Putting things in proportion
September 23rd, 2006.
I have begun translating a rather lengthy article that appeared in the Rosh Hashanna edition of Maariv. I’m bringing the first instalment of the translation now. I hope to continue tomorrow, so eventually you will be able to read the whole thing. Please forgive the quality of the translation. First of all, the original Hebrew was not as well edited as one would expect (to put it politely). And secondly, it’s so long that I’m finding the task daunting. I believe you will agree that the content is important enough that I (with Bish’s much appreciated help) should make the effort.
And the world is silent
By Ben Dror Yemini
Fact no. 1: Since the establishment of the State of Israel a merciless genocide is being perpetrated against Muslims and/or Arabs. Fact no. 2: The conflict in the Middle East, between Israel and the Arabs as a whole and against the Palestinians in particular, is regarded as the central conflict in the world today. Fact no. 3: According to polls carried out in the European Union, Israel holds first place as “Danger to world peace”. In Holland, for instance, 74% of the population holds this view. Not Iran. Not North Korea. Israel.
Connecting between these findings creates one of the biggest deceptions of modern times: Israel is regarded as the country responsible for every calamity, misfortune and hardship. It is a danger to world peace, not just to the Arab or Muslim world.
How the deception works
The finger is pointed cleverly. It’s difficult to blame Israel for the genocide in Sudan or for the civil war in Algeria. How is it done? Dozens of publications, articles, books, periodicals and websites are dedicated to one purpose only: Turning Israel into a state that ceaselessly perpetrates war crimes. In Jakarta and in Khartoum they burn the Israeli flag, and in London, in Oslo and in Zurich hate articles are published, supporting the destruction of Israel.
Any request in Internet search engines for the words “genocide” against “Muslims”, “Arabs” or “Palestinians”, in the context of “Zionists” or “Israel” – will give us endless results. Even after we’ve filtered out the trash, we are left with millions of publications written in deadly seriousness.
This abundance brings results. It works like brainwashing. It is the accepted position, and not just a fringe opinion. Only five years ago we were witness to a international anti-Israeli show in the Durban Convention. Only two years ago we were shocked when a member of our Academia blamed Israel of ‘symbolic genocide’ against the Palestinian people. Much ado about nothing. There are thousands of publications blaming Israel of genocide, and not ‘symbolic’.
Under an academic and/or journalistic umbrella, today’s Israel is compared to the damned Germany of yesteryear. In conclusion, there are those who call to terminate the ‘Zionist project’. And in more simple words: because Israel is a country that perpetrates so many war crimes and engages in ethnic cleansing and genocide – it has no right to exist. This, for instance, is the essence of an article by the Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder (writer of “Sophie’s world”), who wrote, among other things: “We call killers of children by their name”). The conclusion is that Israel has no right to exist.
The tragedy is that in Arab and Muslim countries a massacre is happening. A genocide protected by the silence of the world. A genocide protected by a deception that is perhaps unparalleled in the history of mankind. A genocide that has no connection to Israel, to Zionism or to Jews. A genocide of mainly Arabs and Muslims, by Arabs and Muslims.
This is not a matter of opinion or viewpoint. This is the result of factual examination, as precise as possible, of the numbers of victims of various wars and conflicts that have taken place since the establishment of the State of Israel up till this time, in which the massacre continues. It is, indeed, death on a massive scale. A massacre. It is the wiping out of villages and cities and whole populations. And the world is silent. The Muslims are indeed abandoned. They are murdered and the world is silent. And if it bothers to open its mouth, it doesn’t complain about the murderers. It doesn’t complain about the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity. It complains about Israel.
This great deception, that covers up the real facts, endures and even grows because of one reason only: The Media and Academia in the West participate in it. In endless publications, books, periodicals and websites Israel is portrayed as a state that perpetrates “war crimes”, “ethnic cleansing”, and “systematic murder”. Sometimes it is because this is fashionable, sometimes it is mistakenly, sometimes it is the result of hypocrisy and double standards. Sometimes it is new and old anti-Semitism, from the left and from the right, overt and covert. Most of the classic blood libels were refuted not long after they came into being. The blood libel of modern times, against the state of Israel, continues to grow. Many Israelis and Jews are accessories to the nurturing of the libel.
