Israel is a small country. If you have a big canon you can basically straddle the entire country with a shell. Israelis know a lot about being fired upon. They have been fired upon from the North by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and before they took the Golan Plateu they were regularly fired upon from the heights by Syrian forces. They have been fired upon from Transjordan before they occupied the West Bank, they have in the past been fired upon from Egypt and are now fired upon from Gaza. Regularly. In fact they are constantly fired upon by rockets from Gaza. Listen up guys, this is not normal. It is just not normal for people to fire rockets at their neighbours.
And yet the death toll of Palestinians to Israelis in the last invasion of Gaza was 100 to 1 according to some sources. This statistic is given out by Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists as proof of the claim that Israelis are evil nazis oppressing the poor innocent Palestinians whose land they have stolen.
I present a different interpretation of the statistic. Israel has a main battle tank (MBT) called the Merkava. It is the only MBT I am aware of which has the engine in the front, in front of the driver. This is a considered design feature. When faced with a well armed enemy the tank will present its front to the enemy, and the personnel inside are protected better than in any other tank. The metal mass of the engine block acts as another layer of protection. The rear doors can be opened to admit troops, or to double as an ambulance. What is the military philosophy that led to such a design? Simple. Israel is small, Jews are few, Jewish commanders value the lives of their people above the value of a tank. No small value. The estimated price of an MBT is $6 million.
When Hamas or Al Aqsa fire a rocket at Israel they are aware that Israel is likely to respond, and to do so with dreadful force. Israel will visit death on its foes to save the lives of its people. Palestinians know this, and yet they knowingly site rocket launchers in built up areas, near schools and hospitals, in sites where a counter attack will cause the maximum possible damage to civilians. So what is the philosophy behind this military strategy?
Palestinian lives are many, weapons and resources are scarce. The most powerful weapon that Palestine possesses is propaganda. Nothing does propaganda better than photographs of injured and dead children, innocent victims of an evil and powerful enemy. Martyrs. Palestine is about martyrs. A dead Palestinian child is worth more to the cause than a live and happy one.
To me this explains why 100 Palestinians die for every Israeli. While Israel does everything it can to minimise its own casualties, the Palestinians are prolific with theirs.
Fate gave the word, the arrow sped,
And pierc’d my darling’s heart;
And with him all the joys are fled
Life can to me impart.
By cruel hands the sapling drops,
In dust dishonour’d laid:
So fell the pride of all my hopes,
My age’s future shade.
The mother-linnet in the brake
Bewails her ravish’d young;
So I, for my lost darling’s sake,
Lament the live-day long.
Death, oft I ‘ve fear’d thy fatal blow.
Now, fond, I bare my breast,
Oh, do thou kindly lay me low
With him I love, at rest! Robert Burns, A Mothers Lament.