was another one of those pictures that goes instantly around the world.
A young Palestinian, wailing in wretched sorrow, grieving over her dead
father, stepmother and five siblings who had been killed by an
explosion on a Gaza beach. Then came the blame. Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas (he's the moderate) immediately called the
killings an act of Israeli "genocide" and, to dramatize the crime,
legally adopted the bereaved girl.
sensational coverage and sensational charges raise the obvious
question: Why would Israel deliberately shell a peaceful family on a
Israeli government, clumsy as ever, seemed to semi-apologize by
expressing regret about the deaths, implying that perhaps they had been
caused by an errant Israeli shell targeting a Palestinian rocket base.
But then, a few days later, an army investigation concluded that it was
not Israel's doing at all.
because the shrapnel taken from the victims (treated at Israeli
hospitals -- some "genocide") were not the ordnance used in Israeli
artillery. Second, because aerial photography revealed no crater that
could have been caused by Israeli artillery. And, third, because Israel
could account for five of the six shells it launched at the rocket base
nearby, and the missing one had been launched at least five minutes
before the one that killed the family.
expert at a local chapter of a human rights group disputes the Israeli
claims. Okay. Let's concede for the sake of argument that the question
of whether it was an errant Israeli shell remains unresolved. But the
obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if
Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel -- and
placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families
on the Muslim Sabbath?
This is another example of the Palestinians' classic and cowardly
human-shield tactic -- attacking innocent Israeli civilians while
hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians. For Palestinian
terrorists -- and the Palestinian governments (both Fatah and Hamas)
that allow them to operate unmolested -- it's a win-win: If their
rockets aimed into Israeli towns kill innocent Jews, no one abroad
notices and it's another success in the terrorist war against Israel.
And if Israel's preventive and deterrent attacks on those rocket bases
inadvertently kill Palestinian civilians, the iconic "Israeli massacre"
picture makes the front page of the New York Times, and the
Palestinians win the propaganda war.
there is an even larger question not asked. Whether the rocket bases
are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans
launching any rockets at Israel in the first place -- about 1,000 in
the past year?
get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the
Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly
that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all
its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli
settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then
declared the line that separates Israel from Gaza to be an
international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian
what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein
territory under the Palestinians' control? They have used their freedom
to launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns.
Because the Palestinians prefer victimhood to statehood. They have
demonstrated that for 60 years, beginning with their rejection of the
United Nations decision to establish a Palestinian state in 1947
because it would have also created a small Jewish state next door. They
declared war instead.
a century later, at the Camp David summit with President Bill Clinton,
Israel renewed the offer of a Palestinian state -- with its capital in
Jerusalem, with not a single Jewish settler remaining in Palestine, and
on a contiguous territory encompassing 95 percent of the West Bank
(Israel making up the other 5 percent with pieces of Israel proper).
Palestinian answer? War again -- Yasser Arafat's terror war, aka the
second intifada, which killed a thousand Jews.
embrace of victimhood, of martyrdom, of blood and suffering, is the
Palestinian disease. They are offered an independent state. They are
given all of Gaza. And they respond with rocket attacks into peaceful
Israeli towns -- in pre-1967 Israel proper, mind you.
can Israel do but try to take out those rocket bases and their crews?
What would the United States do if rockets were raining into San Diego
from across the border with Mexico?
look again at that terrible photograph and ask yourself: Who is
responsible for the heart-rending grief of that poor Palestinian girl?
article originally appeared in the Washington Post.