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  • “Well, as Adnesik says, one can argue that the focus on terrorism ends up biased towards Israel because the types of deaths it suffers are far more likely to meet the moniker than the deaths it inflicts.”
    Isn’ ‘collateral damage’, when Israeli aircraft kill alleged terrorists, also reported under the moniker ‘terrorism’? And it’s a quite a double standard that violent acts by settler aren’t seen as “terrorism”. This shows also in this sentence: “FAIR does not seem to account for the presence of armed militants who aren’t part of the official Palestinian Security apparatus, which seems like an elementary mistake”. Well, besides the fact, that it would be almost impossible for Fair to correctly identify the status of the civilian in every single case, where is it mentioned here that settlers are generally armed and reports about harrassments of and violence against palestinians are numerous for every settlement. Shouldn’t settlers also be viewed as an armed milita, then?

    “Or one could argue that NPR’s decision calculus is perfectly acceptable, as there is a qualitative difference between civilians being delibertely targeted for death, and “civilians” who are possibly militants dying (or alternatively, civilians dying as collateral damage during operations against militants, which we’ve sort of internalized as one of the necessary tragedies of war).”

    Well, in cynical moments, I thing palestinians shuld acknoledge the internalization “of the necessary tragedies of war” by deliberately sending their suicide bombers for IDF personel, Israeli policemen and other officials, who are permissible targets of war. The death of other innocent bystanders would then be only collateral damage.

    No, sry, but I see a huge problem with the creeping acceptance of collateral damage as unavoidable. It isn’t even asked anymore if the attacking party maybe had other methods at its disposal, that would have resulted in avoiding civilian casualties. Where are there any rules that it’s ‘ok’ to sacrifice 5 civilians for a terorist, or 50, or 500? Is there any limit? This serious ethical question isn’t even discussed anywhere.

    Also, nobody asks if the high number of civilian casualties in anit-terorism warare nowadays isn’t an alarming sign of a shameful disregard for the suffering of others, especially foreigners. Not a single western democracy uses these methods to combat terrorism within it’s own borders. Imho this is evidence of a different standard, of an implicit statement that the lives of the own citizen is valued higher than those of others. Maybe this is only human, but where is the public discussion about this ugly double standard?

  • sootytern

    Excellent points, Gray. Thank you.

  • “Well, in cynical moments, I thing palestinians shuld acknoledge the internalization “of the necessary tragedies of warâ€? by deliberately sending their suicide bombers for IDF personel,”

    Pls don’t misunderstand me, I’m really not advocating this. Imho the suicide bombing campaign is despicable. But most Israeli strikes inflicting civilian deaths are almost as wretchd, too. Just for a thought experiment, imagine palestinians switching to a new tactic of deliberately targetting ‘permissible’ targets of war, as described above. As long as every bomb kills at least one soldier, what arguments can Israeli politicians use against this kind of warfare? It’s exactly the same as Israel’s actions.

    And this also shows the problem in using the moniker ‘War on Terrorism’. Well, in war, the other side strikes back. As long as they regard the accepted rules of warfare, soldiers can’t be blamed. And as long as Israelis illegaly take possesion of occupied lands, palestians have at least one serious argument for supporting their view that they have the right to fight back. That their bombs mostly killed innocent civilians, well, British and US strategic bomber crews in WWII mostly killed civilians, too, right? I know that’s cynical, it’s just an example to show how difficult it is to make ethical judgments in this conflict.

    So, imho this whole fingerpointing leads nowhere. The energy used for it would be much better investigated in improving and implementing the roadmap. It’s imperfect, it’s success is far from certain, but it’s the best shot towards damping the violence and building the groundwork for peace in the region so far.

  • “investigated”? Oops, this should have been ‘invested’, of course.

  • And sry for lots of typos. Still have problems with typing…

  • C Stanley

    Good post, David, and some comments that give food for thought.

