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On Gaza Body Counts and the Numbers Game

A double standard between Israel and Gaza, Israel and the world

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A Building in Rishon LeZion Following a Fajr-5 Strike(AFP)

Over at the Atlantic, my former benevolent overseer Jeffrey Goldberg responded smartly to an editorial in the Times that, while generally well-argued, made one logical misstep.

Here was the line:

Israel has a vastly more capable military than Hamas, and its air campaign has resulted in a lopsided casualty count: three Israelis have been killed.

And here was JG’s response:

Whenever I read a statement like this, I wonder if the person writing it believes that there is a large moral difference between attempted murder and successfully completed murder. The casualty count is lopsided, but why? A couple of reasons: Hamas rockets are inaccurate; Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system is working well. But the Israeli body count isn’t low because Hamas is trying to minimize Israeli casualties. Quite the opposite: Hamas’s intention is to kill as many Israelis as possible. Without vigilance, and luck, and without active attempts by the Israeli Air Force to destroy rocket launchers before they can be used, the Israeli body count would be much higher. The U.S. judges the threat from al Qaeda based on the group’s intentions and plans, not merely on the number of Americans it has killed over the past 10 years. This is the correct approach to dealing with such a threat.

The importance of Jeffrey’s point here cannot be overstated. In addition, it’s important to note that Hamas has so enmeshed itself and its weaponry in every nook, warren, and by-place of densely populated Gaza that civilian deaths are nearly impossible to avoid. (Hamas’ crude rockets have, on multiple occasions, fallen short and killed or wounded Gazans.) That doesn’t excuse the death of any innocent people in Gaza–they are a stain on Israel, but they are also a stain on Hamas and other terrorist groups.

But the obsession with numbers also damages a broader ability to look at conflict credibly. Yesterday, which was considered to be the bloodiest day of the conflict between Israel and the various terrorist groups in Gaza, brought the death toll of Palestinians up to about 130 for the week. While the exact figures cannot be known, the split between civilian and combatant deaths, according to earlier estimates by human rights group B’Tselem, hardly an IDF friendly, signaled that the majority of those killed were not civilians.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that the number is evenly split. Given the aforementioned dynamic in Gaza, that means that Israel is (partially) responsible for 65 Palestinian deaths in the course of the last week. Those are unintentional deaths. Some pretty mainstream public intellectuals have failed to grasp this. In the past few days alone, Nick Kristof of the Times has taken leave of writing his after-school-special-style columns to tweet things like this to his 1.3 million followers:

Since 2004, 26 in Israel killed by Gaza rockets (h/t @ArarMaher) . Now in 6 days, 100 Gazans killed

And this:

Hamas shelling is appalling.But remember: since 09, 16 times as many Palestinians killed by Israelis as other way around

Meanwhile, in Syria yesterday, Reuters claims that 100 people died in the violence there, including 64 civilians. Consider that nearly 40,000 people have died in the last 20 months in Syria with the blessing of the Assad regime. Compare that to reports of the 81 *public executions* carried out by Iran in the past 10 days.

Where is the outrage? Where are the calls for proportionality or for tactical reassessment? How is it that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seemingly the only battle where the casualties are tallied like a football game? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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Daniel Moscovitch says:

bravo! couldn’t have said it better myself!

The “proportionality” doctrine is regularly distorted and willfully misrepresented. The doctrine of proportionality does not require some sort of a balance between Israel and Hamas dead, or some equivalence between the deeds of Hamas and those of the Israel government. Rather, in the context of international humanitarian law, there must be proportionality between what the Israel government actually does and what is reasonably required to prevent the firing of Hamas rockets at Israel civilians and soldiers. Specifically, if the Israel government would be reasonably able to prevent the firing of those Hamas rockets via measures that fall well short of using nuclear weapons to obliterate Gaza, then the Israel government is legally obliged to use those less drastic means that are likely to be kinder to the civilians in Gaza.

However, international law certainly does not require the Israel government to sit back and accept the firing of rockets at Israel civilians and soldiers, just because measures to prevent that firing would likely result in some collateral civilian injury and death in Gaza. And here the reasoning is obvious: The Israel government has to choose between (A) some Israel deaths (civilian and military) resulting from Hamas missiles hitting Israel; and (B) some Hamas deaths (civilian and military) from Israel preventive measures. In this context, the Israel government has to opt for (B) to prevent (A). Any other decision would irrationally privilege the lives of Muslim Arabs in Gaza over those of civilians and soldiers in Israel.

