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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Who are the Main Victims Is not the Same as Who is Right

The question: which of the two sides, Israel and the Palestinian-elected Hamas, is mainly responsible for what is happening in Gaza? and the question: who has fewer victims? do not need to have necessarily the same answer.

The often-repeated claim of Israel's "disproportionate reaction" has no basis.

Hamas spokespersons are always keen to say - and their apologists in the media and elsewhere to repeat - that the much greater number of civilian casualties among Palestinians than Israelis is evidence that Israel is the aggressor.

There is absolutely no logic in that assertion.

The number of victims in one camp is caused by how advanced the technology in military defence and prevention of casualities is in that country.

Nobody disputes that Israel is far more developed than the primitive Palestinians, but that is hardly a fault. Being good at defending oneself from an attacker is not a sign of guilt.

In fact, the opposite is true. We can see that, generally, it is the groups who commit and are responsible for most violence who are also the main victims of violence. Violent criminals, for instance, lead a dangerous life.

If we compare different countries and more specifically different populations by ethnic, socio-economic, age or other grouping, we will see that the countries or groups which commit most violence are also those that are on the receiving end of most violence (except in the case of black and white communities living together, in which blacks commit most violence and whites are the victims of most violence, mirroring the pattern among men and women).

The group of humans in the world which has the highest proportion of casualties must be the suicide bombers: that does not show that they are victims, but on the contrary that they are among the worst possible murderers.

This excerpt from The Retreat of Reason: Political correctness and the corruption of public debate in modern Britain by Anthony Browne illustrates where this fault in reasoning originates:

"The aim of political correctness is to redistribute power from the powerful to the powerless. It automatically and unquestioningly supports those it deems victims, irrespective of whether they merit it, and opposes the powerful, irrespective of whether they are malign or benign. For the politically correct, the West, the US and multinational corporations can do no good, and the developing world can do no wrong." [Emphasis added]

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