Israel the Scapegoat

"The war we can't ignore." That was the headline of a recent story from Time magazine referring to the conflict in the Middle East. They're certainly right. We should not ignore the conflict. Neither should we ignore the facts, however, which is often what the liberal media does when it examines an event.

In the case of the violence in the Middle East, the liberal media finds the emotional arguments of the Palestinians irresistible, even though they are founded on lies promoted by people who blow themselves up in order to kill innocent civilians. One particular argument that seems to cloud the judgement of the media is the charge that the Israeli military kills Palestinian children. This is certainly true, but it seems that the media has not bothered to look into the situation to see why a civilized government would permit its military to do so. The fact of the matter is that Palestinian terrorists deliberately put their children on the front lines, often using them as human shields for the express purpose of using their deaths as propaganda. But don't take my word for it. The Palestinian Women's Union in the West Bank town of Tulkarm wrote to Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, saying: "Our children are being sent into the streets to face heavily armed Israeli soldiers. We urge you to issue instructions to your police force to stop sending innocent children to their death."1

I am disturbed by the current trend in the media to present Israel as the aggressor. Geraldo Rivera, a self-proclaimed "Zionist" said on March 26, 2002, "When you use tanks and F-16's, and these sledgehammers against thickly populated civilian towns and cities, that's not fighting terrorism. That is inflicting terrorism." Geraldo has chosen to ignore the facts and spout out the same lies that the Palestinian terrorists use for an excuse for their actions. The facts are that Israel has not used its F-16's against "populated civilian" targets and has routinely responded to the murder of its civilians by destroying buildings, usually after ample forewarning.

MEDIA BIAS-WERE THE PALESTINIANS UPROOTED?

One does not have to look very hard to find plenty of examples of such bias against Israel. A headline from the BBC News on Friday, August 17, 2001 read, "Inside Israel's circle of violence."2 The situation in the Middle East cannot logically be described as a circle of violence, for to do so implies that both sides are equally to blame. The situation in the Middle East is actually Palestinian violent actions followed by Israeli defensive reaction. If it were a "cycle of violence," then unilateral actions by Israel would end the violence. But Israel's actions are defensive. If Palestinian terrorism were to end, Israel would have no need to defend itself. However, every time Israel eases restrictions on Palestinian daily life, they are met by renewed terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.

The media has recently been increasingly bold in their attempts to place the blame for the entire crisis on Israel, claiming that the Palestinians were uprooted and are thus simply desperate people. The Associated Press stated on May 15, 2001, "The May 15 anniversary...marks the day when Palestinians were uprooted and the state of Israel created."3 The press would like to paint a picture of the conflict chiefly in terms of a Palestinian aspiration toward statehood. In June 2001 the AP launched a series of articles on "the Palestinian quest for statehood and how it is faring."4 Author Karen Laub said, "It is a despair felt from the destitute refugee camps of the Gaza Strip to the luxury office towers of Ramallah: Just when independence seemed within grasp, after seven years of excruciating bargaining with Israel, the Palestinians find themselves embroiled in one of the worst crises since their uprooting in the 1948 Mideast war."5

But were the Palestinians truly uprooted? It is interesting to note that before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War there was no serious movement for a Palestinian homeland.6 In the Six Day War Israel captured Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem...not from Arafat, but from Jordan's King Hussein.7 Arab-American journalist Joseph Farah wonders "why all these Palestinians suddenly discovered their national identity after Israel won the war."8 He goes on further to note:
Palestine has never existed...as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British eventually agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland.

There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.

Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9% of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of 1% of the landmass.

But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today.9
So it is a little strange for the media to say that a people was moved out of their homeland. What actually happened is that a group of Arabs left an area that represents one-tenth of 1 percent of Arab land.

But were the Palestinians forced to leave? Not according to history. Even before the UN's November 29, 1947 partition resolution Arabs were beginning to leave the land. A British intelligence brief from October 23, 1947 stated, "...leading Arab personalities are acting on the assumption that disturbances are near at hand, and have already evacuated their families to neighboring Arab countries."10 By December nearly one-third of the Arab population in Haifa had fled, putting a great burden on those remaining. In April of 1948, two National Committee members, Farid Saas and Sheikh Murad were involved in encouraging Arab residents to leave, stating that the Arab Legion had 200 trucks ready to transfer refugees from Haifa to a safe haven where they would be given food, clothing, and lodging. To put it more clearly, the Haifa Arab community was ordered to leave by the Arab Higher Committee's official local representatives.11 The Israelis didn't uproot the Arabs; they left of their own accord, and this can be proven by official records from the time. In fact, a British intelligence report from the time judged that most Arab residents would have stayed had it not been for the incitement and scaremongering of the Haifa Arab leadership.12

