Paula Hancocks of CNN and her bureau beau assumed their standard position when breaking the news of Israel’s raid into Gaza to retrieve a kidnapped soldier and two civilians: face to Mecca and keister up in the air.
The CNN flacks didn’t exactly set the scene for the operation, although, to be fair, they mentioned in passing one disquieting possibility: Israeli’s obsession with never leaving men, dead or alive, in enemy hands.
Official policy notwithstanding, Israel has even negotiated with terrorists for the lives and bodies of its soldiers. The incongruous exchange of 2004 comes to mind: 430 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners, mostly dangerous terrorists, were released for three dead bodies and one live Israeli citizen.
National Review has grumbled about Israel’s “lopsided prisoner exchanges” over the years. One “sofa samurai” noted the startling disparity of exchanging 5,500 Egyptian soldiers, following the Sinai campaign of 1956, “for the lives of the four Israeli soldiers captured in the fighting,” and over 8,000 Egyptians, after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in exchange for 240 Israeli soldiers.
“Israeli governments are more prone to the influence of public opinion,” Dr. Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, explained at the time. I’d say! Sometime ago I watched demonstrators heckle Sharon after yet another suicide bombing. A man yelled, in Hebrew, “If you don’t sort this mess out, I’ll personally pay you a visit.”
In the US, he’d have been jumped by Caesar’s security detail. Had an American dared to treat the president as the people’s hired hand (which is what he is), we’d be bombarded by a blitzkrieg of Sean-Hannity inanities forever after.
By contrast, I believe the U.S.’s hunt in Iraq for the recently butchered hostages Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas Tucker was the first of its kind. When poor Pfc. Keith Maupin went missing in April of 2004, mainstream media, or MSM, taking its cues from the Bushies and the American people, let the leads grow cold. The next I heard, Maupin had been executed by his captors in late June. Ditto American hostages Jack Hensley, Eugene Armstrong, and Nick Berg—the United States government made no attempts to secure their release.
To be perfectly honest, I expected Americans to be as preoccupied with preserving American lives as Israelis are with Jewish lives. The fuss so many make over fetuses had certainly led me to imagine that they would, at the very least, demonstrate the same reverence for fully formed people.
Alas, Americans seem quite prepared to continue feeding our warriors to the insatiable and unappeasable Iraq Moloch. Who knows? They may even agree with CNN’s subliminal message: Israelis are engaged in a massive overreaction over a mere three lives, one of which has already been extinguished by Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah-Tanzim terrorists.
But Hamas’s Ismail Haniya is smart. He figured out Israel’s Achilles Heel some time ago: “Palestinians have Israelis on the run,” he once snorted to the Washington Post, “because they have found their weak spot: “Jews love life more than other people, and they prefer not to die.”
Or as a diplomat quoted by Alan Dershowitz in The Case for Israel put it, “The Palestinians have mastered a harsh arithmetic of pain…Palestinian casualties play in their favor, and Israeli casualties play in their favor.”
With that “cruel calculus of death” in mind, the thugs who’ve seized the Israeli hostages will hunker down among a civilian population. Deliberately hiding in and operating out of civilian population centers amounts to using civilians as shields, says Dershowitz, which is in violation of international law. Don’t expect media malpractitioners to highlight the particular facet of the international law specifying that “a civilian who is killed while being used as a shield is counted as a casualty caused by those using him as a shield.”
CNN also alluded to rising tensions caused by Qassam rockets, fired daily by Gaza’s goons into the Western Negev city of Sderot. In the event you were lulled into thinking, foolishly, that this was good enough a reason for the Israeli operation, Hancocks provided a much-needed corrective: the homemade Qassam is quite harmless; Toys “R” Us will soon be incorporating these babies into their Family Guy Box Set.
Speaking of friendly Qassams, Hancocks assured her viewers that the tightly organized and terrifying Hamas—the hands-on of homicide—knew nothing at all about the hostage taking. Its military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, was behind the operation.
CNN, a not-so tightly organized but terrifying outfit, said the same about master manipulator and mass murderer Arafat. Each time he’d dispatch the Fatah Tanzim and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to kill Israeli civilians, CNN would surmise he was helpless to stop them. Locating Arafat’s hand-written shahid’s (martyr’s) shopping list did nothing to convince them to the contrary.
When Abbas, Israel’s “partner in peace,” assumed control over this assemblage of gangsters, MSM extended him the same courtesy. And they persist in calling him a moderate, who, at most, teeters from the pathetic to the sympathetic, even though he signed an accord with Hamas this week that “supports armed action and terrorism against Israel and does not restrict ‘resistance’ to areas occupied by Israel in 1967.”
Whether one does or whether one doesn’t believe that the democratically elected leaders of the Palestinian people control the territory’s Einsatzgruppen squads, one question remains germane: why do these people deserve a country?
© 2006 By Ilana Mercer