How Many Palestinians Is One Israeli Worth?

Today, we’re going to try to find out the answer to that question.

On the 12th of this month, three Israeli teens hitchhiking back home disappearing, touching off a massive manhunt by the Israeli government that has to date resulted in the arrest of nearly 350 Palestinians and the fatal shooting of three.

Now you might be thinking “Gordon, you clarion bugle of the downtrodden, isn’t that ****ed up beyond all reason? That sounds like a math problem from a demonic algebra class.”

Yes, readers- yes it is. Nearly 350 people have been arrested on “suspicion” of involvement in the disappearance of these three boys.


Not counting the dead.

Just to drive home how psychotic this is, let’s mix things up a bit and show the same scenario with the roles mixed around:

On the 12th of this month, three teens hitchhiking back home disappeared, touching off a massive manhunt by this government which has resulted in the arrest of nearly 350 Jews and the fatal shooting of three.

Now you’d probably be reeling if you saw that in the news- staggered trying to comprehend how on earth any government could be so transparently and wantonly racist. Chances are you’d think you’d have time-traveled to Nazi Germany, but nope- just modern day Israel.

This state-sponsored terror is speculated to have a lot more to do with the improving relations between Gaza and the West Bank.

Again, just sit back and really try to take in how horrific it is. Three teens go missing and the immediate assumption is not that there’s some horrible mix up, or some random crazy guy out there- no, it must be folks from a certain ethnic group. Obviously it must be them.

I mean, this’d make To Kill A Mockingbird look calm and measured by comparison.

What kind of Klu-Klux-Klansy, ethnocentric monsters would respond like this? Heck, when Michael Dunn shot and killed Jordan Davis at a gas station for playing music “too loud”, the government didn’t start shooting and arresting hundreds of random white people. Even if these kids had been kidnapped by a Palestinian or Palestinians, how on earth is this en-masse imprisonment and murder of innocent bystanders even remotely justified? Make no mistake, readers, you’ve got a front-row seat to the collective punishment of thousands for having been born the wrong race.

Or at least, you would if any major news outlet in this country would actually cover the story. CNN, FOX, NBC- not a peep about it. Oh, they’ll be able to speculate about Alec Baldwin’s wife’s yoga clothing, but a massive human rights violation? Nah- that’s not news.

The BBC, at least, has been decent with its coverage

But readers, I set forth a math problem up above and I intend to answer it. In the eyes of Israel, how many Palestinians are worth one Israeli? Well, it’s a simply matter of division, and it comes down to 113 in prison and 1 dead per missing Israeli. Which is a step up from 2006, in which the number of Israeli to Lebanese civilian casualties stood at a rate of 1 to 27.

“But Gordon, you incandescent herald of a new and better age, isn’t that absurd? Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands? Organs? Dimensions? Senses? Affections? Passions?

Fed with the same food? Hurt with the same weapons? Subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as an Israeli is? How is the life of one person more valuable than the lives of a hundred upon the basis of his religion or race?”

It beats the **** out of me.

3 responses to “How Many Palestinians Is One Israeli Worth?

  1. Pingback: The Siege of Gaza | Culture War Reporters

  2. You are conflating two situations. Governments don’t need to make mass arrests in situations where the majority of the population support the government.

    They do tend to make mass arrests when trying to solve crimes or find terrorists in situations when the population in the area are HOSTILE to the government.

    In Canada in 1970 when separatist radicals kidnapped (and later murdered) one politician, the government suspended civil liberties and rounded up and detained 497 people; 90% of them were later released without charges.

    Arrest of large numbers of “suspects” is a common tactic used even by democratic governments in situations where the local population do not cooperate with normal police.

    In the Israeli case it was clear that Palestinian authorities and people – for obvious reasons hating the Israeli occupier – would not bring their own radicals to justice. In contrast, in Israel, since the Israeli populace generally supported their own government, the police did not need to resort to crude mass arrest tactics and so were able to pinpoint their own terrorists and criminals thus requiring only six arrests.

    Contrary to what you suggest, actions like mass arrests are not unique to Israel.

    Canada did it during the 1970s. For one death, they arrested 497 people. Did the Trudeau (a french Canadian himself) consider people from Quebec to be 497 times less valuable than other Canadians?

    They’re common any time when one government faces a population that doesn’t support its actions. They’re not nice, they’re not just, but they are sometimes the only choice if a government’s goals (in this case, attempting to find the killers) were to met when normal police work would be impossible because the local authorities aren’t interesting in cooperation.

    Mass arrests to catch terrorists are generally counter-productive in the long term. They create martyrs and hurt innocent people.

    The British used mass arrests as late as 1970s against the IRA after the IRA bombing campaign killed dozens of civilians. Hundreds of people, many innocent, were arrested in an effort to catch the terrorists. It was somewhat successful, but it was also hated and contributed to the cycle of violence.

    Ultimately, the situation was resolved not by the IRA keeping fighting, or firing rockets and bombs, but by the IRA eventually renouncing violence.

    Point is: Israel is not uniquely “evil”. Israel is using the exact same tactics that Canada and the United Kingdom used.

    • I’m not sure I’d cite Canada or the UK as incandescent beacons of humans rights to begin with, but let’s start from the top.

      Firstly, there’s no evidence that the kidnappers were Palestinian. These arrests were made on the assumption that they were. I mean, you’re right that these actions don’t typically take place in a society where the population is generally supportive of their government, but seeing as how the government in question is a violently racist regime, that all seems neither here nor there.

      The issue with the “they hate us, therefore, our actions and scope are justified” is that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mass arrests happen on a population who may or may not be guilty, which naturally increases the outrage and resentment of the folks being arrested, leading the people doing the arresting to keep doing the same thing, seeing as how the occupied folks aren’t their biggest fans. It becomes a vicious cycle, like you say.

      As far as the issue of evil goes, you yourself state that such actions “aren’t just”. I mean, that kinda kills the point, doesn’t it? I mean, I could use the same line of logic to argue that nuking Los Angeles would get rid of any burglars in the city. It aint nice and it aint just, but it would stop home invasions (especially ‘cuz there’d be no homes).

      My point here aint that this is something necessarily unique to Israel (though I do think that if such mass arrests were attempted in any democratic society today, they’d be met with outrage)- just that in and of itself, it’s something virulently evil and indicative of the general bigotry the state was founded upon. I’d refer you to my “Shame Day: Zionism” for more of the complete invective, if you’re interested.

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