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At Least 46 Palestinian Killed In Four Days

At Least 46 Palestinian Killed In Four Days


Middle East News Service comment compiled by Sol Salbe

It seems as if every day brings worse news from the Gaza Strip. The last count in Ynet had 46 Palestinians killed since last Wednesday. In fact there is more room left in the Palestinian hospitals’ mortuaries. It is par for the course that the proportion of civilians in this count is in dispute but nobody argues that they are all terrorists. But there is, however, a point that tends to be overlooked. Not everyone who is not a fully certified civilian is a terrorist (ignoring for the moment the definition of a terrorist.) . Gideon Levy put exceptionally well in Sunday morning’s Haaretz:

“In recent months, almost no day has gone by without Palestinians being killed in Gaza. Instead of asking why, we get a prime minister who boasts to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee about ‘300 terrorists’ dead within four months, as if killing in itself were an enormous achievement. This is the lesson from Ehud Olmert, and it is immeasurably more grievous than all his alleged corruption affairs.

“No one asked who these fatalities were, whether they all deserved to die, and what benefit Israel derives from this wholesale killing. Beyond the terrifying number of civilians killed, including dozens of women and children, we should also ask whether every armed person in Gaza - and there are tens of thousands of them - deserves the death penalty, without a trial. The day the IDF began the targeted assassinations, our sensitivity to human life was doomed to be erased.”

Levy’s piece is worth reading for the thread he weaves between current events in Gaza and the second Lebanon war. There is a lot more but the following should give you an idea:

“Those who over a few months kill more than 1,000 Lebanese and 300 Palestinians for dubious reasons do not have the right to speak about sensitivity to human life. The fact that the public protest against the war did not take off demonstrates that after having lost all sensitivity for the lives of others, we are also gradually losing sensitivity for the lives of our children who are killed in vain. The contempt for human life starts with the lives of Arabs and ends with the lives of Jews.
”What a long way we have come since the talk, as hypocritical as it may have been, about ‘the purity of arms.’ This concept has been totally deleted from the lexicon. What a long way we have come since the time when we took pride in the fact that, unlike the Arabs, we tried not to kill innocent civilians. And now we have arrived at the shocking reality of the second Lebanon war. For example, the number of people Israel killed is not only almost 10 times higher than the number of people Hezbollah killed, but the number of soldiers Hezbollah killed is three times higher than the number of Israeli civilians they killed, while the number of Lebanese civilians killed by Israel is about three times the number of Hezbollah fighters. So whose arms are purer? A journalist from the Guardian who is currently in Israel was shocked to hear that these figures have not been the subject of public discussion here.”

There is another similarity. The massive bombardment of Lebanon and the entire might of the IDF did not reduce the Hezbollah rocket fire. The IDF’s operations in Gaza seem to have had as much success: Then Qassam rockets keep on it Sderot at a greater frequency. (Fortunately on the Israeli side of the border at least there haven’t been any fatalities.)

Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff reported in Haaretz:

“It is clear that the Qassam rocket fire is not subsiding. At best, it may be reduced. The number of Palestinian fatalities in the operation has exceeded 40, but the terror organizations' resolve to persist in firing rockets at Sderot has not wavered.

“The killing in the Gaza Strip is out of proportion to any losses on the Israeli side. Perhaps these figures undermine the goal of the Israel Defense Forces, wishing to prepare the ground in a few months for a much larger operation, this time in the south of the Strip, against the arms smuggling tunnels in Rafah.”

But Israel has had one success as they observed:

“In the Palestinian arena, Israel managed to do for Hamas what it failed to do. The criticism from within of Ismail Haniyeh's government has died down. Hamas is once again leading the fighting, in the number of its fatalities as well. Hamas apparently led the ‘heroic’ rescue operation from the mosque.”

The paper’s Palestinian Affairs’specialist Danny Rubinstein was even more caustic:

“Everyone has promised to strengthen Abbas: the United States, the European Union, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and, of course, Israel. There has even been talk of allowing a Fatah army unit stationed in Jordan into the West Bank and Gaza, with Israel's approval. But no one can help Abbas if the Palestinian street views him as having betrayed the elected Hamas government in the middle of a war.

“In other words, the Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza has greatly weakened Abbas and reduced his political maneuvering room. Instead of making plans to dismiss the Hamas government, he has been forced to demand that the UN Security Council and the international community rescue the Palestinians from Israel's onslaught. All the statements by Israeli spokesmen about efforts to strengthen Abbas have been rendered worthless by the bloodshed and destruction in Beit Hanun.”

But what we have to remember is that killing continues: In another dispatch Issacharoff and Harel reported:

“A 12-year-old girl was killed Saturday evening by Israel Defense Forces sniper fire in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, bringing to 27 the Palestinian death toll in Gaza since the start of the weekend.

“The IDF said that Isra Nasser, who died of head wounds, had been shot by a sniper targeting an armed militant, and expressed regret at the killing. At least 11 of the dead were civilians, and include two members of rescue crews.”

*************

[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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