The Arab-Israeli conflict
The Zionist settling of this country, which began at the end of the 19th century, did indeed create a conflict between Jews and Arabs. The amount of those killed in various clashes up till the establishment of the State of Israel was no more than a few thousands, of both Jews and Arabs. Most of the Arabs killed in those years were killed in armed struggles of Arabs amongst themselves; such as, for example, in the days of the Great Arab Uprising of 1936 – 1939. That was a sign of things to come. Many others were killed as a result of the harsh hand wielded by the British. Israel never did anything comparable.
Israel’s War of Independence, known also as the War of 48’, left between 5,000 to 15,000 dead from among the Palestinians and citizens of Arab countries. In this war, as in any war, there were indeed atrocities. The attackers declared their goal, and if they had won, a mass extermination of Jews would have taken place. On Israel’s side there were also barbarous acts, but they were on the fringe of the fringe. Less, far less, than in any other war in modern times. Far less than what is being perpetrated every day in these very times, by Muslims, mainly against Muslims, in Sudan and in Iraq.
The next event of importance was the Sinai War of 1956. About 1,650 Egyptians were killed, about 1,000 at the hands of the Israelis and about 650 by the French and British forces.
Next came the Six Day War (1967- IJ). The highest estimates talk of 21,000 Arabs killed on all three fronts – Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
The Yom Kippur War (1973 – IJ) resulted in 8,500 Arab dead, this time on only two fronts – Egypt and Syria.
Then there were ‘smaller’ wars: The first Lebanon war, which was initially mainly against the PLO and not against Lebanon. This was a war in a war. These were the years of the bloody civil war in Lebanon, a war we will discuss further later on. And thus also in the second Lebanon war, in which about a thousand Lebanese were killed.
Thousands of Palestinians were killed during the Israeli occupation of the territories, that began at the end of the Six Day War. Most were killed during the two Intifadas, the one that commenced in 1987 and resulted in 1,800 Palestinian deaths, and the one that commenced in 2000 with a Palestinan death toll of 3,700. In between, there were more military actions that caused further Arab fatalities. If we exaggerate, we can say that these were a few hundred more who were killed. Hundreds. Not hundreds of thousands. Not millions.
The total count reaches about 60,000 Arabs killed in the framework of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Among them only several thousand Palestinians, although it is because of them, and only them, that Israel is the target of the world’s anger. Every Arab and Muslim death is regrettable. And it is okay to criticize Israel. But the obsessive and demonic criticism emphasizes a far more amazing fact: The silence of the world, or at least relative silence, in the face of the systematic extermination of millions of others by Muslim and Arab regimes.
The blood price of the Muslims
From here on we must ask: How many Arabs and Muslims have been killed in those same years in other countries, for instance, in Russia or in France, and how many Arabs, Muslims and others, were killed in those same years by Arabs and Muslims. The information gathered here is based on various research institutes, academic bodies, international organizations (such as Amnesty and other bodies that follow human rights), the UN, and governmental agents.
In many cases the different organizations present different and contradictory numbers. The differences sometimes reach hundreds of thousands, and sometimes even millions. We will probably never know the precise number. But even the lowest agreed numbers, that are the basis for the tables given here, present a staggering and horrific picture. In addition, time is too short to survey bloody conflicts that are not even covered in these tables, although these conflicts took a higher human toll than the blood price of the whole Arab-Israeli conflict.
Algeria: A few years after the establishment of the State of Israel, there began another war of independence. This time it was Algeria against France, between the years 1954-1962. The number of victims on the Muslim side is a subject for controversy. According to official sources in Algeria it is over a million. There are research institutes in the west that tend to accept that number. French sources have tried in the past to claim that it is only a quarter of a million Muslims, with an additional 100,000 Muslim collaborators with the French. But these estimates are regarded as tendentious and low. Today there is no question that the French killed nearly 600,000 Muslims. And these are the French, who do not stop preaching to Israel, the Israel that in the whole history of its conflict with the Arabs failed to reach even one tenth of that number, and even then, according to the more severe assessments.
