There’s the old saying that "All’s fair in love and war." Then there’s the relatively new saying that sort of makes the same point: "Ya gotta do, what ya gotta do."
The problem is that for those of us in a democratic and open society, we get stung on both ends by this philosophy. When we try to adhere to a strict code of ethics, we get taken advantage of, as in the case of what’s happening to our troops in Iraq. And when it appears that we’re "letting it all hang out," or that we’re trying to protect ourselves from subversive rhetoric that’s disguised as Freedom of Speech, then everyone that’s even mildly anti-American castigates us, both domestically and internationally.
I'm not mentioning this because I'm concerned that the ignoble All’s fair tactics being used by the Iraqis will change the outcome of the current war, which I'm confident will be decided in our favor in very short order. I'm addressing the point because it dramatically illustrates what the Israelis have had to face over the past 100 years in dealing with the Arabs. It helps debunk all the claims of atrocities that the Arabs have accused the Israelis of: events like the Jenin Massacre and even the so-called Massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948.
Everything we’re seeing about the Iraqis; the use of ambulances to conceal the movement of hostile soldiers, hiding behind human shields (especially children), the placing of military command posts in hospitals and mosques and schools, and the killing of their own people to make it look like the work of the Coalition soldiers, are the same perfidious techniques used for decades by the Palestinian Arabs.
Other than the fictitious Jenin massacre, which didn't take place almost exactly one year ago, Deir Yassin is probably the most well known of the fabricated atrocities. A battle did take place at Deir Yassin, on April 9, 1948, but it was just that, a battle. In an effort to relieve the Jewish population of East Jerusalem and deliver much needed supplies, a group of Irgun fighters (part of the nascent Israeli Defense Force) attacked the Arab blockade that had closed the road to East Jerusalem and were keeping aid from getting through to the beleaguered Jews. At that time, the British still had the mandate to control the Holy Land, and the United Nations had decided that Jerusalem was to be an international city. The blockade was therefore an illegal act with potentially catastrophic consequences.
The Israelis used loudspeakers and other methods to warn the townspeople of Deir Yassin of their intention to open the road. The Arab fighters ignored the warnings and prevented many of the non-combatant Arab population from seeking safety. Women, children and the elderly were used as human shields. The fight raged on for several hours. Finally, as it became increasingly clear that the Irgun was winning the battle, groups of Arabs started to surrender. However, many of the Arabs were only feigning surrender and used the opportunity to lull the Jews into a false sense of security. As the Irgun soldiers moved to disarm the Arabs, the Arabs opened fire. Arabs also masqueraded as non-combatant women and used that ruse to catch the Israelis off guard. Both incidents resulted in the death of about 40 Jews.
Eventually the Jews won the battle and reopened the road to Jerusalem. Almost immediately, the Arabs claimed that they were the victims of a military atrocity. Arab leaders fabricated stories about the Jews raping Arab women and shooting unarmed civilians. These false reports were made on Arabic radio and in Arabic newspapers. However, when a Red Cross representative visited the town after the battle and held a press conference, there wasn't even the hint of a massacre in the report. A subsequent New York Times story about the battle also made it clear that there was no massacre. Moreover, every villager ever interviewed has denied that a massacre or any atrocities ever occurred. In fact, years later it was revealed that villagers were urged to make false statements on the radio in order to enrage Arabs and Muslims in other countries. Fortunately the scheme backfired, and instead of encouraging Arabs from around the region to join in future battles, it frightened them away.
Sadly, the Arabs have been so successful at selling the false story of Deir Yassin that many Israelis have come to believe that it really happened. However, Deir Yassin was no more of a massacre than was the anti-terrorist action that took place in Jenin. And although the Jenin massacre has now been almost universally acknowledged as a fabrication, the anti-Israel gang continues to try and keep the Jenin massacre myth alive.
On a day-to-day basis, we see these cowardly tactics continuously come into play as both the Palestinian Arabs and the Iraqis concoct lies and fantasies in order to deflect criticism of their violent, inhumane, and despotic regimes. Perhaps these acts wouldn't be so diabolical if the Palestinian Arabs had legitimate claims and grievances, but they don't. The Palestinian Arabs have no right to occupy any land that is bounded by the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Their actions, like the actions of the insane Iraqis, belie any notion of Islamic honor. They shoot their mouths off, taunt and provoke, challenge their adversaries to meet them on the battlefield, and then resort to dressing like women, deceptively flying white flags, and hiding behind children.
I've seen enough over time to know that the actions of the Iraqis will not change the opinions of dyed-in-the-wool American and Jew-haters. But I believe that the treachery can and should be an illuminating lesson for those that hadn't looked closely at what is really going on between Israel and the Arabs. Maybe, just maybe, this will be more proof of the prophetic irony of Abba Eban’s famous old quote, "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."
Myths and Facts, Mitchell Bard, Ph.D., 2001
Israel and the Arabs, Ahron Bregman and Jihan El-Tahri, 1998
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Middle East Conflict, Mitchell Bard, Ph.D., 1999