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Middle East Math


For those of you keeping score at home, Israel has killed over 400 civilians in Lebanon compared with the forty plus Hezbollah has blown up in Israel. That's a ratio of almost ten to one. In addition, Israel has now whacked four UN peacekeepers, who hail from China, Canada, Austria, and Finland. Not exactly what you would call a positive contribution to coalition building. I'm sure the Chinese are willing to accept its soldiers being blown to bits by U.S. supplied Israeli delivered bombs. Then again, maybe not.

At least Israel is consistent. During the Intifada, Israeli forces killed scores more Palestianians compared to the number of Israelis murdered by Palestinain jihadists. Israel reported that 343 of its citizens died in terrorist strikes during the period of 2001 thru 2004. By contrast, 2,859 Palestinians were killed by Israel, including 527 children. In other words, Israel killed more children than all of the Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists. So much for proportional response. While the United States public is largely willing to shut its eyes to this lethal disparity, the rest of the world is not likely to swallow this load of crap with a smile on its face. Under normal circumstances the United States, with its prestige intact, could run the tide of international public opinion and protect Israel. With its credibility in tatters, however, not even a George Bush shoulder massage can soothe these ruffled feathers.

I believe Israel has the right to defend itself but I also believe it does not have the right to indiscriminately kill civilians. The same standard applies to Hezbollah. If you can add numbers without engaging in political spin, you cannot sustain the argument that poor little Israel is fighting against the big bad terrorists when the body count of Lebanese civilians is so lopsided. Israel has the right to defend itself but it does not have the right to kill civilians simply because it is afraid.

This is why the international community needs to wake up and stop the needless loss of life of Israeli and Lebanese children. Is anyone there?

-- No Quarter