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Monday, April 15, 2002
Good news, bad news?
Israel is now saying that rather than the "massacres" reported by people who weren't even there, rather than the "hundreds" rumored to have been killed (including by Israel's own army), only 45 Palestinians were killed during the fighting in Jenin. That number has not yet been independently verified, but since the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Israeli Army could not bury the bodies without any oversight, it will be. (Dare you to try to get a court ruling in Iraq, or the Palestinian Authority, which goes against army policy.)

In some ways, the entire discussion is perverse, as if tallying the number of dead changed the moral equation. If Israel is legitimately defending itself (and it is), then 20 dead or 200 is all the same. If Israel's actions were illegitimate, then 2 dead would be too many. But since public relations matters more than logic or morality, the lower the death toll, the better for Israel. More importantly, of course, is whether the dead are civilians or combatants -- though that may never be known to any degree of certainty. Still, the fewer the total dead, the fewer civilian casualties there could be. Either way, all supporters of Israel will breathe a sigh of relief if this lower total turns out to be the case, and those who cavalierly charged "genocide" will be even more thoroughly discredited than they already are.

Still, there was major destruction to the camp's infrastructure; let's see if Saudi Arabia holds a telethon to build new homes in Jenin, or if they're too busy giving money to homicide bombers and Yasser Arafat's corrupt, terrorist Palestinian Authority.

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