Palestinian Militants Need Uniforms

I constantly hear calls for war crimes prosecution towards Israel in their treatment of Palestinians, particularly the number of civilian deaths (which I agree is very high).

This is a very difficult thread to start, considering the insane number of posts already started, and the very polarized nature of the argument.

I believe that Israel has a right to exist, and that it has the right to defend itself with what ever means it feels necessary–within the Geneva Convention, and other such UN-type resolutions regarding war crimes. {Let’s not debate this}

I also believe that if Palestinians feel they are occupied, they have every right to fight back against their perceived oppressors. But presumably this should follow the same rules that Israel is forced to play by. {Let’s not debate this either}

The point of this thread, is not to argue who is right, or who kills more civilians. My point is that I refuse to agree with any action by any Palestinian militant, until he/she puts on a uniform. I realize this is a traditionally Western view of warfare and is not shared in the rest of the world.

It seems to me that if the Palestinians were serious about feeling occupied, and truly concerned about the death of Palestinian civilian, they would do something to differentiate their militants from their civilians.

This distinction can take any form you/they want; it could even represent whatever group they belong to and be as simple as a hat, an armband, even a pin on their lapel. But if Palestinian militants (freedom fighters) will not differentiate, I place 95% of the blame on them, when a Palestinian civilian is killed by the IDF.

This could be a quick debate if my reasoning is wrong. I am willing to concede that a uniform is a Western idea that may not apply to the Middle East. But in my crazy, biased, Western mind, the uniform separates freedom fighters from common criminals.

The problem, it seems to me, with your proposal is that the Palestinans don’t see any hope in enagaging in a traditional military confrontation with Israel, and that is precisely why they use “assymetric warfare” tactics. Their argument is that since they are fighting aginst an opponent who has such an unsurmountable military advantage the only option for resistance they have lies necessarily outside of the bounds of the traditional rules for military engagement.
You can argue that violence can only be morally justified within the context of traditional warfare (i.e. uniformed armies), and absent the conditions for waging resistance within that context you must abandon violence as a means to your political ends. But that is different than saying that terrorists should “fight fair”. The whole point of terrorism is that you use it when you don’t want to or can’t “fight fair”.

You made a good point in reference to traditional military confrontation. But history is full of cases where a small army can use smarter tactics and more heart to defeat a larger army, especially when fighting on their home turf. Think of the way Americans fought against the British for their independence. At that time, the British army was the most menacing force on the planet; likewise, at the time the US rebels were seen as terrorists. I disagree with the notion that hiding amongst civilians is ever justified, no matter how large an army you face, this is one reason why I sympathize with the IDF and continue to label the Palestinians as terrorists.

But in order to make the leap from terrorist to freedom-fighter, the Palestinian militants need to take on a certain amount of responsibility; and I feel that separating themselves from civilians is the first step. There are a number of ways Palestinians can win this conflict no matter how many nukes Israel possesses (assume winning does not imply the utter destruction of Israel).

Actually, I don’t really care about fighting fair. Its one thing to disregard the lives of foreign civilians (the way US troops treated Vietnamese), but its another to disregard the lives of your own civilians, and I’d like to adopt this as a new definition of terrorism. I’d rather the Palestinian militants didn’t bomb Israel civilians, but that’s there misguided prerogative (and I am not in any way encouraging or supporting those actions). But they need to start considering the lives and safety of their own citizens. It’s blatantly irresponsible to encage in a war (or Jihad or Intifada) without providing a defence for your own people that you seak to free.