The massacre in Algeria continues. In the 1991 elections the Islamic Salvation Front was voted in. The results of the elections were cancelled by the army. Since then a civil war has been raging, between the central government, supported by the army, and Islamic movements. According to various estimates, there have been about 100,000 victims so far. Most of them have been innocent civilians. In most cases it has been horrific massacres of whole villages, women, children and old people. A massacre in the name of Islam.
Algeria summary: 500,000 to 1 million in the war of independence; 100,000 in the civil war in the 90’s.
Sudan:A country torn by campaigns of destruction, almost all of them between the Arab-Muslim north, that is control of the country, and the south, populated by blacks. Two civil wars have taken place in this country, and a massacre, under government patronage, has been taking place in recent years in the district of Darfur. The first civil war spanned the years of 1955-1972. Moderate estimates talk of 500,000 victims. In 1983 the second civil war began. But it wasn’t a civil war but a systematic massacre suitably defined as ‘genocide’. The goals were Islamization, Arabization and mass deportation, that occasionally becomes slaughter, also for the need to gain control over giant oil fields. We are talking about an estimated 1.9 million victims.
The division between Muslim and other victims is unclear. The large district of Noba, populated by many black Muslims, was served its portion of horrors. The Muslims, should they be black, are not granted any favors. Since the rise to power of radical Islam, under the spiritual guidance of Dr. Hassan Thorabi, the situation has worsened. This is probably the worst series of crimes against humanity since WWII. We’re talking about ethnic cleansing, deportations, mass murder, slave trade, forcible enforcement of the laws of Islam, taking children from their parents and more. Millions have become refugees. As far as is known, there are not millions of publications about the Sudanese ‘Right of Return’ and there are no petitions by intellectuals negating Sudan’s right to exist.
Recent years have been all about Darfur. Again Muslims (Arabs) are murdering (black) Muslims and heathens, and the numbers are unclear. Moderate estimates are talking about 200,000 victims, higher estimates say 600,000. No one knows for sure. And the slaughter continues.
Throughout the atrocities of Sudan, the slaughter has been perpetrated mainly by the Arab Muslim regime, and the great majority of victims, if not all, are black, of all religions, including Muslims.
Sudan summary: 2.6 million to 3 million.
Afghanistan: This is a web of nonstop mass killing – domestic and external. The Soviet invasion, which began on 24th December 1979 and ended on 2nd February 1989, left about a million dead. Other estimates talk of 1.5 million dead civilians and an additional 90,000 soldiers.
After the withdrawal of the Soviet Forces, Afghanistan went through a series of civil wars and struggles between the Soviet supporters, the Mojahidin and the Taliban. Each group carried out a doctrine of mass extermination of its opponents. The sum of the fatalities in civil war, up to the invasion of the coalition forces under American leadership in 2001, is about one million.
There are those who complain, and rightly so, about the carnage that took place as a result of the coalition offensive to overthrow the Taliban regime and as part of the armed struggle against al Qaida. Well, the invasion into Afghanistan caused a relatively limited number of deaths, less than 10,000. Had it not taken place, we would have seen a continuation of the self-inflicted genocide, with an average of 100,000 fatalities a year.
Afghanistan Summary: One million to one and a half million, as a result of the Soviet invasion; about one million in the civil war.
Somalia: Since 1977 this Muslim state in East Africa has been immersed in an unending civil war. The number of victims is estimated at about 550,000. It is Muslims killing mainly Muslims. UN attempts to intervene, in the interest of peace keeping, ended in the failure, as did later attempts by American Forces.
Most of the victims died not in the battle fields, but as a result of deliberate starvation and slaughter of civilians, in bombardments aimed at the civilian population (massive bombardments of opponent districts, such as the bombardment of Somaliland, that caused the deaths of 50,000 ).
Somalia Summary: 400,000 to 550,000 victims in the civil war.
Bangladesh: This country aspired to gain independence from Pakistan. Pakistan reacted with a military invasion that caused mass destruction. It was not a war, it was a massacre. One to two million people were systematically liquidated in 1971. Some researchers define the events of that year in Bangladesh as one of the three greatest genocides in (history - IJ) (after the Holocaust and the Ruanda genocide).
