he official news agency of the Palestinian Authority, WAFA, ran an editorial on March 31, 2002, that contained evocative language about the Israel Defense Forces' operations against the terrorist infrastructures of the PA: "They have brought back the Tatar, the Mongolians, the Nazis and all the invaders throughout the dark history of mankind they are the descendants of Hulagu [grandson of Genghis Khan] and Hitler, therefore the practice of the occupying soldiers is programmed and not an individual behavior they seemed to have emerged from the depth of the dark and evil history of their ancestors Joy to the Jews, who are proud of their army, which horribly kills gentiles [commits] atrocities our holocaust ."
The Egyptian newspaper, al-Messaa, referred to "the genocide war waged by the Nazi terrorist and the world's first butcher Sharon ." Al-Ahram, the leading newspaper in Egypt, similarly stated, "Sharon is attempting a Nazi invasion of the Palestinian territories; an invasion similar to that attempted by Hitler ."
However, standing out for bombastic exaggeration, no mean feat in the Arab world, was Saudi Arabia's Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud. According to the Saudi newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat, the prince called the enforced isolation of PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the current Israeli military offensive "the greatest crime in the history of humanity."
Not unexpectedly, the European Union has reacted hysterically to the Arab rhetoric and propaganda, and has called for an emergency meeting of its member states to determine how to handle reports of an "IDF slaughter" in the areas formerly under the jurisdiction of the PLO. The EU further threatened "harsh consequences" should Arab allegations of "massacres" in Jenin turn out to be true. Undoubtedly, the EU members have been buried with documentation purporting to show high casualty rates among the Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Yet, casualties of warfare can be classified in many different ways, depending on who is doing the counting. Therefore, it is very instructive to examine information on Arab casualties over the past 18 months of warfare as provided by Arab or supposedly neutral sources.
According to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG), founded in 1996 by members of Fatah, the PFLP, the DFLP, Hamas, and others, the number of Arab residents of the Palestinian Authority killed by Israeli security forces in what they call the al-Aqsa Intifada, from the period of September 29, 2000, through March 25, 2002 is 1,080. Then, after an uninvited homicidal guest killed 27 Jews at a communal Passover meal in a Netanya hotel, things got worse for the Arabs. In Jenin, the focus of Arab propaganda claims of IDF massacres, as of April 8, the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights & the Environment, LAW, reported that 100 residents had been killed in three days of fighting. While extrapolation to April 11, the day the fighting in Jenin was basically concluded, would equal 200 dead, that would be unfair to PA cabinet member Saeb Erekat. Erekat told Newsday on April 11 that "he received reports of 500 Palestinians killed in the offensive, but said he could not confirm the figure." Other Arab cities taken by the IDF in its Passover offensive suffered fewer casualties. The Washington Post reported that 37 Arabs died in Ramallah, the city where PLO leader Yasser Arafat is under house arrest. MSNBC reported that 41 Arabs were killed in Shechem (Nablus) by April 9, 2002. In all, regardless of the fact that most of those killed were armed members of one PA militia or another, approximately 1,358 Arabs died in a little over eighteen months of warfare. That is, an average of three people per day.
The question of whether or not those figures constitute a "slaughter" of Arabs needs to be seen in perspective. How do other democratic states fight their wars?
In 1982, a war was initiated over Argentinean claims to the sheep-heavy Falkland Islands off the Argentine coast and the British rejection of those claims. In 72 days of warfare soldiers of the United Kingdom managed to kill over 700 Argentineans. The British offensive, never labeled a "massacre," cost an average of 10 Argentinean lives per day.
The United States is far better at killing its enemies than the British. During the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983, U.S. armed forces killed about 800 Cuban troops and 45 Grenadian civilians in two days of fighting. According to reports at the time, the U.S. found a cache of weapons that could arm 10,000 men. That is, about 40,000 less than the number of armed men in the various PLO militias.
Let us not forget the American incursion into Panama in December of 1989. The U.S. did not take chances against the fearsome Central American shipping lane and employed F-117 jets and AC-130 gunships, dropping about 400 bombs on Panama City before going in with ground troops. By that time, most of the Panamanian defenders were waiting to surrender. It will also be recalled that the Panamanian strongman and drug dealer, Manuel Noriega, was "isolated" by the Americans and fled into a church, where he hid until American pressure (including loud heavy metal music) forced him out. In just seven days of fighting, 314 Panamanian troops were killed, along with about 200 civilians. That is, 74 people a day.
America's latest war, in Afghanistan, has caused the death of nearly 3,800 Afghanis, between October 7 and December 7 alone, according to Professor Marc Herold of the University of New Hampshire. Herold was quoted as saying that his estimate was very conservative. In a war to eliminate al Qaeda terrorists hiding behind and among Afghani civilians, much like the PLO terrorists do, the Americans have killed 42 civilians a day. That does not even begin to include the casualties among the fighters of the Taliban or the al Qaeda "Afghani Arabs."
Now, of course, the Arab claim is that all of those military conflicts are not the same thing as the Israeli offensive in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza nothing is ever the same thing as fighting the Jews. However, a very close parallel from the region does exist. During the late 1960's, the PLO established a terrorist fiefdom in the eastern part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. King Hussein did not take kindly to the PLO moves to divide his country, as he had good reason to believe that the PLO had the goal of creating a "Palestine" on the ruins of the Hashemite kingdom rather than beside it. Therefore, in the space of one month in 1970, which came to be called "Black September," the "moderate" king slaughtered 10,000 Arab PLO supporters and expelled the leadership to Lebanon. At the cost of 333 lives per day, Hussein managed to put down his intifada, exile seditionist elements, and totally remove the PLO claim to Jordan from public discussion.
Not only have there been fewer Arab deaths in the current year and a half of conflict in Israel than in the one-month-long intifada against Jordan, but Israeli troops are even less brutal, apparently, than the Los Angeles police department. When riots broke out all over Los Angeles in 1992, following the verdict in the Rodney King case, the California governor called in the National Guard to quell the unrest. The LAPD and the California National Guard managed to contain the rioting after six days. During that time, in a confrontation that was presumably less violent than the actual warfare being waged now in Israel, 54 people were killed. That works out to a rate of 9 Angelinos killed every day of the riots.
Israel's war with the PLO been far less deadly for the Arabs, relatively, than similar conflicts around the world, but for the Israelis themselves "peace" with the PLO has been far more deadly. According to a study published by an organization calling itself the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Btselem, more Israeli civilians have been killed by Arab terrorists and militiamen in the years since Israel began turning over land to the PLO, in 1993, than in a comparable period of time prior to that. Furthermore, last week, it was announced that more Israelis have died during the years of "negotiations" with the PLO than during the 1967 Six Day War with five Arab states.
Bearing all of that historical information in mind, the wise and enlightened European leaders could never reach the conclusion that Israel is committing "massacres" or "slaughter," much less "the greatest crime in the history of humanity." Could they? With their rich experience as perpetrators of massacres, inquisitions, and genocide (against the Jews), one hopes that the European states will be able to discern the drivel in the PLO claims against the Jewish state.
The new figures do not, however, alter the import of the statistical analysis in the article. Including the updated information regarding Afghani civilian deaths during Operation Enduring Freedom, the nearly 19 months of warfare between local PLO terrorists and the Israeli army has still produced a lower rate of death among the population of the Palestinian Authority including both civilians and combatants than other modern wars fought by Western states.