Monday, November 13, 2006

Ed Koch: "Rational People Will Say No"

An excellent piece by former New York mayor Ed Koch, on the incident in which Palestinian women came to the aid of terrorist gunmen holed up in a mosque, and were fired upon by IDF soldiers: Israel Must Defend Itself. (Hat tip: Newsbeat1.)
This is what’s at stake, in a battle with an enemy that is willing to violate all norms of civilized behavior, including the de facto, harshly pragmatic rules of war, because they feel nothing but contempt for the West’s ability to respond to their power play. They do it in the open and even tell our media about their plans, knowing that it won’t affect their ability to operate.
On my radio program last Friday night, a caller denounced the Israeli military for shooting Palestinian women who sought to shield the holed-up gunmen occupying the mosque.
The Arab world and others hostile to Israel have already denounced the Israelis for shooting at these women. The Times reported, “Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, angrily called for the international community to ‘come here and witness the daily massacres that are being carried out against the Palestinian nation.’”
The obvious purpose of the confrontation between the women and the soldiers was to create Palestinian propaganda that could be used to discredit Israel. On my radio program I asked what are the Israeli soldiers to do, stand there and be killed?
Are the militants to be allowed to escape and engage in terrorist actions on another day, killing Israeli civilians and soldiers?
Are Palestinian women to be allowed, because of their gender, to help the Palestinian terrorists with impunity?
I think rational people will say no.
I believe rational people will agree with an Israeli spokesman quoted in the Times. “‘The fighting around the mosque is not something we wanted,’ said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry. ‘But international law is clear: when combatants take control of a religious site and begin firing, it becomes a legitimate target. They broke the sanctity of the site.’”
Similarly, as the Times reported, “One marcher, Suhad el-Masri, 28, said she and several of her relatives had been carrying abayas and scarves to give to the men. ‘We took them so they could disguise themselves as women and escape,’ she said. Her sister, Hiba Rajab, 20, was shot in her legs and left arm; her wounds were considered serious.”
These women broke the commitment that women will not participate in acts of violence and thus not be fired upon. As recently as Nov. 7, the Times reported that in Gaza, “Mervet Masoud, an 18-year-old Palestinian woman, blew herself up near several [Israeli] soldiers, killing herself and slightly wounding one soldier . . . [She] said in a video released by Islamic Jihad after her attack, ‘Consider me a martyr . . .’”
There will undoubtedly be continuing efforts to delegitimize the very existence of the state of Israel by supporters of the Palestinians. While some decent people decry the shooting of Palestinian women, they are silent in the face of the horrendous carnage inflicted by Islamic suicide bombers in Iraq who are killing and maiming innocent Iraqi civilians every day, many women shopping at local markets.
The explosions are the handiwork of Iraqi Sunni and Shia militants engaged in their escalating civil war.
I asked my radio caller what would he do in this Gaza event. He said he didn’t know and had no suggestion other than not shooting the women.

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