Israel: March 7, 2005

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With the 54 month war between Palestinians and Israel over, the death toll is 3,500 Palestinians and 1,025 Israelis dead. One reason for the disproportionate death toll was the Palestinian policy of urging children to get involved. These activities ranged from throwing rocks at Israeli troops on patrol, or manning checkpoints, to carrying weapons, explosives or other military supplies. Older kids used weapons, or were even suicide bombers. As a result, some 15 percent of the Palestinian dead were kids age 16 and under, versus ten percent for the Israelis. The Palestinians also used Palestinian civilians for cover, and viewed Palestinian women and children caught in the cross fire as excellent propaganda material to use against the Israelis. The majority of Palestinians came to resent this cynical attitude towards dead civilians, and as a result the terrorists have lost a lot of popular support. However, most Palestinians would still like to see Israel destroyed.

Syria says it will remove most of its 14,000 troops from Lebanon, but insists on keeping a few thousand there to watch the invasion routes from Israel, through Lebanon, into Syria. But this route is not the only one for Israel to use going into Syria, and isn't the best one either. The Syrian armed forces are in no shape to keep the Israelis out, no matter where Syrian troops are stationed. The main reason the Syrians want to keep some troops in Lebanon is to preserve the Lebanese factions that are pro-Syrian, and the Syrians with business interests (some legal, some not) in the country. Many powerful people in the Syrian government derive income from these Lebanese "investments", and stand to lose a lot of money if the Lebanese completely control Lebanon. Many of the Syrian business deals were profitable because Syrian troops guaranteed it. There is much resentment in Lebanon at years of Syrian wheeling and dealing. There's an element of payback in the Lebanese enthusiasm for getting the Syrians out. 

 

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