But would the violence stop if the Palestinians were given statehood? Absolutely not. This is yet another myth promoted by the liberal media. During the Camp David Talks in July of 2000, the Barak government offered as much as 96 percent of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza, but the Palestinians refused it.13 They do not want peace with Israel, they want Israel's annihilation. Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, Member of the Palestinian Authority-appointed "Fatwa Council" and former acting Rector of the Islamic University in Gaza is quoted as saying,
Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them - and those who stand by them - they are all in one trench, against the Arabs and the Muslims because they established Israel here, in the beating heart of the Arab world, in Palestine. They created it to be the outpost of their civilization and the vanguard of their army, and to be the sword of the West and the crusaders, hanging over the necks of the monotheists, the Muslims in these lands. They wanted the Jews to be their spearhead...14
He went on to say,
Even if an agreement of Gaza is signed - we shall not forget Haifa, and Acre, and the Galilee, and Jaffa, and the Triangle and the Negev, and the rest of our cities and villages...

...We will not give up a single grain of soil of Palestine, from Haifa, and Jaffa, and Acre, and Mulabbas [Petah Tikva] and Salamah, and Majdal [Ashkelon], and all the land, and Gaza, and the West Bank...
15
Remember, this area comprises one-tenth of one percent of Arab land. Arafat refuses to condemn terrorism and in so doing fails to fulfill his obligations from signed agreements to renounce terrorism, cooperate with Israel on security matters and peacefully negotiate a solution to outstanding issues between the parties. Arafat is a liar and a coward, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military arm of Arafat's Fatah movement, is officially recognized as a terrorist group by the United States government.

JUST WAR

Self-defense is a universally recognized human right. The great Roman philosopher, senator, and lawyer, Cicero, argued 2,000 years ago that
There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right. When weapons reduce them to silence, the laws no longer expect one to await their pronouncements. For people who decide to wait for these will have to wait for justice, too and meanwhile they must suffer injustice first.16
The Israelis have a God-given right to protect themselves, and that is exactly what they are doing. According to Timothy J. Demy, Commander, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy, Just War Theory gives the following conditions for war:
Just cause--All aggression is condemned in just war theory. Participation in the war in question must be prompted by a just cause or defensive cause. No war of unprovoked aggression can ever be justified. Only defensive war is legitimate.

Just intention (right intention)--The war in question must have a just intention, that is, its intent must be to secure a fair peace for all parties involved. Therefore, revenge, conquest, economic gain, and ideological supremacy are not legitimate motives for going to war. There must be a belief that ultimately greater good than harm will result from the war.

Last resort--The war in question must be engaged in only as a last resort. Other means of resolution such as diplomacy and economic pressure must have been exhausted.

Formal declaration--The war in question must be initiated with a formal declaration by properly constituted authorities. Only governments can declare war, not individuals, terrorist organizations, mercenaries, or militias.

Limited objectives--The war in question must be characterized by limited objectives. This means that securing peace is the goal and purpose of going to war. The war must be waged in such a way that once peace is attainable, hostilities cease. Complete destruction of a nation's political institutions or economic institutions is an improper objective.

Proportionate means--Combatant forces of the opposition forces may not be subjected to greater harm than is necessary to secure victory and peace. The types of weapons and amount of force used must be limited to only what is needed to repel the aggression, deter future attacks, and secure a just peace. Therefore, total or unlimited warfare is inappropriate. ("You don't burn down the barn to roast the pig.")

Noncombatant immunity--Military forces must respect individuals and groups not participating in the conflict and must abstain from attacking them. Since only governments can declare war, only governmental forces or agents are legitimate targets. This means that prisoners of war, civilians, and casualties are immune from intentional attacks.17
Israel has consistently put this theory to use in its dealings with Palestinian terrorists. The Palestinian Authority, however, has consistently violated these principles. Israel should be "unleashed", as Rush Limbaugh put it, so that true peace can be achieved in the Middle East. There will be no peace until the Arab nations collectively destroy Israel or Israel utterly defeats them in a defensive war.


Notes


1. Stop Inciting Children to Kill (Operation S.I.C.K.). Arafat urged to take children off front line .
2. BBC News, August 17, 2001. Inside Israel's circle of violence.
3. Greg Myre, "Palestinians Mark Anniversary; Four Killed, More than 200 Injured," Associated Press (May 15, 2001), International News.
4. Karen Laub, "Conflict with Israel has Slowed the Palestinians' Quest for Statehood," Associated Press (June 20, 2001), International News.
5. Ibid.
6. Farah, Joseph. Myths of the Middle East.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Karsh, Ephraim. Were the Palestinians Expelled?
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Information Regarding Israel's Security (IRIS). Eve of the Camp David Talks, July, 2000.
14. Information Regarding Israel's Security (IRIS). The Palestinians In Their Own Words.
15. Ibid.
16. Halbrook, Stephen P. That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1984, p. 17.
17. Demy, Timothy J. Onward Christian Soldiers? A Christian Perspective on War