Sometimes the underdog is wrong. The ruthlessly brutal regimes of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and Idi Amin were all weaker than the forces that ultimately vanquished them.
But for decades the Palestinians have mastered the art of persuading everyone that because they die in greater numbers and have inferior arms, they are more deserving of sympathy and support in their conflict with Israel. Here’s why they’re wrong:
1) Israel’s military edge safeguards its survival in the world’s toughest neighborhood. But if a SWAT team is better armed than a wild gunman they must neutralize, does that mean that they’re at fault when the gunman dies?
2) Israel’s casualty figures are smaller because Israel tries to protect life by investing in anti-missile defense, shelters, and early warning systems to minimize the deaths caused by Palestinian rocket attacks.
3) By contrast, Palestinian terrorists purposely endanger life by targeting Israeli civilians while using Palestinian civilians as human shields (to maximize the PR benefits of any Israeli reprisals).
4) Israel’s death toll should be adjusted for its tiny population, to feel the true “national pain” of each loss. When Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered three Israeli teenagers last month, that’s like the murder and abduction of about 118 Americans teenagers. How many Taliban would die from a U.S. military response to the Taliban abduction and murder of 118 American teenagers?
5) Gaza-based terrorism is inflicting collective punishment on about 8 million Israelis living under the constant threat of rocket attacks. How much could you focus on anything if blaring sirens regularly compelled you to seek shelter in under a minute? How much sleep could you get? Drivers must get out of their cars, lie on on the pavement face down with their hands over their heads, and wait ten minutes until the danger has ostensibly passed. Many elderly or disabled persons must descend flights of stairs to access the shelter, and the scramble to safety can be as dangerous as staying unprotected (an Israeli woman in her 70s died while trying to take shelter from an incoming rocket in Haifa). How long would the U.S. expect its citizens to live like that before deploying overwhelming firepower to eradicate the threat?
6) In the Middle East, the weak perish quickly, and Israel – the only Jewish state (with 8 million people in a New Jersey-sized territory) surrounded by 22 Arab Muslim states (totaling about 370 million people) – can’t afford to lose a war. So the fact that Israel doesn’t cause far greater casualties to strengthen its deterrence should highlight Israel’s morality and restraint.
Yet most observers are oblivious to these key considerations, and simplistically look at comparative casualty figures before reflexively concluding that Israel is wrong. This cartoon aptly captures how Palestinians manipulate world opinion like a mischievous schoolboy misleading his teachers about who caused school spats.
When world leaders and media are duped into simplistic thinking, the result is a glaring double standard.