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What would Israelis say to families of civilian casualties in Gaza?

The personal losses of Al Mezan’s team are a microcosm of what Israel’s military operation is doing to Gaza’s population. If Israelis met them face-to-face, would they tell them the same excuses for those civilian deaths as they tell themselves and the world? 

By Amjad Iraqi

On August 21, the father, step-mother and niece of Issam Younis, director-general of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, were killed as a result of an Israeli air strike on a nearby house; five other family members, including a three-year old and two-month old, were wounded. The home of another Al Mezan staff member, Yousef Abu Slaimeh, was heavily damaged and 17 of his family members injured. The strike was allegedly targeting the home of militants, but the force and debris from the multiple missiles severely affected the surrounding households.

These are not the first terrible losses that Al Mezan’s dedicated human rights workers have suffered during Israel’s current military operation. Two weeks ago field researcher Anwar Al Zaaneen was killed by an Israeli missile as he met a maintenance crew to fix the water connection to his home. Other staff members have lost relatives and friends, while also fearing for themselves and their families during Israel’s heavy bombardment across the Strip. As international relations director Mahmoud Abu Rahma says, this is the third war that many of their children have had to experience, trapped in their homes and unable to sleep from the constant noise of jets and explosions.

A Palestinians child stands in front of a destroyed house in Beit Hanoun following bombardment by Israeli forces, northern Gaza Strip, August 11, 2014. According to OCHA, 16,800 homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or severely damaged leaving 370,000 displaced. (photo: Activestills)

A Palestinians child stands in front of a destroyed house in Beit Hanoun following bombardment by Israeli forces, northern Gaza Strip, August 11, 2014. According to OCHA, 16,800 homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or severely damaged, leaving 370,000 displaced. (photo: Activestills)

The Al Mezan team is a microcosm of what Israel’s military operation is doing to Gaza’s 1.8 million people. It has now killed over 2,000 people – the majority of them civilians – wounded many more, caused wanton destruction to neighborhoods and vital infrastructure, and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes. Furthermore, Al Mezan’s stories, like thousands of others, debunk Israel’s continued efforts to conceal the real effects of its military operation (see B’Tselem’s infographic on Gazan families bombed at home). Many Israelis, most of whom support the war, still insist that the army does not “intend” to harm civilians, and that the military operation is being waged with unparalleled care and precision.

So what would these Israelis who support the war say to Issam, Yousef and Anwar’s family and to other Gazan victims? If Israelis met them face-to-face, would they dare tell them the same excuses for civilian deaths as they tell themselves and the world? Would they tell Issam, Yousef and Anwar’s family and all the other Gazan victims that their loved ones’ deaths and injuries were an “accident”? Would they insist that they should “blame Hamas” for the Israeli missiles that destroyed their homes? Would they claim their relatives were “human shields”? Would they say that their families were “raised by a culture of hate”? How do the deaths of Al Mezan’s staff and family members fit into the belief that the army’s tactics minimize civilian casualties? Would Israelis think their own claims sound reasonable, or truthful, in the face of what was done to those families?

It is troubling to see so many Israelis encouraging this self-imposed blindness to the actual effects that the war is having on the people of Gaza, believing that diversionary arguments of “intentions” could somehow outweigh what actually happens on the ground. It is as if they believe that the 1,400 Gazan civilians killed in the last few weeks – including those mentioned above – do not count in the real world, simply because the army supposedly did not “intend” for them to be killed. Similarly strange is the narrative that attempts to place blame for civilian deaths on the casualties and targets themselves, rather than those who pulled the trigger and gave the orders.

Bodies lie on the floor of Kuwaiti Hospital after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. Since Al Najjar Hospital was closed, Kuwaiti, a nearby private hospital, opened its doors for emergency cases. So far, Israeli attacks have killed at least 1,676 Palestinians, including 378 children (photo: Activestills)

Bodies lie on the floor of Kuwaiti Hospital after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. Since Al Najjar Hospital was closed, Kuwaiti, a nearby private hospital, opened its doors for emergency cases. (photo: Activestills)

These arguments and behaviors reveal a significant problem that characterizes Israel’s military conduct, permeates Israeli society’s views, and allows the harm faced by Al Mezan’s staff to occur without outcry or punishment: indifference. Just as damaging as the intention to kill is the sheer disregard, dehumanization and distancing that many Israelis have shown to the consequences of the violence waged in their name. The belief that indifference to civilian deaths is morally better than intention is wrong. The idea that indifference will alleviate Israel’s responsibility for its military’s crimes is wrong. The worsening toll on Gaza’s civilians, from deaths to displacement to destruction, will remain a permanent feature of their lives as long as indifference continues to be Israelis’ main response to their state’s policies, which too many unquestioningly support.

It would be worthwhile for many Israelis to think about what they would say to Issam, Yousef and Anwar’s family and other victims before telling others that their loss and suffering in Gaza, including living under a choking blockade and their third war in five years, is for a good cause.

Amjad Iraqi is a projects and advocacy coordinator at Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

The writer wishes to dedicate this article to the Al Mezan staff, their families and their loved ones for their perseverance in the face of profound difficulties, both in their work and in their lives.

