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The Choices Palestinians Make by Dexter Van Zile (Gatestone Inst.)

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Feb. 6, 2017

  • The notion that the Israeli pilot is the only one who has any responsibility for the child’s death is simply false. A lot of bad choices were made — by Palestinians — prior to the death of the young child and Atef Abu Saif knows it; he just can’t — or will not — address these choices, at least not in this text.
  • The reality that Saif will not confront in his book [The Drone Eats With Me] is that Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, bears a huge measure of responsibility for the suffering he documents. Hamas has repeatedly started wars that it cannot win against a country that cannot afford to lose.
  • During these conflicts, it has launched rockets from schoolyards and has used hospitals as command centers for its leaders, putting civilians on both sides of the conflict at risk. When children are killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza, Hamas puts their bodies on display to demonize Israel, and writers such as Saif assist in this tactic.
  • During the war in 2008–2009, Hamas… used cement and other building materials allowed into the Gaza Strip—ostensibly for the benefit of Palestinian civilians—in order to construct tunnels that could penetrate Israel and serve as a means to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.
  • During its 2012 fight with Israel, Hamas leaders declared that killing Jews is a religious obligation. Hamas promotes a genocidal organization that seeks Israel’s destruction and yet Saif does not speak a word about this lethal ideology or actions before or during the 2014 war.
  • Honesty requires that the deaths of these Palestinian children serve to drive — not obstruct — the conversation toward Palestinian abilities and responsibility.
  • On and on he goes in an emotionally powerful but intellectually dishonest lament. Saif simply cannot come to grips with the responsibility Palestinian leaders have for the suffering in the areas they govern.
  • This is exactly what Saif’s condescending patrons and boosters in the West are looking for — narratives that allow them to embrace and broadcast baseless hatred for the Jewish state in the name of human rights.
  • Westerners who feast on this narrative do not help the Palestinians, but hurt them, by responding to the misdeeds of Palestinian elites with condescending pats on the head instead of the rebukes they warrant.

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