It upsets me very much to see the agonizing story of child murders largely reduced to an AP statistical analysis. Counting bodies - whether it's factually correct or incorrect - ignores the central reality of terrorism. The terrorists want as many bodies as possible, and they don't make any effort to hide it. Counter-terrorism warfare causes innocents to lose their lives. This is awful - but it's not the same as the cold-blooded, deliberate viciousness that motivates people like the murderers of my daughter.
From personal experience, I have a better-than-average sense for how complex the journalism profession is. Still, you'll understand why I am so infuriated when an article which purports to compare the deaths of Israeli children with the deaths of Palestinian Arab children ignores the fundamental issue at the heart of the carnage: the Palestinians have a huge number of people interested in seeing more and more dead Israeli children.
If Israel failed to take the pro-active and energetic steps it does, many, many more Israeli children's lives would end in murder. The statistics in your article would then look very different. Israeli lives are saved every single day because of the work of the Israeli security forces. This is a reality of the asynchronous war of the past four years and for anyone aware of the facts, irrespective of political viewpoints, there's no room for doubt on the issue. The post-Arafat Palestinian political leadership acknowledges it. But instead of doing what moral and responsible people would - that is, forcefully preventing terror -they claim they prefer to 'discuss' and 'persuade' and not take the risk of arousing internal conflict within their own ranks. This is why it now falls to the Israeli security forces to police the Palestinians, with all that that entails.
There should have been some place found for this fundamental difference of standpoint in the article. Since it wasn't, the message is misleading and in my opinion false: poor Israeli families weaping over their misery; poor Palestinian families weaping over their misery; how tragic - but what can civilized people (meaning we readers of American newspapers that buy their stories from AP's wire service) possibly do? The cycle of violence continues.
But there is no cycle of violence in reality - not here. You know yourself, from living in the thick of things in Jerusalem, that if civilized people don't do everything in our power to stop the terrorists, they will spread their terror wider and wider. Understanding the flow of events is not about statistics - it's about terror. Almost every important thing in the way civilized society tries to regulate and manage itself today is about terror. Yet the word 'terror' did not appear even once in the article.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
AP seeks moral equivalence, as usual. Here is a response by Arnold Roth...read the whole thing.