An inquiry committee appointed by the government of Bangladesh counted 1.247 million fatalities as a result of systematic murder of civilians by Pakistan’s army forces. There are also numerous reports of ‘Death squads’, in which “Muslim soldiers were sent to execute mass killings of Muslim farmers”.
The Pakistani army ceased only after the intervention of India, which suffered from waves of refugees - millions – arriving from Bangladesh. At least 150 thousand more were murdered in acts of retaliation after the retreat of the Pakistan army.
Bangladesh summary: 1.4 million to 2 million.
Indonesia: The biggest Muslim state in the world competes with Bangladesh for the dubious title of ‘The biggest massacre since the Holocaust’. The massacre commenced with a communist uprising in 1965. There are different assessments (of the number of fatalities - IJ) in this case as well. The accepted estimate talks of as many as 400 thousand Indonesians killed in the years 1965-1966, although stricter estimates claim the number is higher.
The massacre was perpetrated by the army, led by Hag’i Mohammed Soharto, who seized power in the country for the next 32 years. An investigator of those years points out that the person who was in charge of suppressing the rebellion, General Srv Adei, admitted: “We killed 2 million not 1 million, and we did good work”. For this argument, we will stick to the lower, more accepted estimates.
In 1975, after the end of the Portuguese rule, East Timor announced its independence. Within a short time it was invaded by Indonesia, who ruled the area until 1999. During these years about 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed, along with the complete destruction of infrastructure.
Indonesia summary: 400,000 killed, with an additional 100,000 to 200,000 in East Timor.
Iraq: Most of the destruction of the last two decades was the doing of Saddam Hussein. This is another case of a regime that caused the deaths of millions. Nonstop death. One of the highpoints was during the Iran-Iraq war, in the conflict over the Shat El Arab River, the river that is created by the convergence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. This was a conflict that led to nothing but large scale destruction and mass killing. Estimates are between 450,000 and 650,000 Iraqis, and between 450,000 and 970,000 Iranians. Jews, Israelis, and Zionists were not around, as far as is known.
Waves of purges, some politically motivated (opposition), some ethnic ( the Kurdish minority) and some religiously motivated (the ruling Suni minority against the Shiite majority), yielded an astounding number of victims. Estimates vary from one million, according to local sources, to a quarter million, according to Human Rights Watch. Other international organizations quote an estimate of about half a million.
In the years 1991 - 1992 there was a Shiite uprising in Iraq. There are contradictory estimates about the number of victims. The numbers vary from 40,000 to 200,000. In addition to the Iraqis that were slaughtered one must add the Kurds. During Saddam Hussein’s reign, between 200,000 to 300,000 of them were killed in a genocide that continued all through the 1980’s and the 1990’s.
Over half a million more Iraqis died from diseases because of the shortage of medicine, which was the result of sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War. Today it is clear that this was a continuation of the genocide perpetrated by Saddam on his own people. He could have purchased medicine, he had enough money to buy food and to build hospitals for all the children of Iraq, but Saddam preferred to build palaces and to distribute franchises to many in the west and in Arab states. This issue is being exposed in the corruption of the UN’s ‘Oil for Food’ project.
The Iraqis continue to suffer. The civil war that is raging there now - even if some would rather not give that name to the mutual massacre of Sunis and Shiites – is costing tens of thousands of lives. It is estimated that about 100,000 people have been killed since the coalition forces took control in Iraq.
Iraq Summary: 1.54 million to 2 million victims.
Iran Summary: 450,000 to 970,000 victims.
Lebanon: The Lebanese civil war took place from 1975 to 1990. Israel was involved in certain stages, by way of the first Lebanon War in 1982. There is no disagreement that a considerable part of the victims were killed in the first two years.
The more assessments talk of over 130,000 killed. Most of them were Lebanese killed by other Lebanese, on religious, ethnic grounds and in connection with the Syrian involvement. Syria transferred its support between various parties in the conflict. The highest estimates claim that Israeli activities were the cause of around 18,000 people, the great majority of which were fighters.
Lebanon summary: 130,000.
Yemen: In the civil war that took place in Yemen from 1962 to 1970, with Egyptian and Saudi involvement, 100,000 to 150,000 Yemenites were killed, and more than a thousand Egyptians and a thousand Saudis.