And, here the ancient Rabbis would probably have agreed, because morally it is better for the wicked to die than for the innocent to perish. And make no mistake! From a moral perspective, Hamas tends to implicate the adult population of Gaza in its war crimes. The civilian adult population of Gaza is probably directly or indirectly to some degree morally complicit in the willful aggression of Hamas, which the Muslim Arabs of Gaza clearly supported in the 2006 Palestinian elections, and which they probably continue to back even today. For example, pollsters tell us that Gaza’s adult population specifically endorses the notion that rockets be targeted at Israel civilians, which is a flagrant war crime.

By contrast, there is simply no rule of either morality or law saying that a State is precluded from using force in self-defense, which is truly a fundamental principle of modern public international law. The State has a moral and legal right to use force in self-defense, even though that recourse to force is likely to cause some collateral civilian injury and death. And never forget that, with respect to Gaza, the Israel government acts not by way of retaliation or punishment, but for prevention, i.e. to stop the launching of the Hamas missiles and thus to prevent more Israel civilians and soldiers from being killed.

Nor can the Hamas war crime of intentionally targeting Israel civilians be justified by an alleged Palestinian right of “resistance,” i.e. an alleged right to wage a war of national liberation against Israel. Even if we accept the false hypothesis of such a Palestinian right to wage a decolonization war, that right to wage a war of national liberation would not extend to the intentional, indiscriminate targeting of Israel’s civilian population, which would still remain a war crime.

But, turning from hypothesis to history — Israel is not colonial in character. Of all extant Peoples, the Jewish People has the strongest claim to be aboriginal to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, where some Jews have lived in each and every year since the ethnogenesis of the self-identified “Jewish” People in the 6th century BCE. Around a half-century ago, a Muslim Arab population generally chose to self-identify as “the Palestinian People” for the first time. The self-determination rights of this newborn Palestinian People must now be peacefully reconciled with the aboriginal, treaty and self-determination rights of the much older Jewish People. For this reason, the newly self-identified Palestinian People lacks a right to wage a decolonization war against the Jewish People, whose presence in the Jewish aboriginal homeland is both moral and lawful.

    AriShavit says:

    I cringe every time I hear the word “proportionate” anywhere near a discussion of Israel.

    You are absolutely right that the vast majority of people who use the word have absolutely no clue as to its meaning in the ‘just war’ context.

      ginzy1 says:

      בהנחה שאתה “ה”ארי שביט מ”הארץ”, אולי תכתוב ותפרסם מאמר שמסביר את המוסג
      ?בהקשר המלחמה הצודקת “proportionality”

      .Wall Street Journal אני ממליץ לפרסם אותו דוקא ב
      New York Times הם ישמחו לתת פרסום משמעותי במה שנכנס ל

      ה.ג. – אפרת

    JacobArnon says:

    Great post Allen saved me a lot of typing.

    Tozman says:

    Great post, it should be included in the actual article. Thank you for sharing and posting

Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israel are certainly war crimes, but the idea that Jews are the native population of Palestine is nuts. Jews ceased to be a majority in that part of the Middle East nearly 2000 years ago.
Just before the first aliyah, i.e. in 1880, Jews constituted 5% of the population of the land that later became the British Mandate. At the time the UN passed its Partition Plan in 1947, Jews were still only 33% of the population, outnumbered by Arabs by 2:1.

    Hi, 41953! You evidently don’t know anything about aboriginal rights which are minority rights. And, sad to say your problem is all too common. Where your understanding falls down is that it cannot begin to explain what actually happened in the course of the 20th century. By contrast, aboriginal rights help make sense of history. Aboriginal rights let us understand why today there is a country called Israel with six million Jews there. There’s always time to learn something new. Read carefully Prime Minister Netanyahu’s last speech at the UN General Assembly. Aboriginal rights will increasingly become part of the discourse about Israel.

    JacobArnon says:

    Well, 41953′

    Jews are a majority now. Your history btw is very selective.

      Yes, through large scale immigration between 1880 and 1947 of mostly Ashkenazic Jews against the wishes of the native population.

        Cool_Romeo says:

        There was large scale immigration during that time of Arabs as well.

