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Death in Gaza

Death in Gaza

Who is to blame for grief on a beach?


It was another one of those pictures that goes instantly around the world. A young Palestinian, wailing in wretched sorrow, grieving over her dead father, stepmother and five siblings who had been killed by an explosion on a Gaza beach. Then came the blame. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (he's the moderate) immediately called the killings an act of Israeli "genocide" and, to dramatize the crime, legally adopted the bereaved girl.

The sensational coverage and sensational charges raise the obvious question: Why would Israel deliberately shell a peaceful family on a beach?

The Israeli government, clumsy as ever, seemed to semi-apologize by expressing regret about the deaths, implying that perhaps they had been caused by an errant Israeli shell targeting a Palestinian rocket base. But then, a few days later, an army investigation concluded that it was not Israel's doing at all.

First, because the shrapnel taken from the victims (treated at Israeli hospitals -- some "genocide") were not the ordnance used in Israeli artillery. Second, because aerial photography revealed no crater that could have been caused by Israeli artillery. And, third, because Israel could account for five of the six shells it launched at the rocket base nearby, and the missing one had been launched at least five minutes before the one that killed the family.

An expert at a local chapter of a human rights group disputes the Israeli claims. Okay. Let's concede for the sake of argument that the question of whether it was an errant Israeli shell remains unresolved. But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel -- and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?

Another example of the Palestinians' cowardly human-shield tactic.

Answer: This is another example of the Palestinians' classic and cowardly human-shield tactic -- attacking innocent Israeli civilians while hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians. For Palestinian terrorists -- and the Palestinian governments (both Fatah and Hamas) that allow them to operate unmolested -- it's a win-win: If their rockets aimed into Israeli towns kill innocent Jews, no one abroad notices and it's another success in the terrorist war against Israel. And if Israel's preventive and deterrent attacks on those rocket bases inadvertently kill Palestinian civilians, the iconic "Israeli massacre" picture makes the front page of the New York Times, and the Palestinians win the propaganda war.

But there is an even larger question not asked. Whether the rocket bases are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place -- about 1,000 in the past year?

To get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then declared the line that separates Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians' control? They have used their freedom to launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns.

Why? Because the Palestinians prefer victimhood to statehood. They have demonstrated that for 60 years, beginning with their rejection of the United Nations decision to establish a Palestinian state in 1947 because it would have also created a small Jewish state next door. They declared war instead.

Half a century later, at the Camp David summit with President Bill Clinton, Israel renewed the offer of a Palestinian state -- with its capital in Jerusalem, with not a single Jewish settler remaining in Palestine, and on a contiguous territory encompassing 95 percent of the West Bank (Israel making up the other 5 percent with pieces of Israel proper).

The Palestinian answer? War again -- Yasser Arafat's terror war, aka the second intifada, which killed a thousand Jews.

This embrace of victimhood, of martyrdom, of blood and suffering, is the Palestinian disease. They are offered an independent state. They are given all of Gaza. And they respond with rocket attacks into peaceful Israeli towns -- in pre-1967 Israel proper, mind you.

What can Israel do but try to take out those rocket bases and their crews? What would the United States do if rockets were raining into San Diego from across the border with Mexico?

Now look again at that terrible photograph and ask yourself: Who is responsible for the heart-rending grief of that poor Palestinian girl?

This article originally appeared in the Washington Post.

June 17, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 32

(32) Anna, July 15, 2006 12:00 AM


I hurt for everybody. For my people, of course, but for Palestineans too. These people are trapped and manipulated by their good-for-nothing leaders. Yes, they have voted for Hamas, but why would they do this, if not for promises of a better life? I believe people are essentially the same everywhere and want the same things.

I hope this war stops soon. I'm scared. I've been living in Israel for 15 years now, and this is the first war we see. I hope it will be the last one. For now, all I can do is pray for our soldiers to come home safely.

(31) Gary, July 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Palestinians have brought this on themselves

Just like the Germans had only Hitler and the Nazis to blame for their own suffering during World War II (i.e Dresden etc) , so the Palestinians have their leaders and the terrorists to blame for their own suffering.
If the Palestinians accepted (like Sadat did in 1977) that we Jews are entitled to our piece of the Middle East , then there would be peace and no Jews or Arabs would die violently any more.
But because they are determined to drive the Jews into the sea , the Palestinians must take responsibility for what they bring on themselves.

(30) EL FORON, June 29, 2006 12:00 AM

no peace

Who is to blame for grief on a beach?

Who is responsible for the heart-rending grief of that poor Palestinian girl?

(29) Tony Mannon, June 27, 2006 12:00 AM

This proves why land for peace does not work

Quote from article: "And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians' control? They have used their freedom to launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns."

Land for peace does not work. Israel should have retained Gaza. Israel should occupy all the land that G_d intends them to occupy.

(28) joseph nixon, June 25, 2006 12:00 AM

they don't put guns down

I am from Romania, and in 70's I took Yaaser Arafat a few times in my 707 from Beirut to Bucuresti and once from Tunis to Bucuresti, and I asked one of his guards: Why you guys do not give up and let to be all a Jewish state and in time you will make more kids and vote and all will be your way. -Sir , we do know that but in the minute we put the guns down, we are loosing all the money from Libia Iran Iraq Saudy Arabia and all our friends -- we need to keep the fire going. I was sure Mr Ariel Sharon , God bless his soul, will take all the buldozers in the world, and will put them blade by blade and push the garbage and the criminals in the sea.

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