Remember The Palestinians
Knowing how much Americans are worried about the loss of innocent life in Palestine, I thought I'd summarize the number of Palestinians killed in the past 17 months.
This number does not include all those killed in Israel's most recent military invasion of the West Bank. They are still finding bodies in the rubble. This number represents only those killed through March 9, 2002.
The toll of Palestinian children 15 and younger is 151. That's a lot of Little League teams. Many of these children were shot through the head by Israeli snipers who, 200 yards away in armored vests and helmets, apparently feared a rock thrown by a 12-year-old that landed many yards short. I can easily imagine killing people. After all, I was in the Army. I cannot imagine lining up a child's head in the scope of my rifle and squeezing the trigger.
Another 138 Palestinians ages 16 to 18 also have been killed by the Israelis. The total number of Palestinians killed during this period is 1,286, of whom 83.8 percent were civilians. The rest, 208, were members of the Palestinian police and security forces, which might be one reason Yasser Arafat has had some trouble controlling terrorists.
The bulk of these innocent men, women and children were killed by the Israeli Defense Force, some by Jewish settlers in the occupied territories and the rest by ordinary Israelis. Apparently, it is open season on Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said 419 Israelis have been killed during the same time period, although he is counting the soldiers killed in the recent invasion, and I am not counting those Palestinians, since a definitive number is not known. Sharon is known inside Israel as a man whose word is not to be trusted (I read a column in an Israeli newspaper about Sharon's lying). Nevertheless, let us take his figure, 419, and you can plainly see that the Israelis have killed three times as many Palestinians.
The Palestinians, I'm sure, would appreciate it if a few Americans would acknowledge that their lives are just as precious as those of the Israelis. The Palestinians have given up on the U.S. government. It has shown itself to be about as sympathetic to their loss of life as Sharon.
But I have a question: If Israel has killed three times as many Palestinians, the bulk of them unarmed civilians and the rest police officers with pistols and rifles, how can it be that Israel is fighting "for its survival"? The prime minister says it is. A lot of cheap American politicians are saying it is. What I want to know is how a few despairing teen-agers with homemade bombs can threaten the survival of a nation that has the strongest military force in the Middle East.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation in a recent story, Israel has the following assets: 134,000 army troops, 32,000 air force, 7,000 navy and 8,000 border police. The reserves are 400,000 for the army, 20,000 for the air force and 5,000 for the navy. In addition, Israel has 440 combat aircraft, 3,900 main battle tanks, 130 helicopters, 9,600 artillery tubes and 100 or more nuclear bombs.
Since the Palestinians have no army, no air force, no navy, no aircraft, no tanks, no helicopters and no nukes, one has to wonder indeed how these defenseless civilians can threaten Israel's existence. Gosh, you don't suppose Israeli and American politicians are lying, do you? Perish the thought.
I guess the Israeli army snipers must have been ordered to shoot all those children, for Palestinian children must be the toughest kids in the universe. I never heard of any other group of children able to frighten a whole nation like that.
That's funny, too, because all of the pictures I've seen of Palestinian children - dead, dying, bleeding or paralyzed - show kids who look like American children their age. Check out www.palestinemonitor.org for a different view of the world.
Charley Reese can be contacted at