          Yes, but no matter how you slice it, Jews were a very small minority in 1880 and still a 1:2 minority in 1947.
          The Partition lines were drawn in such a way as to maximize the Jewish population within the boundaries of the new state of Israel and even then, had war not broken out leading to the expulsion or exodus of 700,000 or more Arabs, Arabs would have made up over 40% of the population of the Jewish state!

          41953! Your obsession with the “majority rules” principle seems to only apply when Jews are in the minority. However, today Jews are 75% of the population of Israel west of the 1949 armistice line with Jordan, and also the majority of the total population from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This has tremendous implications for any current application of the key principle of the self-determination of Peoples, which normally assigns territory according to the ethnic (national) character of the local population. If a full-and-final peace treaty were to be agreed “today,” would it not be most likely to seek to put within Israel’s borders the land “now” mostly inhabited by Jews, and in an Arab jurisdiction (Palestine?) the areas that are “now” mostly inhabited by Arabs, wishing to live in that new Arab jurisdiction? And by the way, the six million Jews now living in “Eretz Israel” got there fair and square. Self-identified “Jews” (Yehudim) have been living in “Eretz Israel” for at least 26 centuries. Since the 6th-century BCE ethnogenesis of the Jewish People, there has never been a year when Jews were entirely absent from their aboriginal homeland. Across the centuries — some Jews remained, while others continually moved in and out, which is a migratory pattern that endures to this day. But at no time were Jews returning to join other Jews in “Eretz Israel” to be compared with the 17th-century Pilgrim Fathers who arrived aboard “The Mayflower” without ancestors or kin in America. Make no mistake! In “Eretz Israel,” the Jewish People is the native Indian tribe and the Arab People is the invader. To suggest immorality, impropriety or illegitimacy in connection with Jews living in “Eretz Israel” is to dishonour the Jewish People in its aboriginal homeland. Provided that the principle of the legitimacy and permanence of Israel as “the” Jewish state is fully implemented as an integral part of the deal, there is probably no insuperable obstacle to realizing the newborn Palestinian People’s claims to self-determination, territory and independence. However, there have to be some real doubts about the sincere commitment to peace of those like you who seem to be unable to accept the “legitimacy” and permanence of Israel as “the” Jewish State, i.e. as the political expression of the self-determination of the Jewish People in a part of its aboriginal homeland.

          You have a way with words!

          Ancient Israel did not encompass the Mediterranean coast, where most Israeli Jews live.

          41593! You reply, but you do not bother to read and think about what I have already written. For my purposes of claiming aboriginal rights for the “Jewish” People, I don’t go back as far as your reference to “Ancient Israel,” which antedates that point in the 6th century BCE, when there arose a People: (a) literally calling itself “Jewish”; (b) speaking and writing the Hebrew language; and (c) practicing the religion of Judaism. In this matter of Peoples, the name is key. Usually a new name marks the birth of a new People. From the 6th century BCE until today the speficially Jewish People has always been a known personality in world history. And in each year, there were always some Jews living in the aboriginal homeland of the Jewish People. And by the way, just to provide one example, Hasmonean Judea did extend all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and beyond the Jordan River. And from the ancient world which other People is still left standing? Nobody else is left except perhaps the few hundred Samaritans. Of all “extant” Peoples, the Jewish People has the best claim to be aboriginal from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Who else do you have in mind — the Palestinian People which first generally identified as such around 1960 CE? Or are you thinking of the great Arab People which along with the classical Arabic language and Islam was born in Arabia around the early 7th century CE? Making arguments based on history is normally not a very effective strategy against the Jewish People which is among the oldest of the world’s Peoples. But, there are some other arguments that are essentially non-historical. For example, despite the fact that the Palestinian People self-identified as such only a half-century ago, it nonetheless has claims to self-determination, independence and territory. And these new Palestinian claims have to be reconciled with the aboriginal, treaty and self-determination rights of the Jewish People. And those prior rights of the Jewish People are still in play, even if the bulk of the non-Jewish population there chooses to present its claims, sub nomine the Muslim “umma” or the Arab People.

