People love numbers. And they especially love numbers that would appear to support their preconceived notions. That’s why Israel’s detractors are so feverishly pointing out that while only three Jewish boys were abducted last week, Israel has responded by rounding up over 350 Palestinians.
When put like that, it certainly appears as though Israel is acting in an unfairly disproportionate, if not criminal, manner. But, of course, to put things like that ignores several important truths.
Israeli legal experts who spoke to The Times of Israel argued that Israel’s arrests in its search for Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel simply cannot be labeled as collective punishment, and certainly not as a war crime.
Collective punishment, they pointed out, is arbitrary punitive action against a group of people. What Israel is doing is hardly arbitrary. It is arresting very specific people with the express intent of either pressuring Hamas or discovering new information that could lead to the rescue of the abducted teens.
This is Investigation 101, the very same kind of tactics that would, on a smaller scale, be used by police against an organized crime syndicate.
There is also anger over the fact that four Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli operation. Never mind that they were all engaged in violence against Israeli soldiers at the times of their deaths.
Even the Palestinian Authority demonstrated that Israel’s response to these violent outbursts while Israel is trying to find kidnapped children is not unreasonable.
When Palestinian mobs turned on the PA itself for purportedly aiding the Israeli search, Palestinian police also responded with live fire. Interestingly, the violence the Palestinian police were responding to is typically referred to as “peaceful demonstration” when directed toward Israelis.
Watch the Palestinian-on-Palestinian clashes: