Sunday, January 04, 2009

Civilians and the media

As the media likes to show coverage of, a great number of palestinians have been caught in the crossfire of the latest fighting. It's a terrible shame that innocent men, women, and children are injured or killed during the fighting, and I empathize with their feelings of anger and frustration. Yet the media would have you blame the Israelis. The common argument goes something like this: if more innocent palestinians are injured/killed than innocent Israelis, obviously we need to support the side fighting for the palestinians, Hamas.

There are multiple flaws with this reasoning. First off, there is no moral equivalency between indiscriminantly shelling civilians, and targeted strikes on terrorists with civilian collateral. If your goal is to maim as many civilians as possible, how can the international community sympathize with your cause? This is an entirely different tactic than the goal of the Israelis, who have been phoning their targets to warn the residents to evacuate in advance of an airstrike, to try to minimize the harm to civilians.

This leads me to the second flaw: who is to blame for palestinian civilian deaths? Israel has a number of unmanned aerial vehicles that have been monitoring Gaza, which they use to look for the sites of rockets launched (usually from the backs of trucks), and rewind the videos to find the origin of the trucks (i.e. the site of rocket storage). When terrorists choose mosques, schools, and hospitals as their base to store or launch rockets, they purposely endanger the lives of all the civilians in these locations in exchange for media sympathy. They alone bare the responsibility for the innocents injured.

Compare this to the Israelis. The residents of Sderot and other cities being targeted are largely not losing their lives. Why? Because Israel's government does everything it can to prevent it, created a warning system, built shelters for the people, and has technologically savvy medical care that saves lives. The efficacy of its warning system and emergency care does not negate the intended threat of Hamas rockets.

Lastly, let's not forget the violence on the palestinians directly at the hands of Hamas operatives. In recent days, a number of suspected Israeli "collaborators" have been killed or tortured. Fatah (Hamas' rival political faction) leaders have been kept on house arrest, have had limbs broken, and otherwise threatened by Hamas. This is all in the name of maintaining political control of Gaza.

When an organization is so willing to take and risk the lives of their citizens, the international community needs to stop showing them sympathy. Feel sorry for the palestinians indeed, but realize it's at the hands of a morally reprehensible leadership that they suffer.

1 comment:

Evan said...

You forget to mention that the use of civilian fascilities to prepare for and conduct military operations is a war crime as defined by the Geneva Convention! Furthermore, the Geneva Convention does allow the targeting of any fascility used to prepare for and conduct military operations. Israel are going beyond what is deemed as neccessary precautions in protecting civialian lives when targeting these fascilities!