        41953! Wrong you are! Though a minority in the Holy Land probably from the late 6th century CE, the Jews nonetheless always remained the NATIVE population there, without reference to their precise number. In the same way, the aboriginal Peoples of North America still remain the NATIVE population in the USA, despite the fact that they are today a very small minority of the total USA population. Loose lips sink ships! Do some serious thinking and get your terminology straight. Fact is that, in each and every year since the 6th century BCE, there have always been “Jews” (i.e. Yehudim) in the Holy Land, which also (sub nomine “Eretz Israel”) remained at the center of the religion of Judaism. And, there were also even more Jews living close by, e.g., in the neighboring parts of the Ottoman Empire. For example, in 1900 there were around one million Jews across the whole Near and Middle East. In fact, there were then twice as many Jews in the whole Near and Middle East than Muslim Arabs in the Holy Land, which was relatively underpopulated. The Jewish People is indigenous to the Middle East and never entirely left the Middle East. Moreover, the Jewish People is aboriginal to the Holy Land, where these last two millennia, it has always had the best claim to be NATIVE. With the exception of the few hundred surviving Samaritans, only the self-identified “Jewish” People remains from the 6th-century-BCE Holy Land. The Jews were the “Jewish” People in the 6th century BCE, and so they still are to this day. All the other self-identified Peoples of the ancient Holy Land have passed out of history. So, which modern People has the best claim to be “native” there? Perhaps your grandfather came from Poland, so you think that you know everything that there is to know about the Jewish People? But, you can be sure that David Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson and others knew better than you and your grandfather, when they crafted a series of declarations, resolutions and treaties (1917-1924) that internationally recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish People to Palestine” and created “a national home for the Jewish People” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. They did what they did because they knew that the Jewish People is NATIVE to the Holy Land.

          You really think today’s Jews are lineal descendants from ancient Israelites?
          Since when is Lloyd George an authority on the subject?

          Assuming you are correct, though, how does that entitle Jews in the 20th century to claim a land where they constituted a minority for at least 1500 years?
          By your way of thinking, European anti-Semites were right when they claimed Jews were a foreign element.

          41953, I invite you to enter the 21st century! More than a decade of cutting-edge genome research has just established that most of today’s Jews are genetically interrelated and indeed significantly descended from the Jews of antiquity, i.e. right back to the time when Jews were still the majority in their aboriginal homeland. Oxford University Press has just published “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People.” As for the other matters that you raise, I again invite you to go to to look at an October 2011 posting entitled “Aboriginal Rights of the Jewish People.”

          41953! On the lineage of the modern Jewish People, see the new (2012) Oxford University Press book entitled “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People.” More than twenty years of genome research have established that most Jews are genetically interrelated and significantly descended from the Jew of antiquity, i.e. going back to the time when Jews were still the majority of the population in their aboriginal homeland.

          Not true. Most Jewish men can trace their origins to the region of the Middle East, which may or may not be ancient Israel. But not most Jewish women.

          41953! What you claim with respect to the ancestors of modern Jewish women is firstly patently illogical and secondly plain wrong in terms of genome science. With respect to modern Jewish males and females, genetics has different techniques that to a significant extent track their DNA back to the Middle East. Perhaps you should actually read the most recent studies and also meditate on the genetic consequences of the historically and genetically proven circumstance that (until very recently) Jews have been mostly marrying each other (endogamy) for the last 1,600 years. But, whatever you might think of the results of the last twenty-five years of research into the genome of Jews, do not imagine that I fail to understand that these matters of descent are understandably a sensitive topic. Specifically, I get the point that it is objectively offensive (and meant to be so) to suggest that I am not the son of my father. Try going to a gathering of the Canadian Indian tribes. Stand up there and in a loud voice repeatedly tell them that they are not indigenous to North America, but rather descended from a handful of Asians that crossed the land bridge some 15-20,000 years ago. Though in that case you might even be scientifically correct, you would still likely be punched in the face. And “a fortiori” well justified would be Jewish resentment because both abundant history and sound science “combine” to prove that most modern Jews are genetically interrelated and significantly descended from the Jews of antiquity. Moreover, permit me to share the insight that the modern meaning of antisemitism definitely includes persistently targeting Jews and persistently applying to Jews a more exigent standard than regularly applied to other Peoples in the same or similar circumstances. Like other Peoples, the Jewish People is owed both fairness and sound social science. But, I have begun to suspect that no evidence that can be offered would ever convince you of anything favorable to Jews, the Jewish People or Israel. Whether in a Jew or a non-Jew such prejudice speaks for itself.

          Fed_Up18 says:

          Wow, you are nuts. It’s the *women* who have proven the key to it all. Scientists are amazed at the evidence that Jewish women seem to have been the *least* unfaithful of the types studied.

