Why, as a Liberal, I support Israel

I support freedom. I support justice. I support democracy. Israel isn't perfect. Nobody is arguing this. In fact, if you were to go to Israel right now, you would realize how contentious Israeli politics are. But that is the beauty of the country. There is pluralism and freedom. No country in the Middle East has a better record on Women's Rights, Gay Rights and Religious rights.
The world watched this year as revolution took to the Middle East. Long standing regimes of Egypt, Libya and Syria were threatened unlike anytime in history. All the while, we all wondered would there be democracy in the Middle East.
Everybody in Israel however, knew that Democracy had been there for over half a century.
But what about the Palestinians?
I must admit, that is a legitimate question. The people in Gaza have suffered indeed. They are shot at pushed from place to place  and aren't given the chance to live a productive life as the Israelis are. I have no desire in me to see the plight of people like this young boy who are shot at and live their life in fear and degaradation. However, there is something that must be said. The leaders of the Arabs in Gaza and West Bank are as responsible as anybody for their situation and are as responsible for the deaths of this young boy to the left.
If you're not familiar with this picture, it is of Mohammed Doura who was shot dead within seconds of this picture being taken. To this day there is controversy over who fired the fatal shots. Regardless of who fire the actual shots, blame should be placed on the Palestinian police and militants, who have continuously used attacks on Israeli civilians, as well as used their own people as human shields. They have blurred the line between civilian and combatant unlike anytime in modern history. This is not to say that Palestinian children and civilians are legitimate targets, just that when your dress your child like this young boy to the right, your complaints are less valid. Not only is it a dark lesson to teach your youth, but it does disservice to your credibility when you parade the bullet ridden bodies of children through the streets. Not to mention, that during the second Intifada 609 Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians. And during the current uprisings in Syria over 1,700 lives were lost since March (three months from the writing of this post). Another thought: The high death count of Arab civilians is often used as a justification for suicide Bomibings and missile attacks. What people often ignore is civilian deaths at the hands of Israeli Defense forces are typically accidental, collateral deaths, while deaths of Israeli citizens are almost always intentional. This matters.
Doesn't Matter. Israel is still brutal in their repression, right?
Yes and no. (mostly no)Israel is often charged with being heavy handed with their responses to Arab violence. I've realized however that Israel uses considerable more restraint in their reactions than Palestinians do.
The clearest way to demostrate the contrast between Palestinian restraint and Israeli benevolence is in its treatment of prisoners. Israel has had a history of showing lenience and clemencey towards the most scurilous of murderers, while the Palestinians have been brutal and abusive.
I present as evidence two cases.
Samir Kuntar
The first is the case of Samir Kuntar. That's him on the left meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2008. Who is Samir Kuntar? Well, in 1979 he killed an Israeli Police officer, Then he went into an Israeli home and shot a man to death in his house infront of his children; then he took one of those children out side and smashed her head on a rock. Oh, and if you weren't horrified enough, the mother of the children was trying to hide with her two-year-old daughter trying to keep her quiet lest Kuntar hear them an kill them.  In a horrifying twist, the mother accidentally smothered the child to death. This man, Kuntar, was released in exchange  for the bodies of two dead Israeli soldiers, kidnapped during a cross-border raid by Hezbollah in 2006.  Hezbollah has still yet to release the two soldiers' comrade.
If Israel was a s brutal as many in the world community allege them to be, Kuntar would have been executed many years ago. In fact in the history of Israel, only one person has ever been executed. That man was Adolf Eichmann, a high ranking member of Hitler's Third Reich (right). Contrast that with an incident in Ramallah in 2000 when two Israeli non-combatants, were captured, arrested and lynched without trial.
Gilad Shalit
The story of Gilad Shalit is well documented and well known. He has been in captivity for nearly five years. He has had virtually no contact with his family or any world authorities. He has been held in secret locations without being charged.
The contrasting levels of civility of treatment between the are one of the many reasons I support Israel; not just for the welfare of Israelis, but for the sake of Palestinians as well.
If the Arabs put down their weapons, there would be peace. If the Jews put down their weapons, there would be no Israel.
This statement essential says what I have felt for a long time. Israel has shown for a long time, a willingness to live side-by-side with Arabs. there are Arabs living in almost every part of Israel. They work, live and play amongst Israelis. Jews on the other hand cannot wander into Arab neighborhoods, for fear of robber, attack and murder.