Friday, December 30, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 12/30/11:Sorting The Peace Process, Collateral Damage

by DG:
1) What peace process?

Shmuel Rosner writes in Peace? Process? in the New York Times:
One can see this change as a sign that Israelis have gotten too used to the current — and supposedly unsustainable — situation with the Palestinians, and now foolishly believe the status quo can last forever. Or perhaps it’s a sign that they see little point in debating a topic about which they generally agree: a decent peace deal for most of the occupied land (with many devils in the details). Or maybe they’re just tired of rehashing what has become a very boring issue with no new angles to discover and no new arguments to chew on.
I look at this shift in conversation through a more positive lens: Maybe Israelis have realized that they need to sort some things out among themselves pending the big breakthrough in their relations with Palestinians and other Arabs. Maybe they have realized that having a more robust and more cohesive Israel will make this peace more achievable when the day for it finally comes.
Or maybe, unlike those pundits who hyperventilate that something must be done,  Israelis simply don't see that any breakthrough is possible at this time. The sorting that Rosner mentions, may not be a cause of Israeli disinterest as much as its effect.

2) Collateral damage

The Jerusalem Post reports, Civilian Casualty Rate in Gaza at Record Low (via Daily Alert):
During the past year along the Gaza border, the IDF says 100 Palestinian combatants were killed in military operations, as well as 9 civilians. This is nearly a 1:10 civilian-to-combatant ratio that is unprecedented in any other conflict in the world. The UN estimates an average 3:1 ratio of civilian-to-combatant deaths in conflicts worldwide. That is three civilians for every combatant killed.
Note that the average casualty rate is 3 civilians for every combatant.

During Cast Lead three years ago, Israel was vilified for its "brutal" assault on Gaza, resulting in the Goldstone commission. After the fighting was over, Hamas acknowledged that six to seven hundred of those killed - out of an estimated 1400 - were its fighters. (Even now news reports mention that 1400 were killed as if that fact alone condemns Israel.) In other words, Hamas admitted, against its interests that Israel managed to keep its ratio of civilians to combatants down to roughly 1:1, a collateral damage rate well below average. It shows that the complaints against Israel were motivated by something other than sincere concern.

By the way, Turkish airstrikes just killed 36 smugglers, who were apparently non-combatants. The final paragraph exposes Turkey's hypocrisy towards Israel:
Mr. Celik, the ruling party spokesman, acknowledged that the airstrikes were a “mistake” but said the accidental killings would not deter the Turkish military from further missions against the P.K.K., which the United States and the European Union list as a terrorist organization. “Turkey has to struggle against terror,” he said.
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