Related:
Not even a ‘bump on the wing’ these days when killing Palestinians
Blaming Palestinians for their own deaths

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    1. Israeli

      I would tell them that I am sorry for their loss – but only them can can determine their life. It is their decision what is more important – life or national aspirations and hate toward Jews. Nothing is more important than life. Not territory, not property and not “national honour”. It took us, the Israelis, a long time to understand this, but eventually we deemed our life more important than territory and gave all of Sinai to Egypt – in exchange for peace. When the Palestinians will cherish life and their own children as much as they cherish their hate of Jews and national narrative, there will be peace.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Whiplash

      I would not tell these families any excuses. I would tell them the difficult truth. They are the enemy. Their government which they elected has waged war. Their loved ones have died in a war of their government’s choosing with a stronger country which believes that it is morally correct to defend itself and its citizens from an organization which desires to destroy Israel and kill all Jews.

      People are going to die in this war, even those whom have not been targeted by Israel. Israel too will suffer death, destruction and injury. That is the nature of war, even a just war.

      I would tell them that out of the 2000 deaths roughly half have been terrorists involved in trying to harm Israel and Israelis. The rest are collateral damage which occurs in wars.

      I would tell them terms like “collateral damage” or “friendly fire” are hard terms to understand and digest for the friends and family of the collateral damage or friendly fire. However, they accurately describe what happens in war. If Israel destroys a house serving as a command center, weapons depot, a place to fire anti-tank missiles or rockets from, or covering an attack tunnel, there is likely to be collateral damage to the people in the same house or houses.

      I have watched many videos of mosques blowing up with many secondary explosions proving that there was a missile cache there. People living in the area are likely to be injured or killed from the secondary explosions. It is not an option for Israel to not hit these targets, thereby allowing Hamas or IJ to fire the missiles at Israeli citizens.

      The Palestinians have to take responsibility for the actions carried out on their behalf and suffer the consequences thereof.

      Reply to Comment
      • Latifah

        Your answer is what the article told: indifference and blaming. No idea, if there could have been another way instead of imprisonments and killings(also in Westbank), if perhaps, just perhaps, there is something not correct in Israeli politics. Only “it’s your problem. Don’t bother me. ” Incredible, but it shows that there will be nothing. “We are right, you are wrong, pay the price.” Ignorance. Very very sad.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          “if there could have been another way ”

          If the Palestinians were peace loving and law abiding Canadians, there could have been another way. However that has not been the case. In 1947 Palestinians opted for war and not peace. Since then they have rejected every offer of peace and responded with violence.

          The Oslo Accords set up 25 or more joint commissions between Palestinians and Israelis to settle disputes and find cooperative solutions to matters important to both. In or around the same time that Abbas refused to take up Prime Minister Olmert’s gold plated offer for Palestinian independence, the PA voted not to cooperate with Israel. The 25 joint commissions most of which had continued to meet and operate even at the height of the second intifada fell silent.

          The Palestinians decided it was better for PR and demonization of Israel to blame Israel for all its problems instead of cooperatively working with Israel on solutions.
          The area of water, waste water and desalination is a prime example.

          The joint commissions were bridges to peace and part of a continual trust building process. The Palestinians rejected this process.

          Following the rejection of peace, the Palestinians under Hamas went to war and lost. In 2012 Hamas again provoked a war. In 2014 Hamas again provoked a war by kidnapping 3 Israeli teenagers and murdering them.

          Hamas had invested billions in war materials and nothing in peace. So when Israel began to tear apart the terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank, Hamas escalated the situation into the 3rd Gaza War.

          It is interesting to note that Israel has interrogated some of the 93 Hamas terrorist operatives seized in the West Bank and have uncovered a Hamas plot to have caused a conflagration in the West Bank after which the arms it had accumulated would have been turned against the PA in an effort to topple the Fatah backed government. Then Hamas would have been firing rockets from the West Bank into Israel.

          So the long and short of it, there was no other way for Israel to handle the situation. Israel was not going to have an Iranian port on the coast of Gaza or a Hamas government in Ramallah.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Joel

      I’d tell them that I am sorry for their losses and that they should direct their rage against their leaders in Gaza, same as oppressed Arabs are doing all over the region.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        What would Israelis say? Israel talked to the Palestinians last night and left them a message which they should heed.

        Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, said in a television interview Friday night. “Every citizen in the Gaza Strip who has in proximity to him or his home weaponry, we view him to be a legitimate target,” General Almoz said. “We are asking him to leave the area because those targets are going to be attacked in the coming hours and coming days. We are here. We aren’t going to go anywhere until quiet arrives.”

        It is time for Palestinians to take their leaders to task for placing military assets next to where they live and making them potential targets.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Jan

      I am not an Israeli but I am Jewish. I would tell these families something that they already know. I would say that for 47 years Israel has kept the Palestinians both in the West Bank and Gaza under a brutal military occupation.

      We killed and imprisoned thousands of you. We demolished thousands of your homes. When we built our illegal settlements in Gaza we dispossessed some 30,000 of us. Every once in a while we would bomb you saying that we needed to “mow the grass.”

