Politics and Whatnot

Just another liberal political blog

Israel: Tough on Palestinian civilians, weak on Palestinian terrorism

The dicks who made this poster are thrilled with the Israeli government's latest move.

Now I’ve been critical in the past of Israel’s harsh policies towards the Palestinians – blockades, reckless military action, allowing unrestricted settlements, etc.  These actions tend to punish innocent Palestinians with a negligible, and probably counterproductive effect on the terrorist groups that Israel claims to be targeting.  You might reason that I think Israel is taking too hard a line on Palestine, and is too obsessed with stopping terrorism.

On the contrary, Israel is taking too hard a line with Palestinian civilians, while taking an appallingly weak stance against Palestinian terrorists.  Yesterday, Israel demonstrated exactly what I’m talking about.  They released a list of no less than 477 Palestinian prisoners – many convicted of downright appalling crimes, that will be released for Gilad Shalit, a single Israeli soldier held by the Palestinians.  And apparently, there’s still about 550 more to come.  Worse, the soldier was not legitimately held by the Palestinians, but was simply kidnapped, without even a suggestion that he had committed any crime.  It’s quite literally ransom, and very generous ransom at that.

Reading some dissenting views, it looks like there is a claim that many of the Palestinians released are in fact not convicted of a serious crime, convicted unjustly, or otherwise should not be held.  Frankly, I don’t know enough to say whether this is true, except that at least some are clearly guilty of very horrible acts.  But even so, this does not refute my point: if Israel is holding so many innocent Palestinians, that just continues the notion that they are punishing the innocent while dealing weakly with the terrorists.  The innocent should spend no time in prison, and terrorists should spend the rest of their lives in prison.  Those who support this deal seem to be suggesting that all Palestinians, innocent and guilty, should simply go to prison until they are released as part of an extortionate prisoner swap.  If you treat civilians and terrorists alike, maybe they will also act alike.

But what is the alternative, many ask?  To let Shalit die in Palestinian custody?  Well, not at first.  At first, you do everything possible to take him back without having to give the Palestinians anything.  Of course, it’s rarely that simple.  So failing that, yes, the answer is to let Shalit die in custody.  Why?  Because he will be the last.  Once the Palestinians see that kidnapping is no longer super-handsomely-rewarding to them, there’s no more reason for them to put the effort into it.  Any maybe, once they realize that, they will see that terrorism is not the answer, and that peaceful but disobedient action against the Israeli occupation will be much more effective.  But that leads to another question: Does the Israeli government want the Palestinians to be peaceful if it means they will be more effective?

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One response to “Israel: Tough on Palestinian civilians, weak on Palestinian terrorism

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