What is a Palestinian life worth?

Palestinians have often complained that their life is valued less than Israelis. They ignore the international community’s relentless condemnation of Israel and instead depict the world as silent on the high numbers of casualties they are suffering. It is undeniable that in nearly every IDF operation, such as Protective Edge, there is a “disproportion”, with the result being hundreds of Palestinian deaths, while Israel’s losses are much lower.

Israel’s advocates exert a lot of time and energy, in an effort to explain, justify, and prove that the situation is not disproportionate, or that at best, there can be no proportionality given the way a terrorist organization is operating. They repeat over and over, that Israeli civilians are being deliberately targeted by hundreds of rockets, and it is not for the lack of Hamas’ intentions that Israel has a lower death toll than Gaza.

However, perhaps it is time for us to listen more carefully to the message the Palestinians are trying to convey. After years of claiming that they are ready to joyfully sacrifice their own children to kill as many Jews as possible, and after years of declaring that they love death, maybe we should admit that they are right, or at least partly right: a life devoted to destruction, to murder and to terror will never worth a life dedicated to solidarity and to the progress and development of humanity.

Actually, the Palestinians fixed the price of their own lives, in October 2011, when they accepted and loudly celebrated the exchange of 1,027 Palestinian murderers against one single life of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Instead of being humiliated by this miserable situation, Palestinians foolishly interpreted it as a weakness of Israel. Since then, their spokespeople and leaders have continued to champion the strategy of kidnaping Israelis in order to exchange them against hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails. Sadly, we saw the result of their morbid calculation this past month, resulting in the abduction and cold blooded murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Ironically, and even though almost three years have passed since the Gilad Shalit deal, Israelis do not yet seem to be aware of the self-assessed value of Palestinian life. They keep, quite obsessively, trying to spare civilians in Gaza, and are even ready to put their own citizens and soldiers in danger to achieve this goal. Part of Israel’s government, Knesset members and other officials congratulate themselves over and over for their wonderful efforts of doing so.

Indeed, Israel decided – despite ongoing rocket fire and against what would have been considered common sense – to send Israeli Electric Corporation workers to restore power in Gaza, which was damaged when a Hamas rocket scored a direct hit on an electrical facility, plunging 70,000 Gazans into darkness. In the same way, Israel have continued to accept humanitarian ceasefires, which have been in the most part rejected by Hamas – or accepted and then obviously not observed. Israel also opened a field hospital for the people of Gaza, where even Hamas terrorists are treated.

It should be stated very clearly: no one in Israel, wants to target or kill civilians in purpose, and their death is painful and hard. However, the obsession to preserve the lives of our enemy’s civilians and even fighters is as worrying as it is unrequited. When did it become legitimate or moral to endanger our own lives to save those of the enemy we face? Worse still, we do so for little reward on the international stage – it does nothing to garner support in international public opinion and, does not even convince the Palestinians of Israel’s genuine desire for peace.

Palestinians must understand that as long as they will praise death, as long as they will shamefully and viciously use their own civilians as human shields, as long as they will dream and raise their children to be shahids, and as long as they will behave as if their lives are not worth a dime, their lives will always worth less, if anything at all.

About the Author
Lisa Rahmani is an Attorney and the Lawfare Director for the Face of Israel.
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