Muslim hatred, separatism, tactics, and monopoly on morality, II
An Interactive Editorial By
Douglas Rotondi* and Hassan El-Najjar**
In interactive editorials, the editor of Al-Jazeerah answers questions and or responds to comments of readers, which are more general than readers' responses to specific articles or issues. It is an effective method of interaction in electronic journalism.
(3) Could you comment on the tactics used by the Palestinians and the Kashmiri separatists. Wouldn't they have more international support and therefore more success if they limited their attacks to military targets? You may come right back at me with "well Israel targets Palestinian civilians" but the perception here is that they at least make an effort to avoid them, while Palestinians purposely target civilians. The U.S. often kills civilians in Afghanistan, do you think we target them on purpose? I'm sure many Muslims do, when nothing could be further from the truth.
(3) With regards to targeting innocent civilians, you stated that Israelis and Americans do not target civilians on purpose and "they make an effort to avoid them." However, Palestinians and Kashmiris "purposely target civilians." I invite you to think again of what you said. War is wrong, no matter what we say about one party or another. Think about dropping an atomic bomb on a city, isn't that a deliberate targeting of civilians? The Vietnam war resulted in about three million Vietnamese deaths, were all these soldiers? Were all of them killed by accident? Finally, in Afghanistan, when a village is bombed, aren't there going to be civilians in the village?
Concerning the Israelis, the most recent massacre that purposely targeted civilians was the July 23, 2002 bombing of a building in a Gaza residential neighborhood, using one-ton bomb, in order to assassinate a Hamas leader. The bomb leveled off a three-storey building, killing the Hamas leader but also killing 17 civilians (14 were killed instantly and three died later), 12 of whom were children. The bomb also injured 176 civilians: men, women, and children. When Sharon ordered this bombing on that building, do you think that he made an effort to avoid targeting civilians. On daily basis, the Israeli occupation soldiers target civilians, and about one-fourth of all Palestinians killed by Israelis are children. You can go as far as you want in this, since the Dair Yasin massacre (a Jerusalem neighborhood), in 1948. All killing is wrong whether against soldiers or civilians but it is more wrong when it targets civilians. The challenge to us to be courageous enough to condemn Israeli terrorism, too. It is so sad that humans are still so primitive that they resort to the use of force to resolve conflict. However, to go back to the topic, we should differentiate between the Israeli oppressors and the Palestinians who are under the brutal Israeli military rule for the past 35 years.
Right now, the US government and the US media constantly condemn Palestinians when they target Israeli civilians, which they do in retaliation of Israeli targeting of Palestinian civilians. However, they become dead silent when Israelis target Palestinian civilians. In the case of the July 23, 2002 Gaza massacre, neither President Bush nor any other US government official on any level condemned the Israelis as "terrorists," like they usually refer to Palestinians. This lack of even handedness and fairness absolutely contributes to more anti-US, not Western, sentiments among Arabs and Muslims. Can this be changed? Absolutely, yes. The US government and the US media can do that by being fair and unbiased in this tragedy. If not, Israeli aggressors will be encouraged to continue their terror not only against Palestinians but also against the Middle East as a whole. Domination of one nation over other nations is a form of imperialism, it belongs to the past, and it has to come to an end. We will be smarter if we end it as soon as possible, and when this happens, it will shorten the period of suffering for everybody.
* Douglas Rotondi is a tax accountant, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He has a bachelors degree in accounting.
** Dr. Hassan El-Najjar is the editor of Al-Jazeerah. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Dalton State College, Georgia, USA.