Thursday, January 6, 2011
I wanted to make what I hope will be my final few thoughts (yeah, good luck with that) on the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma at Bilin a week ago. I think Rabbi Kaufman has a good run-down of the facts here: Another "War Crime" that Wasn't - Abu Rahma
It's clear that Abu Rahma had some sort of physical ailment, as tear gas deaths are extremely rare (actually unheard of). There is video from the day of the usual suspects literally jumping around in the gas, so there was nothing out of the ordinary in the gas itself (despite some claims). We will assume that CS gas was a factor in Abu Rahma's death. Why assume so? Because there is no reason, from a perspective of assigning blame and responsibility, not to do so. Unless IDF soldiers held her down and poured chemicals down her throat, there is no evidence whatsoever that they did anything wrong.
Quite the contrary, IDF activity seems to be calibrated to avoid confrontation and injury and everyone knows what to expect. In the first video in this post, you can see the sort of pushing and shoving confrontation that occurs when the rioters get too close.
Activists intend to create a physical confrontation. Pushing, shoving, rock throwing, slinging, molotov cocktails...and cutting the Security Fence. The Fence is not a joke. It is there to protect lives, not serve as a prop for political grandstanding and it is the IDF's responsibility to protect it (the fence's route has been ordered changed by the Israeli courts, but this section of fence will remain in place until the new section is completed -- not a joke). There is no evidence that the IDF uses anything but appropriate crowd dispersal methods to accomplish their mission, and there is no evidence they did anything but that in this case. Even I have been caught up with the hype of the event, and have felt the need to debunk the idea that this woman's death was caused by the Israelis when no such complete debunking is even necessary.
Just as the Friday Bilin tourist protest is a predictable happening, so it is predictable that the Palestinian Arabs will take any opportunity to demonize and assign malicious intent to the Jews no matter what they have done or how innocent their intent. The ISM makes no bones about intentionally sending young Western dupes into harm's way, and has had a number of successes where they were injured or even killed. You may remember the story of the opportunistic use of a child's tragic swing set death to paint Israelis as child murderers. It goes on and on. This is another column of march in the Arabs' war with the destruction of the Jewish State as its goal.
So Abu Rahma's death was an opportunity to yet again blame Jews for being killers, even though the real blame for any injuries is on the rioters themselves.
But what about those on the Israeli left who have taken what they should know is at worst a tragedy to demonize their own people? What to make of the Didi Remez's and the +972 crowd and the Derfners who seem to revel in the demonization? That's a question beyond the scope of this short post, but I am reminded of David Frum's description of the paleoconservatives:
They began by hating the neoconservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country.