Egypt committed war crimes by incorporating the use of chemical warfare. Riots in Yemen from 1984 to 1986 caused the deaths of thousands more.
Yemen summary: 100,000 to 150,000 fatalities.
Chechnya: Russia turned down Chechen Republic demands for independence, and this led to the first Chechen war of 1994 to 1996. The war cost the lives of 50,000 to 200,000 Chechens.
Russia put a great deal into this conflict, but failed miserably. This did not help Chechens, because although they had gained autonomy there republic was in ruins.
The second Chechen War began in 1999 and officially ended in 2001, but it has not really ended, and number of the victims is estimated at 30,000 to 100,000.
Chechnya summary: 80,000 to 300,000 fatalities.
From Jordan to Zanzibar: In addition to the wars and the massacres, there have also been smaller confrontations, that have cost the lives of thousands and tens of thousands, of Muslims and Arabs (killed) by Muslims and Arabs. These confrontations are not even taken into account in the tables presented on these pages, because the numbers are small, relatively speaking, even though the numbers of those killed are far higher than the numbers of the victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Here are some of them:
Jordan: 1970 to 1971 the Black September riots took place In the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. King Hussein was fed up of the Palestians use of the country and their threatened to take control of it. The confrontation, mainly a massacre in the refugee camps, took thousands of lives. According to estimates provided by the Palestinians themselves - 10,000 to 25,000 fatalities. According to other sources - a few thousand.
Chad: Half of the population of Chad are Muslims: In various civil wars 30,000 civilians have been killed.
Kosovo: In the mainly Muslim area of Yugoslavia about 10,000 were killed in the war there from 1998 to 2000.
Tajikistan: Civil war from 1992 to 1996 left about 50,000 dead.
Syria: Hafez Assad’s systematic persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood ended in the 1982 massacre in the city of Hama, costing the lives of about 20,000 people.
Iran: Thousands were killed in the beginning of the Humeini Revolution. The precise number is unknown, but is somewhere between thousands and tens of thousands. The Kurds also suffered at the hands of Iran, and about 10,000 of them were murdered there.
Turkey: About 20,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey as part of the conflict there.
Zanzibar: In the earlyu 1960’s the island was granted independence, but only for a short time. At first, the Arabs were in power, but a black group, made up mainly of Muslims, slaughtered the Arab group, also Muslim, in 1964. The estimates are that 5,000 to 17,000 were killed.
Even this is not the end of the list. There were more conflicts with unknown numbers of victims in former USSR republics with Muslim majority populations (like the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagurno Karabach), and a disputable number of Muslims that were killed in mixed population countries in Africa, such as Nigeria, Mauritania or Uganda (in the years of Idi Amins reign in Uganda, in the decade that began in 1971, about 300,000 Ugandans were killed. Amin defined himself as Muslim, but in contrast to Sudan, it is hard to say that the background for the slaughter was Muslim, and it certainly wasn’t Arab.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
To all the above, one can add this data: The great majority of Arabs killed in the framework of the Israeli-Arab Conflict were killed as a result of wars instigated by the Arabs and as a result of their refusal to recognize the UN decision regarding the establishment of the State of Israel, or their refusal to recognize the Jews’ right of self-definition.
The number of Israelis killed by Arab aggression has been relatively much higher than the numbers of Arabs killed. In the War of the Independence, for example, more than 6,000 Israelis were killed out of a population that was then made up of 600,000. This means: One percent of the population. In comparison with this, Arab fatalities in the war against Israel came from seven countries, the populations of which were already tens of millions. Israel did not dream, did not think and did not want to destroy any Arab state. But the ostensible goal of the attacking armies was “to liquidate the Jewish entity”.
Obviously, in recent years, the Palestinian victims have received most of the attention of the Media and the Academia. In actual fact, these make up just a small percentage of the total sum of all victims. The total sum of Palestinians killed by Israel in the territories that were conquered is several thousand. 1,378 were killed in the first Intifada, and 3,700 since the start of the second Intifada.
This is less, for instance, than the Muslim victims massacred by former Syrian president, Hafez Assad in Hama in 1982. This is less than the Palestinians massacred by King Hussein in 1971. This is less than the number of those killed in one single massacre of Muslim Bosnians by the Serbs in 1991 in Srebrenica, a massacre that left 8,000 dead.
