Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chaos In Gaza

As no doubt you are aware by now, Israel decided to celebrate the New Year with 6 days of bombings in the Gaza strip (although to be fair to the Israelis, it's not THEIR new year). The Israeli defense forces only target Hamas targets, but when you're dropping bombs in a densely populated city (imagine an intensive bombing campaign in Philadelphia which has about the same population density as the Gaza strip) a few children die. It's the thought that counts though right?

On a more serious note, Ezra Klein makes a very good point here.
To make it more concrete, in July, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem reported that 123 Israeli minors had been killed by Palestinians since the second intifada began in 2000, compared with 951 Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces. Israel's supporters emphasize that the children were not killed purposefully, but were collateral damage of targeted operations. By contrast, Palestinian suicide bombers have targeted children directly. Israelis define their struggle in contrast to the intentions of Hamas. Palestinians define their struggle in terms of the actions of the Israelis.

It's true, Israel never intends to kill civilians. And it's true that terrorists intentionally target civilians. As Ezra says, "If Hamas lay down all its weapons, Israel would lift its blockade. If Israel lay down all its weapons, Hamas would kill as many Israelis as it could." But in practical terms Israel is far more successful at doing by accident what Hamas has been trying to do on purpose.

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