< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Argh: The Daily Camera

Writer suggests local lady go to Israel and kill Palestinians
ISRAEL: Nations must be judged by actions

For a self-proclaimed "unenlightened one who still believes in quaint things," Michelle Miller sure has a handy way with rhetoric (Open Forum, Feb. 3). In "300 words or less" she manages to describe the Palestinians as: "suicide murderers," "Islamic homicidal murderers," "homicide bombers" and, again, "homicidal murderers." While I do not question the passion behind Ms. Miller's power of redundancy, I find the lack of numbers in her argument dishonest.

According to Google, since the resumption of hostilities on Sept. 29, 2000, 2,673 Palestinians have been killed and 24,541 wounded. Strangely, I could not find an updated Israeli count, but four months ago, Amnesty International announced that three Palestinians were being killed for every Israeli. More troubling, Amnesty also found that four Palestinian children were killed to every one Israeli child. That's not eye for an eye ? that's head, legs and one arm for an eye.

Does paying attention to casualty counts mean I am a terrorist-loving anti-Semite? I don't think so, but then again I don't consider the Israeli-Palestine conflict a black-and-white affair.

Although the Holocaust was one of humanity's greatest failings, it cannot be used to justify the four-to-one slaughter of children. Despite the well-established, 2,000-year persecution of the Jews, Israel is a sovereign nation and must be judged ? as must we all ? by its actions.

Ms. Miller disparages Jim Vacca for "pondering world affairs" while "sipping a latte in Boulder." I suggest that if Ms. Miller wants to remain true to ideas, she should stop writing letters from Erie, renounce her U.S. citizenship, travel to Israel and kill the remaining Palestinians herself.

PATRICK CLARK, Boulder

I wish I could respond to Patrick Clark in writing (I blew my month's quota Feb. 5), but I hope that many of you will take the time to write. He seems willing to be caring, but is thrown off track by the numbers game. His premise, that Israel is somehow more culpable because they have less dead, is utterly fallacious.

EVERYONE should be made aware of the ongoing study by the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, which provides a breakdown of those killed in the intifada --by age, gender and combatant status. Most people do not realize that the Palestinians themselves were responsible for more than one out of every eight Palestinians killed (as of 5/21/03) .

Moreover, if he's going to play the numbers game, Mr. Clark would do well to learn that "numbers of Palestinian dead" give a skewed impression, as they include hundreds of suicide bombers, alleged collaborators and victims of occupational hazards, i.e. bomb-makers.

[Also see Dershowitz's The Case for Israel. He makes the interesting and applicable point that the better medical care in Israel translates into a greater proportion of lives saved. Were it not for Israel's superior medical technology, I hate to think what the numbers might be. Also, as I remember, he states that though Israeli medical institutions are willing to treat Palestinian combat injuries, Arafat will not allow them to be transported out of the terror-tories.]

Back to the study: 80% of the Israelis killed have been non-combatants, and almost 40% of those were women and girls.

On the Palestinian side, those killed by Israel have been consistently and overwhelmingly (over 95%) male, mostly between the ages of 12-29. The author of the study's Summary points out that these were people who had to "have been aware that they were placing themselves in harm's way."

If you don't want to play numbers with Mr. Clark, then you can always cast aspersion on his source ("according to Google"), or his suggestion that Michelle go to Israel and kill Palestinians. That's a pretty crazy thing to say.

P.S. (I can't stop) As for Clark's alleged "four-to-one slaughter of children," the ICT study reveals that as a proportion of total fatalities "more young Israeli children were killed:" 2.8% of Palestinian fatalities have been children under the age of 12. For Israelis, the proportion is 4.1%

Even in terms of straight numbers, there is no "four-to-one slaughter of children." From 9/27/00 to 1/13/04, fatalities of Palestinian non-combatants below the age of 12 number 74; Israeli children, 36.

And then there were the older folks (over 45): 3% of Palestinians killed, but 27% of Israelis killed...

It can give no one any comfort to play this game. Besides, it ignores more important questions like who tries to protect their children, and who sends them to fight? And who started this frigging war in the first place?

And P.P.S., about Clark's figure of 24,000+ Palestinian wounded, I have no more reason to believe what "Palestinian sources" say than that minister of information previously employed by Saddam Hussein... the one who kept saying there were no invaders in Baghdad, while our soldiers and embedded media with cameras were rolling down the streets of Baghdad in tanks. They lie.

And before it's out of your mouth that I am accusing all Arabs of being liars, I'm not. Just the 80% fringe extremists.