Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good ole Israel

The Saban Center at the Brookings Institution recently held a symposium called "How to Win the War Against Terrorism". The keynote speaker was Avi Dicter, formally of Israel's Shin Bet. He made the following statement, which I find very interesting:

We've all seen that terrorists are hiding within neighborhoods, refugee camps, surrounding themselves with civilians, part of them willingly, part of them unwillingly. And they use those civilians as, simply, human shields. Nevertheless, Israel never attacked a target that was an innocent person. Although, I must admit, that in some cases we did things wrongly and innocent people got killed or injured due to the fact that they were surrounded by or surrounding prominent terrorists, generators of terror.

In one case I remember – a tough operation - we dropped a bomb on a very senior terrorist in Gaza. We postponed this special operation for about three or four times because we knew that his daughter was together with him at his home. And only when the intelligence said that the daughter was not going to be at his home, we dropped the bomb. But we were wrong. She was there.

Many civilians, Palestinian civilians, got killed and injured due to accidents within which an Israeli hand hadn’t participated. It was pure Palestinian terrorists that decided to build their laboratories, their factories, their whole R and D system within neighborhoods, refugee camps, houses in the middle of Gaza City. In all of those accidents, dozens of Palestinians got killed, hundreds got injured. Nothing has been done until now by the PA, by the Palestinian Authority against those terrorists, against those generators of terror that deliberately build their factories within neighborhoods and refugee camps (p. 10).

Now it seems to me that Mr. Dicter's portrayal of Israel is a tad too rosy. I certainly do not condone terrorism, but to solely lay blame for civilian deaths on the Palestinians and absolve Israel of all guilt is ridiculous. Why is it that Palestinians who use suicide bombings are terrorists, but Israelis who use missiles fired from helicopters are not?

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