Every person killed is regrettable, but there is no greater libel than to call Israel’s actions ‘genocide’. And even so, the string ‘Israel’ and ‘genocide’ in Google search engine leads to 13,600,000 referrals. Try typing ‘Sudan’ and ‘genocide’ and you’ll get less than 9 million results. These numbers, if you will, are the essence of the great deception.
The occupation is not enlightened, but is not brutal
Another fact: Since WWII, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the national conflict with the lowest number of victims, but with the world’s highest number of publications hostile to Israel in the media and in the Academia.
At least half a million Algerians died during the French occupation. A million Afghanis died during the Soviet occupation. Millions of Muslims and Arabs were killed and slaughtered at the hands of Muslims. But all the world knows about one Mohammed a-Dura (whose death was regrettable, but there is some doubt whether he was killed by Israeli gunfire at all).
It is possible and acceptable to criticize Israel. But the excessive, obsessive, and at times anti-Semitic criticism serves also as a coverup, and in some cases also as an approval, of the genocide of millions of others.
Occupation is not enlightened and can’t be enlightened. But if we try to create a scale of ‘brutal occupation’, Israel will come last. This is a fact. This is not an opinion.
And what would have happened to the Palestinians if, instead of being under Israeli occupation they were under Iraqi occupation? Or Sudanese? Or even French or Soviet? It is highly probable that they would have been victims of genocide, at worst, and of mass killings, purges, and deportations at best.
But luckily for them they are under Israeli occupation. And even if, I repeat, there is no such thing as an enlightened occupation, and even if it is acceptable and possible, and at times necessary, to criticize Israel, there is no occupation and there has never been an occupation with so few fatalities (indeed, there are other injuries that are not manifested in the numbers of fatalities, such as the refugee problem. This will be discussed in a separate chapter).
Television screen ethics
So why is the impression of the world the direct opposite? How come there is no connection between the facts and the numbers and the so very demonic image of Israel in the world?
There are many answers. One of them is that western ethics have become the ethics of television cameras. If a Palestinian terrorist or a Hizballah man tries to shoot a rocket from the midst of a civilian neighborhood, and Israel retaliates with fire - causing the death of two children - there will be endless headlines and articles all over the world that “Israel murders children”. But if entire villages are destroyed in Sudan or whole cities are erased in Syria, there will be no television cameras in the area.
And so, according to television ethics, Jose Saramago and Harold Pinter sign a petition protesting ‘genocide’ and ‘war crimes’ perpetrated by Israel. They have never read the Geneva Convention either. They probably do not know that, aside for very few exceptions, the actions of Israel against military targets hitting civilians is allowed according to the Geneva Convention (protocol 1 paragraph 52.2). And because these people are so submerged in television ethics, they will not sign any petitions in protest of the genocide of Muslims by Muslims. Murder for the sake of it. They are allowed to do it.
Television ethics is a tragedy for the Arabs and the Muslims themselves. Israel pays dearly because of it, but the Arabs and the Muslims are its real victims. And as long as this blue screen morality continues, the Arabs and the Muslims will continue to pay the price.
There are those that claim that Arab and Muslim states are immune from criticism, because they are not democratic, but Israel is more worthy of criticism because it has democratic pretences. Claims like this are Orientalism at its worst. The covert assumption is that the Arabs and the Muslims are the retarded child of the world. They are allowed. It is not only Orientalism. It is racism.
The Arabs and the Muslims are not children and they are not retarded. Many Arabs and Muslims know this and write about it. They know that only an end to the self-deception and a taking of responsibility will lead to change. They know that as long as the west treats them as unequal and irresponsible it is lending a hand not only to a racist attitude, but also, and mainly, to a continuation of their mass murder.
The genocide that Israel is not committing, that is completely libelous, hides the real genocide, the silenced genocide that Arabs and Muslims are committing mainly against themselves. The libel has to stop so as to look at reality. It is in the interest of the Arabs and the Muslims. Israel pays in image. They pay in blood. If there is any morality left in the world, this should be in the interest of whoever has a remaining drop of it in him. And should it happen, it will be small news for Israel, and great news, far greater news, for Arabs and Muslims.