1. No moral equivalence

Debunking 6 common Israeli myths

A factsheet addressing the 6 most common Israeli myths recycled during Israel's supposed "War on Terror"

1. No moral equivalence

"There is no moral equivalence between suicide bombings on the one hand, and Israel's killing of Palestinians on the other because while suicide bombings deliberately target civilians, Israeli forces do not."

The Myth Debunked:

Suicide bombing is a reprehensible and unacceptable tactic. These attacks should stop immediately. What needs to be added, and what is almost always missing in American media commentary is a similar condemnation of Israel's deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians.

Since the Palestinian uprising started in late September 2000, more than 1,500 Palestinians, and 400 Israelis have been killed (as of April 12, 2002), the vast majority on both sides being unarmed civilians. Most of the deadly violence against innocent civilians, therefore, has been committed by Israeli forces and has been directed at Palestinians.

Israel and its supporters claim that while Palestinian suicide bombers deliberately target Israeli civilians, Israel tries to avoid harming Palestinian civilians and that those who have died are "collateral damage." Hence, they argue, there is no moral equivalence between the killing of civilians by Israel and Palestinians. This defies both common sense and all the available evidence.

On the one hand, Israel wants us to believe that 400 of its own civilians were deliberately targeted, while more than three times as many dead Palestinians all somehow just got in the way of what Israel claims is its humane and disciplined army. It is, in essence, an argument that 1,500 people all died by accident.

Every human rights group that has examined Israel's practices has documented systematic and deliberate use of violence targeted at unarmed Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces. Physicians for Human Rights USA which investigated the high number of Palestinian deaths and injuries in the first months of the Intifada, concluded that:

"the pattern of injuries seen in many victims did not reflect IDF [Israel Defense Forces] use of firearms in life-threatening situations but rather indicated targeting solely for the purpose of wounding or killing."

[Source: PHR USA, 22 November 2000]

This finding was based on "the totality of the evidence" the investigators collected about:

"the high number of gunshots to the head; the volume of serious, disabling thigh injuries; the inappropriate firing of rubber bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets at close range; and the high proportion of Palestinian injuries and deaths."

The findings of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch confirm this pattern. Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has documented and condemned the targeted use of violence against Palestinian civilians and has found evidence of systematic torture of thousands of Palestinian detainees, including children.

What has been confirmed by human rights groups has also been observed directly by journalists.

What has been confirmed by human rights groups has also been observed directly by journalists.

In October 2001, Harper's magazine published the "Gaza Diary" of journalist Chris Hedges. Hedges' entry for June 17, 2001 provides even more shocking evidence of the wanton and deliberate killing of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers at Gaza's Khan Yunis refugee camp.

Hedges writes:

"I sit in the shade of a palm-roofed hut on the edge of the dunes, momentarily defeated by the heat, the grit, the jostling crowds, the stench of the open sewers and rotting garbage. A friend of Azmi's brings me, on a tray, a cold glass of tart, red carcade juice."

"Barefoot boys, clutching kites made out of scraps of paper and ragged soccer balls, squat a few feet away under scrub trees. Men in flowing white or gray galabias -- homespun robes -- smoke cigarettes in the shade of slim eaves. Two emaciated donkeys, their ribs protruding, are tethered to wooden carts with rubber wheels."

"It is still