May 05, 2008

Child killers in effect but not in intent?

I think that's what this Ynet article is saying of Israel:
We really didn’t mean to do it. Again we didn’t mean to do it. We have never meant to do it. Yet as usual, even though we didn’t mean it – we hit them. We hit them 1,000 times already without meaning to do it. We have killed a total of 1,000 Palestinian children since the second Intifada broke out on September 29, 2000. A thousand.

We already have a special procedure for cases where a Palestinian child dies as a result of a misfired missile, a misaimed shell, an unfocused helicopter, or a distracted sniper. At first, we deny a child even died. Later we argue that his own people killed him. Later we issue explanations and excuses and scenarios that only become dumber with the passage of time.

Then comes the turn of the “investigating officer” (it will never be an investigating judge, a scrutinizing observer, or an inquisitive civilian. It’s always an officer) who proceeds to issue some nonsense that clears us of any wrongdoing. Ultimately, we declare that the evil Arabs are at fault, because they take cover among civilians.

Yet if the regular “it was a mistake” claim has already become completely ridiculous – because how many times can one say “we didn’t mean it” without making those words empty and hollow and cold – the argument regarding taking cover among civilians is truly infuriating with its chutzpa.

A state whose military high command and the office of its defense minister are located at the heart of a crowded city, and which sends civilians, including their women and children, to “expand the boundaries of the country” and whose bridgehead for occupation and takeover regularly hides being babies and pregnant women, and which refers to its own armed soldiers who died in battle or were captured as “boys” – such state needs a very high level of nerve in order to blame others for hiding behind civilians and children.

And for those who wish to clear what is left of their conscience with the number of Israeli children killed by the Palestinians, here is a little information: Since the start of 2004, the Palestinians killed 11 Israeli children. We, during the same period of time, killed 452 Palestinian children.

But how can we even compare? After all, they mean to do it, while we don’t. (So maybe it would be better if we also start meaning to do it? Many children will be spared that way.)
Of course there's no need to call in Anthony Julius on this one. It only appeared in an Israeli paper. It won't find its way into a western English language paper and if it does it will be balanced out.

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