          Do you live in a box? Ashkenazi Jews have Middle Eastern DNA – Jews are native to the Middle East. DNA has also proven the ancient link between the Cohains, the priestly tribe, and Aharon, the brother of Moses. Surprising you don’t know this – it’s been in the mainstream news. Like I said, get off the Hamas sites. They aren’t good resources for Jewish history.

          Shlomo Sand is not Hamas, is he?

          Fed_Up18 says:

          No, that’s your way of thinking, because you are going on a strictly racial line of thinking – which Judaism is not & never has been. Jews claim Israel spiritually (which has only that meaning), & politically (which is actually germane to the discussion), because the owners of the land (by virtue of it being given by the previous owners & having been won in defensive wars) say we can.

        You are completely clueless. Jews are the native population. Have been for the past 3,000 years. Do the rest of us a favor and read a BOOK on Jewish history, not the Hamas website.

        Fed_Up18 says:

        Amazing how immigration is always good, & you’re a bigot if you’re against it, except if it’s Jews.

    By the way, even if you were right, which you aren’t there is one more little detail you purposefully ignore. Arab states attempted to destroy the just born Jewish state. As a result they created The Arab Refugees they subsequently refused to absorb and the UN maintain as refugees six decades later totally alone in this. No other group of refugee ever got support for more than 10 years when they were forced to be absorbed wherever they ended. Then Arab states from the Magreb all the way to Persia cleansed itself of any Jewish community. Jews in Alexandria, Egypt and Baghdad, Iraq lived there at least a Millennia before any Arab came out of Arabia. They were all absorbed on their first day landing in Israel without any help from the UN. Israel still include1/5 Arabs who are full citizens of Israel. By the way, The Palestinians is a name invention of the 60’s as are The West Bank and East Jerusalem. Judea and Samaria being the heartland of the Jewish nation and Jerusalem it’s capital and never an Arab capital even when Arab controlled the city for centuries. By the way up to 1948 Jerusalem had a crushing Jewish majority until John Glub, a British operative sliced and diced the city, the Jews cleansed out with a medieval type of siege for which he got to be called Sir John Glubb for a great service to the crown of England.

      fred capio says:

      It is a nut-shell version, but you are absolutely right. It is a pity how few of the younger Jews know what really happened between 1914 and 1949.

    fred capio says:

    Here are some things you should inform yourself about in grater detail:

    1914-1918 British victory over Ottoman Empire.

    1917 Balfour Declaration.

    1920 Paris/Lausanne Peace Conference.

    1920 British Mandate and the conditions and obligations of the mandate.

    1920 Jews in Palestine start immediately organizing themselves for
    future independence, creation of the Jewish Agency as the body
    representing the Jewish people in negotiations with the High Commissioner
    (representative of the mandatory power). High Commissioner suggests to
    the Arab population to elect a body, similar to the Jewish Agency, to
    represent them vis-à-vis the mandatory power. Arabs refuse and local
    leaders suppress all attempts to hold elections.

    1922 The British partition Palestine and remove 70% of the territory promised to the Jews as homeland and create Transjordan.

    1922 Decades of Arab revolutions and wars against the Jewish population.

    1939 “British White Paper” severely restricting Jewish immigration to
    Palestine (the promised homeland) during the whole Holocaust and being
    responsible for the death of millions of Jews. Extensive growth of the
    Arab population due to high birth rates and influx of Arabs from
    neighboring territories.

    1947 Partition of the remaining 30% of the original homeland territory.
    Best portions allocated to the Arabs. Jews receive the arid coastal
    plains and the Negev desert. Jews accept, Arabs refuse.

    1948 British evacuate Palestine and continue to refuse Jewish immigrants
    until the last day. Refusing to allow weapon-imports for the Jews, even
    though the Arabs were getting ready to attack the Jews. USA weapons
    embargo for Palestine.

    1948 Arabs attack Israel. Jordanian army is lead by the British Lieutenant General John Glubb……..

      Re; the 1922 partition, there was probably not a single Jew living in the territory that created Transjordan, so how can you claim that it should have been part of a Jewish homeland?
      Re; the 1947 partition, the borders of the Jewish state were drawn in such a way to capture the existing Jewish population, which was still much smaller than the Arab population

        fred capio says:

        I don’t claim anything. Do your own research instead of repeating the same thing over and over again…

    Except of course for the gender-segregated shelters in Israel like the one shown on Facebook yesterday (I have no idea how many there are, but am appalled that this would even be a concern when lives are at stake).