    Gray said:

    Not a single western democracy uses these methods to combat terrorism within it’s own borders. Imho this is evidence of a different standard, of an implicit statement that the lives of the own citizen is valued higher than those of others. Maybe this is only human, but where is the public discussion about this ugly double standard?

    That’s a very interesting question, and my only immediate response is this: isn’t this due to the fact that almost any basic definition of a government includes the defense of the citizens? I can see your point, that on a human level we shouldn’t value our own citizens more highly than other human lives, but is that really avoidable?

  • Upinsmoke

    The Palestinians run into Israel and Blow up men, women and children indiscriminately in an open declaration of war on the people of Israel.

    The USA Carpet Bombed Japan and Germany during ww2 leading to tenets in the Geneva Convention against such activity in the future. However Israel is attempting to take out known Terrorists who Hide behind men, women and children. They do a wonderful job of it too. Take Hezzbullah. Man what a superb job they did at making Israel look like War Criminals while the rest of the world ignored the rockets falling into Israel Cities.

    Oh wait…..I know what your thinking….Hezzbullah was just responding to Israels Attacks. Wow. Stunning revelation here. Exactly the point. Israel responds in kind they are Criminals. Hezzbullah responds in kind and Israel is criminals. Palestinians respond in kind and Israel is criminals.

    Israel then is faced with but one recourse. That recourse is to let the Palestinians continue to inflict carnage upon their country while they Beg France, Germany and Denmark to tell the Palestinians to behave. To have resolutions passed condemning such attacks.

    While Israel is being bombed out of existence the UN debates the issue and in the end one member of the Security council votes Nay and the issue is tossed on the floor while Israel Cities burn and Israel citizens die.

    Sorry I have NO faith in the UN and Neither does Israel. I do not condone their methods but then neither do I condemn them. If left up to the UN we would still be debating whether to invade Afghanistan.

  • UpInSmoke…simple solution…1948 borders with UN intervention in all the former occupied territories…not an end all be all solution but at least it’ll be a step in the right direction to curb the violence there…but for the past 10,000 years there’s been violence in that region so I wouldn’t get my hopes up for peace AT ALL in the region.

  • “The Palestinians run into Israel and Blow up men, women and children indiscriminately in an open declaration of war on the people of Israel.”

    Israel doesn’t exactly care who will be hit when they drop a bomb, too. Look at the ‘cluster bomb’ shelling of Lebanon.

    “The USA Carpet Bombed Japan and Germany during ww2 leading to tenets in the Geneva Convention against such activity in the future.”

    Even by the international laws in effect during WWII, General Harris order to bomb living quarters of the population was illegal. The US at least tried to hit industrial targets and strategic infrastructure.

    “However Israel is attempting to take out known Terrorists who Hide behind men, women and children.”

    The question is, regarding Israel’s illegal action in the occupied territories, can’t the ‘terrorists’ claim status as resistance fighters? The actions of an illegal occupier don’t become legal just because they are only in retaliation.

    “Hezzbullah was just responding to Israels Attacks.”
    It’s an argument that can’t be easily dismissed. But let’s not open this can of worms in this thread. Let’s keep focussed on the territories.

    “That recourse is to let the Palestinians continue to inflict carnage upon their country”
    No. The recourse is to move out of the territories and to build the security fence along legal boundaries. I guess it’s safe to say all western nations would support this move. Even the slow moving UN may eventually endorese this.

  • domajot

    A few more thoughts –

    I’m wondering about the number of reporters in the Palestinian territories vs. those in Israel. How accessible are Palestinian sources there and how good the lines of communication?

    When I saw a documentary on NPR about a Palestinian girl, an Israeli citizen, I realized how few human interest stories there are about the Palestinians. We don’t know them, just like we don’t know the Iraqia.

  • Sam

    We don’t know them because the militants that run the show are into kidnapping and random killing of westerners so its a tad harder to get stories I’d imagine.

  • “I realized how few human interest stories there are about the Palestinians. We don’t know them, just like we don’t know the Iraqia.”

    Amira Hass does some stories on average palestinian families in Haaretz, but she’s about the only one, right.

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