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Seeing War Though Palestinian Eyes

Seeing War Though Palestinian Eyes

Associate Editor

When you learn to see the world through Palestinian eyes, you’ll know that Israel’s Gaza actions were stunningly effective and that “the world” couldn’t care less.

To see the world through Jewish eyes would be to see 4,000 rockets fall through Sderot ceilings and onto avenues, killing or wounding those too slow or unlucky to get out of the way, such as a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy or an older woman crossing a street. There were no editorials in The New York Times damning the Palestinians for the collective punishment of Sderot innocents. There were no pious statements against rockets from the United Methodist Church that was finally indignant this week about Israel.

Honest Reporting, a Jewish watch group, saw numerous papers
that cast Israel’s retaliation in a negative light while downplaying or ignoring the rockets. Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said, “We are stunned at the torrent of condemnation” by the “international community regarding Israel’s defensive responses, in contrast to the relative silence and inaction to the thousands of deadly rocket attacks launched from Gaza against Israel.”

Yediot Ahronot (Jan. 28) saw Israel’s action as futile: “Starvation will not subdue Hamas.” Maariv (Jan. 27) was concerned that Israel “once again finds itself unprepared in facing Gazawood Productions, which is determining the public opinion battle.” The next day, Maariv wondered if Hamas was “preparing surprises for Israel, such as a humanitarian aid ship or a march by women and children.” No one in the fatalist Israeli or Jewish media wondered if Israel could surprise Hamas.

The New York Times editorial (Jan. 24) was sorry about Israelis who “must suffer through the constant bombardment. But Israel’s response — shutting off power and other essential supplies — is a collective punishment that will only feed anger and extremism.”

And yet to see the world through Palestinian eyes is to come to an entirely different conclusion. The Arab media depicts an anti-Israel front that has been dispirited and defeated by an Israeli military solution that was thought not to exist. Jews worry “what will the world say,” but the Arab media cares less what is said than what is done. They see a world that doesn’t really care if Israel gives Hamas an old-fashioned country whuppin’, knocking Hamas’ lights out in every sense.

In the Arab media, for every finger blaming Israel there’s a fist blaming the Palestinians.
The Beirut Daily Star (Jan. 28) says, “The anarchic situation … marks a new low in terms of the performance of Palestinian resistance organizations” with their “imbecilic feuds over how to proceed.”
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Jan. 22), writes, “We launch poorly-aimed tin rockets, and Israel responds with fighter jets, tanks, cannons, and missiles, savagely injuring and killing civilians and resistance [fighters alike].”
Electronic Intifadah (Jan. 24), a Palestinian online journal, stated that the Palestinian leadership’s political and military strategies have “proven to be detrimental,” demonstrating a “selfish myopia” and “negligence and incompetence.”

A column in Palestine Chronicle (Jan. 28) suggests that it “would be smart to cease rocketing communities like Sderot for at least two months to test the claim that the siege of Gaza” is in response to the rockets.
Despite the feeling in the Arab media, an e-mail from Tikkun (Jan. 24) still claims that Israel’s “policy of naked force … has utterly failed.” Tikkun advised “peace activists” to attend a demonstration last Shabbat, Jan. 26, on the Gaza border “in solidarity” with those on the other side. We asked Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, didn’t this constitute treason, giving aid and comfort, let alone chocolate, to the enemy?
Rabbi Lerner answered, “Hamas has proposed a total cease-fire. If Israel stops assassinating Hamas leaders and activists in Gaza and the West Bank, and opens the border for necessary food, water, electricity, and fuel, it will stop bombing Sderot. Why hasn’t the Israeli government accepted?”

Not every leftist agrees with Tikkun. Yossi Sarid wrote in Haaretz (Jan. 24) that “in the war of versions between us and them … the balance is tipped this time in favor of the Israeli version.” Palestinians, said Sarid, are “experts at displays of suffering” and this time “they outdid themselves. The production was truly perfect and succeeded in deceiving the entire world: the way they turned out the lights at one precise moment and sent the children to cry bitterly in front of the cameras, the way they organized long lines for bread and water — miraculous timing and orchestration.”

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