Here is a quick update of the casualty figures I reported in my last post on this subject:

Palestinians killed       100+

Palestinians injured   many thousands

Israelis killed               0

Israelis injured            1

We can certainly argue about the wisdom and even the morality of the Gazans’ choice of protest tactics, but can anyone argue that the Israelis have not employed vastly disproportionate force in their response?

The protests were occasioned by the 70th anniversary of the Palestinians’ Nakba, or catastrophe—the flip side of Israeli independence. Nakba denial—the pretense that the 700 thousand or so Arabs who fled Palestine in 1948, leaving a Jewish majority in Israel, left voluntarily—has been carefully nurtured by Israeli governments and their minions ever since. For good reason: Nakba denial is fundamental to the myths of Israeli innocence and rectitude that have dominated US discourse on the Middle East for decades.  It is simply not permissible to acknowledge that the new Jewish state was founded on the displacement and dispossession of another people.

Thanks to a commenter on the Mondoweiss website, I came across a fascinating example of official Nakba denial. It was actually reported in the NY Times back in 1979. It seems that Yitzak Rabin ran into trouble with official Israeli censorship when the draft of his memoirs reported the expulsion of some 50,000 Arabs from their homes near Tel Aviv during the 1948 war. The politically incorrect account was excised from both the Hebrew and American editions of Rabin’s book.

In his speech yesterday extolling the Israelis’ claim to an “eternal, undivided Jerusalem,” Netanyahu asserted that “A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality.” Funny, that’s essentially what the Gazans have been saying.




  1. Jeffrey Herrmann May 19, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    There may well be disproportionality in the Israeli use of force on most occasions, but I think it is worth noting that in the recent incident where 62 died, Hamas acknowledged that 50 were its members in civilian clothing and Islamic Jihad acknowledged that 3 more were theirs. In other words, 85% of those killed were combatants disguised in civilian clothing, not innocent protesting civilians. If the remaining 15% were all innocent protesters, that is a disturbingly high proportion.
    But how would you keep the border wall from being breached without use of deadly force?

    • tonygreco May 20, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Hamas membership doesn’t automatically define a person as a “combatant.” Most if not all of those killed were unarmed. “Unarmed combatant” is an oxymoron.

      As to whether Israel had alternatives, I’m no expert in crowd/riot control, but Hamas had announced its plans long in advance. Israel had plenty of time to figure out a non-lethal, or less lethal, strategy. Tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons come to mind.

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