    Except of course for the gender-segregated shelters in Israel like the one shown on Facebook yesterday (I have no idea how many there are, but am appalled that this would even be a concern when lives are at stake).

AriShavit says:

I wasn’t quite sure about you at first, but you’re growing on me Adam. I think the recent coverage from the Scroll/Tablet has been excellent, and this addition is no exception.

It does make sense if you consider that anti- Semitism hiding as anti- Zionism drives the world media. Consider the fact that none ever mention the so benign in their eyes that they do not mention it ever: A laser guided missile works by the shooter guiding the missile keeps his laser on the target. A laser guided missile was used from Gaza not long ago to blow up a school bus. Which means a school bus was definitely, knowingly pre targeted. Missiles often rain from Gaza with schools schedules kids coming or leaving the schools is missiles time in the Western Negev. Instead of mentioning it world media has a body count of “civilians” even though they have no way how many of the casualties are innocent civilians and how many are truly terrorists from Hamas sworn in the destruction of Israel and replacing it with Islamic state and it’s nasty habit of finding protection by placing lauchers in he middle of civilians preferably children.

PhillipNagle says:

It is time to take a close look at some of the media sources. The Europeans are clearly letting their anti-Semitism show through. CNN, remember they are the ones that wouldn’t cover Sadam Hussein’s atrocities because they feared it would affect their access, is almost openly pro arab. It is time for Jews to figure out who is acting fairly and act accordingly.

Can someone please provide me with several examples of wars that were
fought with nicely proportional kill ratios? Even though that is **NOT**
what proportionality means in the laws of war (as has been well noted above), since “progressives” are so obsessed with it, I am sure that they would not demand it of Israel if it were indeed a common characteristic of armed conflicts.

But I think we could help bring the kill ratios into greater equality (now there is a good word to throw in) by insisting on the following:

a) Israel turn over half of its Iron Dome systems to Hamas. Since only five exist, Israel gets to keep only two since the fifth system (just deployed on Friday) is capable of taking down a rocket with only a single interceptor instead of the two required by the older systems.

b) Israel must immediately build in Gaza bomb shelters, the “Color Red” warning system, and provide the same extensive civil defense infrastructure and training that it has built in Israel.

c) A significant part of the problem is that Hamas stores most of their weapons, rockets, and launchers deep in civilian areas, houses (willingness to live with stored weapons is a great way to get cheap housing in Gaza), schools, mosques, hospitals etc.

Unfortunately, the presence of weapons etc., make these sites legitimate military targets under Article 28 of the 4th Geneva Convention. Therefore, in order to avoid the concomitant civilian casualties, Israel shall be required to send in ground forces to these sites, armed only with paintball guns, and move the weapons etc. to open areas where the weapons shall be subject to bombing. While the soldiers are doing this the Gazans are to be limited to throwing rocks at them, not to exceed 50 Kg per rock.

d) Israel shall round up a number of its citizens equal in number to the number of Gazan casualties and tie them to street lamp poles so that they are more accessible targets for the Hamas rocketeers.

e) An alternate approach would be to insist that Israel do to Gaza exactly what Hamas is doing to Israel. In other words, for every rocket fired into Israel, Israel in turn will fire a similar rocket into Gaza. If the rocket fell in a built up populated area of Israel, Israel
shall fire its rocket into a populated area of Gaza. If the Hamas rocket falls in an empty area, Israel shall do the same.

And if the Hamas rocket warheads contain assorted ball bearings and other hardware mixed with phosphorous, all intended to enhance the rocket’s lethality (which, BTW, Hamas is doing) then Israel should do the same.

There!! Now everything is nice and equal. And by definition, equality of kill is proportional!


J’lem / Efrata
(father of two IDF combat reservists waiting for their call up notices)

jjs110 says:

One important element missing in this article is the simple fact that Hamas has not built one single shelter for the population of Gaza, whereas Israel has made them ubiquitous and has an extended and well-organized civil protection infrastructure in place. This, plus the criminal exposure of its own civilians next to military objectives by Hamas, explains the large difference in the numbers of respective casualties. Hamas doesn’t give a damn about civilian casualties, Israel’s or its own, while Israel does everything it can to spare and protect civilians, BOTH in Israel and in Gaza.

