Israel: August 9, 2002

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: 10.0pt"> The Palestinians are losing on the ground and in the media. The Israeli operations in Gaza have demoralized the Palestinians there, who thought they could stop or stall any Israeli ground operations. But the Israelis carefully scouted Gaza and avoided heavily defended areas (the Palestinians could not fortify the entire, densely populated, area) for using army troops and used missiles against other targets. 

The media defeats are more serious. While Western and American media are reluctant to pick up stories from the Israeli press, some of these are getting through, with unpleasant results for the Palestinians. The most damaging story is about how there have not been any massacres of Palestinian civilians by Israeli troops. This first became a major story in the Western media when a UN report repeated what had long been known by Israelis and Palestinians; that there were no massacres. The Israeli tactics had, all along, emphasized minimizing civilian casualties. Another unpleasant fact for Western media was that, although the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli dead is 2.6:1, the number of women and children killed is about equal. In fact, the Palestinians have killed 184 Israeli women civilians, while only 52 Palestinian women civilians (not including suicide bombers) have died. It's finally dawning on the Western media that the vast majority of Palestinian dead are young men armed with everything from rocks to rocket launchers and AK-47s. The 70 Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians have provided more photo ops that favor the Israeli cause. The Palestinians are not only losing the moral high ground, but are running out of recruits and support staff  for suicide bombing operations. Israeli media made sure the world knew that Palestinian leaders were not allowing their kids to be suicide bombers, and policies like destroying the homes of suicide bomber families cut back on recruiting as well. The draconian security measures has led to dozens of suicide attacks being stopped, with the suicide bomber arrested in the process. Media interviews with the failed suicide bombers has made it more difficult to recruit new ones. 

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas, deprived of access to outside supplies, are unable to give out goodies to keep their core supporters loyal. The Israeli blockade over the last 22 months has reduced most Palestinians to poverty and the Palestinian population is getting tired of that. The opinion polls show this. As a result, the Palestinian leaders are eager to make a deal, and are willing to discuss terms they rejected over the last two years. Popular discontent among Palestinians against their own leaders is causing the current "Intifada" to come apart. Using lies and fantasies as weapons can work in the short term, but backfire eventually.

 



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