Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Qana, a.k.a. Jenin Redux

Remember the "Jenin massacre"? In April 2002 Israel was accused of wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank town of Jenin. Breathless news accounts reported hundreds dead ("martryed") at the hands of the IDF.

However, as it turns out the Jenin massacre wasn't exactly a massacre. A United Nations investigation of the "massacre" reported that the actual number of Palestinians killed was 52. Of those, 22 were civilians. On the other side, 23 Israeli soldiers were killed.

The IDF suffered a relatively high number of casualties because they ordered house-to-house clearing of the neighborhoods where Palestinian fighters were hiding. And, the Palestinians likely wouldn't have suffered 22 civilian casualties if their "soldiers" didn't insist on using civilians as human shields.

Fast-forward to 2006 and replace the name "Jenin" with the name "Qana". It's the same incident all over again. The Arabs triumphantly proclaim, "Massacre!!" It's a "Gotcha" moment - almost as if the Arabs are glad the Israelis killed their civilians. And, yet, rather than take a few days and investigate, the usual suspects (Reuters, BBC, The New York Times) parrot the
Arab claims.

I'm sorry but this sort of one-sided treatment only hurts Israel. The Arab groups that are trying to destroy Israel don't care about human life. This should hardly be a sensational claim given that the Arabs resort to human shields and suicide bombers.

It's the soft bigotry of low expectations. We don't really expect civilized behavior from Arab terrorists, but our media scream like bloody murder when our side mistakenly kills even one innocent civilian. Not a peep when some terrorist bombs innocent civilians and tortures and kills our soldiers. It doesn't really hurt Hezbollah, Iran or Syria to get this kind of negative press - and it's rarely truly negative. It's usually more like "bending-over-backwards- to-be-neutral". It helps them and hurts Israel to have page one, above-the-fold headlines screaming, "Israeli Massacre". And the average news consumer can be forgiven for missing the three-line, page 28 "Correction" that says, "Ooops. Sorry. There was no massacre."

I urge you to do some more reading on Qana. It already looks as if there may have been hours difference between the Israeli strike and the explosion that brought down the building. And, surprise, surprise, the body count is actually turning out to be lower than was initially claimed.

There's a great example of this behavior in the excellent Spielberg film, "Munich". In one scene, an Israeli cabinet minister proclaims that the post-Munich hit teams are un-necessary because the Israeli Air Force had already hit back by bombing the Palestinian camps in the Bekaa Valley. "At least 60 dead," he says. Later, when one of the assassins is "interviewing" the Fatah representative in Paris, he claims that the Israelis bombed refugee camps, killing "at least 200".

Why do we continue to give the benefit of the doubt to the enemy?

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