Marjorie Gann says:

Civilian body count does not necessarily correlate with the morality of the attack. For example, according to Antony Beevor’s D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (Penguin, 2010) Operation Overlord (the Normandy Invasion) left 19,890 French civilians dead, “on top of the 15,000 French killed and 19,000 injured during the preparatory bombing for Overlord in the first five months of 1944.” Would anyone call the invasion of Normandy to overthrow the Nazis unjust? What counts is the justice of your cause and the care you take to at least try to minimize civilian casualties. Israel passes the test.

This peice, as well as Mr Goldbergs state the situation clearly.
I believe that the answer for all this jounalistic dishonesty is plain old fashioned anti semitism. And yes, I know many of these reporters are “Jews”. However this seems to matter not a whit when the liberal PC (always anti-semitic) attitudes prevail.
Again, kudo’s for your honesty. And Mr Goldbergs.

bubbareeves says:

The Gaza building Boom over the last few years has encompassed hundreds of Tunnels, hundreds of Underground Rocket launchers, elaborate homes for the ‘Power Elite’, a huge modern western style shopping mall, numerous Government office buildings and not one Bunker!

bubbareeves says:

The Gaza building Boom over the last few years has encompassed hundreds of Tunnels, hundreds of Underground Rocket launchers, elaborate homes for the ‘Power Elite’, a huge modern western style shopping mall, numerous Government office buildings and not one Bunker!

“The U.S. judges the threat from al Qaeda based
on the group’s intentions and plans, not merely on the number of
Americans it has killed over the past 10 years. This is the correct
approach to dealing with such a threat.”

Excellent point. Political actors should be judged on their intentions as well as the actual damage they inflict. So when the Palestine branch of the World Zionist Organization creates a farming collective known as a kibbutz, for the express purpose of barring Arabs and Mideastern Jews from labor, that is one good indication about the intent of the Zionist settlers. As is when Palestinian peasants are thrown off land bought by the Zionists, such as al-Fula and Sheikh Bureik.

It does so appear that the cease fire has ceased near the security wall:

Weird Harold says:

I guess I’m just an old man who tends to simplify things. I see Israel held to a different standard than the rest of the world.

The object of war is to inflict so much death and destruction on the enemy that the enemy surrenders. In WWII, Germany surrendered only after Allied troops were marching down the streets of Berlin. Japan surrendered only after the second A-bomb was dropped. But when Israel is about to prevail, the world rushes in to stop the conflict before that happens, so that Israel’s attacker will survive to attack again. The world holds Israel to a different standard.

In war, civilians die. It’s unavoidable. No bomb is smart enough to distinguish between civilians and military. In WWII, the majority of deaths were civilians. The world holds Israel to a different standard.

There is no call to divest and boycott China for seizing Tibet. No one calls for the U.S. to return the half of Mexico that it seized by war, nor restore the native peoples to the lands from which they were forcibly removed. The world holds Israel to a different standard.

If Cuba were firing rockets on Florida, the U.S. would do whatever was necessary to stop them. When Muslims perpetrated 9/11, the U.S. went to war with the country from which they came. The world holds Israel to a different standard.

When the U.S. thought, incorrectly, that Iraq had nuclear weapons, they attacked. Israel is 2 for 2 in destroying actual enemy nuclear sites but everyone says they shouldn’t attack Iran. The world holds Israel to a different standard.

Pundits complain that in the conflict, more Arabs are killed than Jews. How many Jews do they think should be killed? The world holds Israel to a different standard.

But I’m an old man who over-simplifies things. Don’t listen to me.

    jus in bello says:

    so is killing civilians fine then? No need to worry about morality? I’m sure terrorists will be thrilled to hear that you agree with them–since by your definition there is only power and no such thing as immoral killing?

Israel has much better health services than Gaza which is another reason the death rate is lower. It has also required every apartment to have a blast proof room. That has saved many lives. It has invested in an early warning system and televised instructions to citizens on what to do in the event of an early warning. In addition there is the Iron Dome system which saved many lives.
Hamas has not invested in defence of its citizens, only in offensive weapons and that in a population which has an enormous need for investment in infrastructure and education.

I ma sorry, but you can intellectualize all you want, but the reality is that you stole their land, put them in an open air prison, where you bomb them anytime you feel like, you control their movements, you take away their water, control their economy, who they trade with etc, and when they resist, you label them terrorists and refuse to negotiate.
Since 1967 Israel has continued to illegally confiscate Palestinian land, build a wall that cuts people off their land, their family etc…


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