Thursday, 20 April 2017

Barry Shaw: When Palestinians are not killing Israelis, they are killing each other.




A frustrated Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman, criticized the United Nations for ignoring the issue of Palestinians killing Palestinians.

In a phone conversation with Nikolay Mladenov, the UN Middle East envoy, he complained that while the UN regularly condemns “justified Israeli actions against terrorism” they have nothing to say about decades of intra-sectarian rivalries in which Palestinian kill and injure each other.

He is right. Liberman complained that the UN has had nothing to say about the killings and executions among Palestinians in Lebanon’s Ein El-Hilweh. Liberman said, The international community’s ignoring dozens of deads and wounded shows again the hypocrisy and double standard that the world employs by ignoring these grave incidents, while on the other hand condemning Israel’s justified actions against terrorism.”

In early April, fighting between Fatah and a Palestinian Sunni Islamist group in Lebanon killed at least four people and wounded dozens more during a week of fighting. 

In the same period in Gaza, Hamas executed three men for allegedly collaborating with Israel.  This is a regular excuse for Hamas to dispose of  members of rival factions. On this the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, has said that these executions “were carried out in breach of Palestinian’s obligations under international law…which laces stringent conditions on the use of the death penalty.” 

Even Mladenov has issued a statement saying that he was “deeply concerned” by the growing tensions in Gaza. 

Add to this growing death toll the street executions carried out by Hamas during their 2014 war on Israel. They killed several Palestinians in public executions as well and many within their facilities.  

Little to no mention has been made to the large number of Palestinians killed by errant Hamas rockets short-falling within the Gaza Strip, rockets fired at Israeli civilian centers which hit homes and schools killing and injuring many Palestinians. It is estimated that at least one hundred and fifty Gazans were killed by Hamas missiles during their bombardment of Israel. 

According to my estimates, since 2104, and despite their intense terror campaign, more Palestinians have been killed by Palestinians than Israelis. When they are not attempting to kill Israelis they are killing themselves. This tendency will certainly continue should the international community bring about a Palestinian state as intra-sectional rivalry for power will explode as we witnessed in Gaza and now see being played out in Lebanon among violent and armed Palestinian gangs.

All this adds up to the sad conclusion that Palestinian Arabs are inflicted by an irresponsible, violent, and murderous culture. This tendency has to be quarterized before any attempt at creating a peaceful Palestine is at all possible. 


Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.  He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’ and the 2017 best-seller ‘1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel.’ and a frequent adviser to SDR.