Thursday, July 20, 2006

Something about the numbers of casualties

You know, we've had so far 16 Israeli civilian casualties in this war. I have heard several people noting that Lebanon has had roughly 10 times more casualities among its civilians. Something occured to me today regarding this.

Israelis have been getting very specific guidelines from our homefront commands. Many Israelis have either shelters or what we call "secure rooms", which are essentially mini-shelters within your homes. Now, these were funded by us, private citizens. The new regulations, in place since the Gulf War state that every new house had to have a secure room. No matter where you live. That room adds around $5000 to your home price, so not cheap, but you will not get a building permit without one. Hence quite a large section of the population her have some sort of shelter from the rockets.

Of those who live in affected areas and do not have a sheltered space, many have opted to get our the missile range. It was even encouraged, and there are many families from the south and center of Israel who are taking in families from the north. It's our own version of refugees, if you like, only we tend not to leave ours out on the streets, but take them into other homes.

Anyway, my point is that the majority of the Israeli population is relatively secure from the effects of the Hezbulla's attacks. Sure, it's annoying staying in shelters for days on end (imagine that, kids and all, not much fun), and a holiday with your relatives, not to mention total strangers, can be a stressful even at times, but at least you live. As a country, we are coping with this threat. Had we not done this, had we not made sure people had shelter, had people not taken care of themselves, the numbers would have been different. I'm not sure we would have reached the same numbers, but it would have been closer, I do believe. Does make me wonder, and I don't mean to upset anyone, I just really am curious as to why the Lebanese don't have similiar mechanisms on their side.

10 comments:

Ryan said...

In all honesty to you (and I hope you and your family remain safe), the reason why there are so many more Lebanese casualties is because so many more bombs are dropping on them--and directly--from airplanes. The Israelis are getting short range missiles that are not very accurate, though I don't think tank shelling is very accurate either.

Dave said...

I agree with ryan.

what israel doing is
wrong..very wrong and it
hurts israel in the end.

steve said...

I do not agree that what Israel is doing is "wrong". Now, I am not saying they are "right" either, simply that there are supremely hard choices out there. Suppose you were Israel. Now, suppose your neighbor hated you intensely. Suppose, once more, your neighbor had in the neighborhood of 10,000 rockets to shoot at you, not caring, as you know from the present and the past, whether these rockets hit civilian or military targets. What would you do?
Israel's politicians, like all politicians who are elected, have a primary role as protector. These men and women are voted in to protect thier populations, thus the military. When your neighbor starts lobbing rockets at you, by the hundreds.............what do you do?

IsrealiMom said...

Yes, I am pretty sure the sheer tonnage of explosives that we are raining on them is relevant. However, it also tells you how much more careful we are to at least try and minimize damage to civilians. Imagine if we were to bomb them as indiscrimately as they are shooting at us... The casualities on their side could easily have been in the tens of thousands, not low hundreds.

Ryan said...

A lot of Lebanese refugees have reported indiscriminate bombing by Israel. Many people have fled the areas that are being bombed and are hiding in mountain or underground. I think that has reduced the civilian toll more than Israel's restraint.
I also wanted to say how cute your brothers are ;)
Stay safe!

ariel said...

Anat Shalom,
I came across your blog through Haaretz.com, that was a very interesting article.
I feel for you and the rest of the general population of the north. My wife is from Hadera (I'm an American) and we have family all over the north.
We live in Philadelphia Pennsylvania now, after moving back to the States 5 days before 9-11.
What the general public fairs to understand is this:
Israel doesn't want to engage in Lebanon, however they are not left with much choice in the matter. The fact that Hizzbolah hides behind women and children is not the fault of the IDF. No one likes the killing-period, however these is something called casualties of war- it is unforseen but these are the chances that we take.
I tried explaining to a neighbor about this. I used the example using a problem here in the United States (not in my neighborhood thank God):
A drug deal sets up shop on your block, of course you don't want him there. So you call the police, you call the media- set up protests and you "take your neighborhood back". This is the same measures that the Lebanese need to do, how practical is it, I don't really know. But with Hizzbolah and to a degree Syria running the country, Israel will never be truly safe up north.
We pray for the citizens of Israel and hope you all stay safe as much as possible.
I look forward to reading more.

Dash Cham to all the residents of Israel and let them know that we are thinking of them here in America.

Ariel

IsraeliTeen said...

ryan, don't forget israel army gave away leaflets informing the lebanonis about Israel's attacking in a couple of hours.
http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=31208340&postID=115334904335182531
Just an example how israel tries to get as less injuries as possible.

israelimom, I hope using this name doesn't disturb you, if it does please tell me and I shall change it.

IsrealiMom said...

Thanks for the comments everyone :)

I may have mentioned this, but I want to say it again. When our forces trace the position of a launcher, and they see vehicles, or possible people very near it, or running away from it, it is extremely difficult for them to tell if these are Hizbulla fighters or innocent civilians. Keep in mind that the Hizbulla "soldiers" don't wear uniform, and make a consicious effort of assimilating into the local population and you see our problem.
I just got back home from picking up my kids from kindergarten. On the radio they interviews a senior Israeli intelligence officer. He explained how over the years, Shi'ite people living in South Lebanon agreed to turn parts of their homes into ammunition depots. They sometimes added rooms to the houses, just for more storage room for rockets. How are we supposed to destroy those now without damaging the civilian population?

Another interesting point, he mentioned the Israeli intelligence officers are in constant touch with the heads of villages in South Lebanon. They talk to them on the phone and let them know when a bombing is coming near their village, so they can tell their people to seek shelter. This is done to minizmize civilian casualties, though it also helps Hizbulla take shelter.

Simon said...

Great blog by the way. What Israel is doing whether right or wrong. Is a major tactical mistake.

In Northern Ireland in 1969. A civil rights movement started modeled on Martin Luther king. Much of the Prodestant population did not like this as they didn't want Catholics to have equal rights. So they started burning Catholic families out of their homes. The British army came in to protect the catholic population from the prodestant population and were hailed as saviours. Then the IRA a very small group at the time started attacking the British army.

The British army responded harshly brought in internment without trial , shot at peaceful protesters on Bloody Sunday (Where U2 got the someg from) and the membership of the IRA increased rapidly. and this lead to almost 30 years of terroist violance.

This is what is going to happen in Lebannon. The moderates are going to be pushed towards Hezbollah. Israel needs to win the hearts and minds.

IsrealiMom said...

Simon, I do agree with you that being too heavy handed will only cause a people to unite more, and, well, hate you more, I guess. It goes both ways. The Hezbulla's attacks, are also effecting the Israeli people in a similar way.

Personally, I think it's a major problem. I still believe in people, still think there's hope for peace minded people on both sides, and I agree that every shell, bomb and rocket, from either side, is pushing us away from that, bringing about more hatred.

That said, there is a sense here in Israel that maybe we shouldn't try to win hearts on the other side. That what needs to be re-established now is our deterrent posture. The idea goes that we need to remind our neighbors of our military capabilites and show proof that we are willing to use them against aggressors. The benefit of re-establishing deterrence (not just against Hezbulla, but in the eyes of others in our region as well), is perceived as outweighing the effects you described in your comment. Is is really the case? Only time will tell, I guess.