      I would say that when Ariel Sharon decided to pull out the Israeli military and the settlers from Gaza he did that in a cynical move to warehouse you and to move the settlers to more illegal settlements in the West Bank. I would say to them that for years Israel would not let them see their family in the West Bank. I would say that from the first day Israel pulled out we sent our jets screaming over Gaza unleashing powerful sonic booms that scared your family and everyone else. You all thought that Israel was about to start bombing again as we had done so often in the past. We also wanted to let you know that we were still your boss.

      And then you had an election. Many of you didn’t vote for Fatah as you knew how corrupt it had been for years and though it was cooperating with Israel in the West Bank you were no closer to the end of occupation than you ever were. So, while many of you didn’t like Hamas, you voted for them knowing that they were not corrupt like Fatah and might bring you closer to freedom.

      Israel didn’t like the fact that Hamas won and so they blockaded you. Your uncle, the fisherman couldn’t go out far enough to get good sized fish. One day he went out a little too far and an Israeli navy ship shot at him and wounded him. They also shot a hole in his boat and he barely made it home.

      We made sure that your economy would suffer. You spent so much money to plant your crops but after they were harvested we made it hard for you to export them. Even before Hamas was elected, Israel made your trucks wait for so long that the produce was ruined and you couldn’t export it.

      Now and then we used targeted assassinations. We didn’t care if your cousin Ahmed who was just 8 years old was killed because he was playing in the street when an Israeli missile came and killed someone who we wanted to kill. Ahmed died and two of his friends were badly wounded.

      I know that these are terrible days, the worst you have ever known. I am ashamed to say that the Israeli military is brutal and cruel and seems to have no heart nor conscience. Along with most of the Israeli government they do not want you to have your freedom. We just want calm, calm so we can do what we want to do with no interference from you and certainly no rocket attacks. We are the people who are allow to do the attacking, not you. We will not lift this awful blockade so that you can breathe the air of freedom. I know that you cannot forever live on your knees. You need to live in peace with Israel in your own state on all the land that Israel occupied in 1967. You offered Israel peace but we rejected your offer as many in Israel prefer a greater Israel to peace with justice for both peoples.

      I also need to tell you that when Israel was called Palestine, we Jews also had our own terrorist groups who did bad things to both the British who were occupying Palestine and also to your people. Once we Jews had our own state those terrorist groups went away. Maybe we Jews will learn from our own own history. If we want Hamas and other terrorist groups to go away we must let you have our own state.

      Dear Palestinian families, I hope that this terrible siege,this horrible carnage that Israel is inflicting on you will end. I hope that you can rebuild your lives and your country and that we can all live in peace with dignity.

      Good night, dear families. May you survive the night. And some day may you forgive us.

      Reply to Comment
      • Goldmarx

        Jan, your post was moving and brilliant.

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          How come you made the following two self contradictory assertions on other threads, Goldie?

          1. Israel needs Hamas as an excuse to justify what it does.

          2. Israel together with the US tried to help Fatah to oust the democratically elected Hamas in 2007.

          Something just does not add up in your above claims Goldie, don’t you think?

          Your claims Goldie, on the other hand are neither moving, nor brilliant.

          Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            Already answered on another thread.

            Observing a seemingly contradictory divide and conquer strategy does not make the observer contradictory.

            Reply to Comment
      • Janet Jupiter

        In other words, you would bore them to death

        Reply to Comment
    5. NIZ

      From my experience with Israelis: after all they lose all moral arguments, they directly switch to might makes right arguments. They say “well, we won the war”, or “we have a better army”. Palestinians are not waiting for your answers, I think, we have already done our contemplative journey with Edward Said, Mahmoud Darwich, Emille Habibi, jabra ibrahim jabra, and much more. Zionism is unethical, all your presence in this land is illegal. You are the sons of emmigrants from europe who built your houses in our land, with sheer force. There is nothing you could say, for your initial act said it all and we know it, you know it and so does the world. What is left now, is taking your act of aggression to its logical conclusion. Co-exsitence between the settler and native is impossible, as Fanon already explained. There is nothing to talk about, in the absence of a balance of power, because your mere existence is based on will to power. The only way for you to leave us alone is make you bleed enough. In the process we will suffer tremendous pain, a price we are willing to pay. The gods thus far, have given us no other path.

      Reply to Comment
      • Joel

        @NIZ

        “You are the sons of emmigrants from europe who built your houses in our land, with sheer force.”

        Well. You are the sons of emigrants from Arabia who built your houses in Eretz Yisroel with sheer force.

        Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Zionism is unethical, all your presence in this land is illegal.”

        By what definition is our presence illegal? Because you assert it to be so?

        But let’s pretend that you are right. Even then, we are in good company. Just about the whole of humanity has done what you claim we did (wrongly claim).

        - Let’s start with the Arabs. The only reason why the spoken language and the religion is Islam in most of the Middle East and all of North Africa is because of Arab invaders who started out from the Arab peninsula.

        - Lets take the Americas. South America was overtaken by Spanish and Portugese invaders and what happened to the natives there?

        - North America was overtaken by English, French and Dutch invaders. And what happened to the natives there?

        - