Monday, November 19, 2012

Yes, the IDF is the most moral army in the world

It has been difficult to determine the ratio of terrorists to civilians being killed in Gaza. Certainly through Saturday there were more terrorists killed than civilians, it appears that this morning the ratio may be about the same (although this Reuters article uses the more vague term "non-combatants" and the number of dead who are males of military age still seem to be higher than those of women, children and the elderly.)

It is hard to tell; since Gaza authorities are notorious liars and some lists of the dead include those killed by Hamas rockets.

The terrorist websites seem to have all agreed to not identify mujahadeen being killed as they did in the early days of the operation. We saw this in Cast Lead as well, as the public relations advantage of pretending that Israel is perpetrating "massacres" outweighs the normal lionization of brave fighting "martyrs." Some Arab media will say that Israel targeted a "civilian car" without noting that the people inside were leaders of Islamic Jihad.

What we don't know at all, and may never know, is the number of civilians who were killed by errant Hamas rockets and by secondary explosions of terrorist ammunition and weapons caches.

PCHR, notorious for not distinguishing between members of terror groups and civilians but somewhat honest in their descriptions of how people died, has not updated their statistics since Saturday.

It appears though that the ratio of civilians to militants to is still about 1:1, about what it was during Cast Lead. The IDF claims 1:2 this morning. 

For all the gruesome photos of dead people and sick photo-ops in Gaza hospitals with babies, it is a remarkable ratio for wartime, especially in urban areas that house legitimate targets. This is far better than the ratio of civilian to militant deaths in Afghanistan, in a far more rural environment. Outside of Cast Lead, it is essentially an unprecedented achievement.

Even more amazing is that there have been over 1000 Israeli strikes in Gaza since Wednesday, and the number of civilian deaths is still less than 50. If anyone needs proof that Israel is not targeting civilians, this is irrefutable.

It needs to be stressed that Israel has zero incentive to kill civilians, and in fact has every reason to avoid killing civilians. The hyperbole about bloodthirsty Israelis and "genocide" and "massacres" is just propaganda.

Unfortunately, the media rarely looks at context, and photos of injured people - real or imagined - is where the ratings are.

It is still notable that the Arab side gleefully shows videos of Israelis panicking during missile strikes and Israelis grieving over their losses. Video clips made by the mainstream media, meant to humanize Israeli victims of rocket attacks, are being shown by Arab websites to gloat. Even the regular Arab audience loves to see terrorized Israelis.

One side sends warnings to save civilians, the other sends warnings to terrorize them. One grieves when the other sides loses innocents, the other cheers.

This is the real difference between the two sides - one side really wants to attack civilians and cause terror, and the other wants to avoid it as much as humanly possible.