Fred Maroun
Fred Maroun

Israel does not kill Palestinians, we do

A kindergarten in Beersheva, Israel, in December 2008, after a rocket attack from Gaza (credit: Avi Ohayon / Wikimedia Commons).

We all know the expression “guns don’t kill, people do.” If a gun sat in a locked cabinet, it would kill no one. But if a person picked it up, pointed it at someone else, and pulled the trigger, that someone would likely die. It is the person who pulled to the trigger who is the killer, not the gun.

It’s the same with Gaza. Israel has a powerful army, the Israel Defense Forces, but when unprovoked, the IDF never attacks Gaza. It attacks Gaza only when Hamas or other Gaza terrorists attack Israel, typically by raining rockets on its cities.

Attacking a country, any country, will cause that country’s army to respond, just as predictably as pulling a trigger on a gun will cause the gun to fire.

So, who causes the terrorists to attack Israel? We do. We, all the people outside Israel who watch the conflict and react to it. We pull the trigger by giving the terrorists incentives to attack Israel. By demonizing Israel while not making the terrorists suffer any consequences for their actions. Any terrorist infrastructure that is demolished by Israel will be rebuilt thanks to donors eager to rebuild Gaza or even to rebuild the terrorist capability. And the terrorists will take pride in having terrorized Israelis and killed a few, without being bothered by the fact that they caused even more Palestinian deaths.

We pull the trigger by demanding that Israel end the hostilities instead of demanding that the terrorists be disarmed. We pull the trigger by blaming Israel for giving the terrorists reasons to attack, as if attacking defenseless civilians was the correct way to resolve grievances. We pull the trigger by repeatedly counting the casualties on each side, as if a higher casualty count on the Palestinian side meant that Israel was the guilty one, as if Israel wasn’t doing everything to limit civilian casualties while the terrorists did everything to cause them. We pull the trigger by demanding that the blockade of Gaza be lifted, ignoring that Israel needs to limit the entry of weapons into Gaza. We pull the trigger by lamenting the situation of Palestinians in Gaza without recognizing that the terrorists are to blame. We pull the trigger by blaming Israel for building settlements in the West Bank while ignoring that Jews were forcibly removed from there in 1947. We pull the trigger by demanding that Israel end the occupation of the West Bank while ignoring that it ended the occupation of Gaza and withdrew all settlements but only received more terrorist attacks in return. We pull the trigger by lamenting the lack of a Palestinian state while ignoring that for over 73 years, the Arabs have refused such a state because it had to be next to Israel.

When we don’t recognize the reality of the conflict, which is that there is far more blame on one side than on the other, we give incentives to the terrorists to continue attacking Israel. We pull the trigger.

Every time that there is a war between Israel and Gaza, the images of the war and the counts of deaths and injuries are heart-wrenching. But these wars keep happening, and it’s the same story every time. As long as Hamas and their allies control Gaza, these wars will continue.

If we want Palestinians to stop dying in wars with Israel, we have to stop pulling the trigger. We have to stop pulling the trigger of ignorance and hatred that kills as surely as the trigger of a gun. It is simple, but it is very hard, because we have to develop the spine and the moral sense to do it. But will we? Will we stop killing Israelis and Palestinians?

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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