting collective punishment on roughly eight million Israelis living under the constant threat of rocket attacks. How could anyone focus on work when blaring sirens regularly compel civilians to seek shelter in less than a minute? How much sleep could one get? Drivers must get out of their cars, lie on the pavement face down with their hands over their heads and wait 10 minutes until the danger has ostensibly passed. Many elderly or disabled persons must descend flights of stairs to access shelter, and the scramble to safety could be as dangerous as staying unprotected. In fact, an elderly woman died while seeking shelter from an incoming rocket in Haifa. How long would the US expect its citizens to live under such conditions before deploying overwhelming firepower to eradicate the threat?
6) In the Middle East, the weak perish quickly, and Israel—the only Jewish state (with eight million people in territory the size of New Jersey), surrounded by 22 Arab Muslim states aimed at its destruction (totaling about 370 million people)—cannot afford to lose a war.
World Leaders and Media Duped into Simplistic Thinking
The fact that Israel does not cause far greater casualties to strengthen its deterrence demonstrates Israel’s morality and restraint.
Yet most observers are oblivious to these key considerations and simplistically look at comparative casualty figures before reflexively concluding that Israel is wrong. When world leaders and media are duped into simplistic thinking, the result is a glaring double standard.
Consider the United Nations. By the end of the third day of Operation Protective Edge – last Thursday – more than 350 rockets had been fired at Israel. In a justified military operation to protect its citizens, the Israel Air Force had carried out almost 900 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, resulting in at least 90 Palestinians killed (according to Palestinian reports) and a UN Security Council emergency session. It took just three days and 90 Palestinian dead for the UN Security Council to convene the emergency session, yet there had been no emergency session to address the scores of unprovoked rocket attacks against Israel.
Where is the Outrage at Thousands of Deaths in Syria?
In neighboring Syria, it took approximately 1,650 civilian deaths and 141 days (March 15- August 3, 2011) for the UN Security Council, in a non-binding statement, to make any pronouncement at all on the Syrian civil war (which has killed over 4,000 people per month on average). Are Syrian lives less valuable than Palestinian lives? Incredibly, when the Palestinians are killed by Syrians or other Palestinians, this, too, is barely noticed or addressed. It is only when Israelis are killing Palestinians—even if that killing is justified, accidental or caused by Hamas’ use of human shields—that the diplomatic obsession with Palestinian security reaches a fever pitch.
The same double standards color the media’s coverage of the conflict.
This piece was written exclusively for United with Israel by Noah Beck, author, The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes that also discusses the expulsion of Jews from Muslim lands.