'Fighting Terror Hurts Israel'

Reuters, which often reprints UN anti-Israel material, now touts a B’Tselem-linked study arguing Israel’s anti-terror actions are self-defeating.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 5:37 PM

Evacuating the wounded after rocket attack
Evacuating the wounded after rocket attack
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Reuters, which often reprints United Nations anti-Israel and pro-Hamas reports, now touts a B’Tselem-linked study arguing that Israel’s anti-terror actions are self-defeating. The researchers equate the results of IDF actions with Arab terrorist attacks, claiming that both sides retaliate for violent attacks.

The B’Tselem group has been in the forefront against Israeli retaliations for thousands of missile attacks from Hamas-Based Gaza. The organization helped supply the United Nations with claims that led to the United Nations-authorized Goldstone Report to accuse Israel of “war crimes” in the Operation Cast Lead campaign nearly two years ago.

The study was originally reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was carried out by Johannes Haushofer of the University of Zurich, Nancy Kanwisher of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Anat Biletzki of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, who is a member of B’Tselem.

The researchers said the findings “defy the perception that Palestinians attack randomly and demonstrate that both sides damage their own interests with acts of violence.”

Reuters reported that Biletzki, the member of B’Tselem, stated, “The previous evidence suggested that Israeli attacks were often responses to Palestinian aggression, whereas this did not appear to be true for Palestinian attacks. This implied that the conflict was one-sided, with Palestinians attacking Israel, and the Israeli army merely responding to this aggression. Our findings suggest that the situation is more balanced than that."

However, the research relied on the number of casualties on each side and did not consider that during the 10 years since the beginning of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, Israel has suffered unprovoked terrorist attacks virtually every day, regardless of counterterrorist maneuvers.

Despite more than 14,000 missiles and mortar attacks, along with dozens of suicide bombings and continuing shooting attacks throughout Israel, the government frequently silenced army guns for long periods of time. The Operation Cast Lead campaign, designed to end missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza, lasted only three weeks until its conclusion in mid-January 2009.

Since Cast Lead, the number of missile attacks has plunged and most of the rockets have exploded in open areas, unlike the pre-Cast Lead attacks that devastated major cities in southern Israel.

The study also ignored the fact that many of the Arab casualties were “martyrs” who expressed the hope they would be killed. The researchers focused on the relatively low Israeli casualty figures from missile attacks, without noting the widespread property and emotional damage suffered by tens of thousands of Israeli civilians.

Instead, the study concluded that not only did “both sides retaliate” for violence, but also the probability of Israeli deaths increased by 50 percent the day after Israeli forces killed terrorists, which Reuters termed “Palestinians.” The conclusion is that if Israel did not retaliate to terror, the number of Israeli deaths would drop.

The research report concluded that Israeli counterterrorist attacks provoked more missile attacks, and that the murder of Israelis by Arabs increased the likelihood of Arab deaths.

The terrorist attacks from Gaza were thought to come to an end after Israel expelled more than 9,000 Jewish civilians from the area, destroyed their homes and factories and then withdrew all IDF army forces. President Shimon Peres, who backed the expulsion, later said that he could not understand why the Palestinian Authority still continued to attack Israel despite the withdrawal.