Headlines around the world called Israel’s action to prevent a massive breach of the fence through which thousands of hostile Palestinians would pour into Israel intent on killing Israelis in southern Israel a “slaughter” and a “massacre” of innocent and unarmed Palestinian civilians. Many Palestinians were indeed unarmed, paid and forced by Hamas to charge the fence. However, Hamas was the primary perpetrator of the violence. Had Israel “slaughtered” or “massacred” Palestinians, far more would have been killed on Monday, the day the American Embassy opened, than the 60 who died. Hamas itself said that nearly 50 of those were Hamas fighters.
Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorph, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs who conducts research into the psychological aspects of the Israel-Arab dynamic, published a piece this week worth reading – “Psychological Asymmetry: Understanding the Gaza ‘Return Demonstrations.” see http://jcpa.org/article/psychological-asymmetry-understanding-the-gaza-return-demonstrations/
Dr. Mandsorph’s main points include the following:
- Psychological asymmetry is the relative advantage of the weaker party in a conflict to engage in otherwise immoral and illegal behavior against a militarily stronger opponent.
- Hamas and other groups have used their psychological asymmetry in engaging Israel for years, exploiting and placing civilians in danger to meet strategic goals.
- The current Gaza demonstrations are a prime example of psychological asymmetry being used as a strategic weapon by Hamas against Israel.
- The difference in perception among people who support and those who criticize Israel for civilian casualties in Gaza is not due to “facts” or “logic” of the situation.
- Rather, it is a result of an ideology of intersectionality that sees Gaza civilians as victims and as such immune from any responsibility for their fate.
- Consequently, in this ideological framework, the more powerful party, namely Israel, must assume the responsibility for keeping these civilians safe.
- Violating this responsibility, a difficult if not impossible situation, is what Hamas builds upon in presenting their case.
- The dilemma faced by Israel is exacerbated by media reports, which adopt this subjective view of intersectional ideology and present morally symmetric descriptions in a situation where asymmetry abounds.
Dr. Mandsorph’s perceptions of the intersectional argument is worth reading. I recommend that you read the entire piece.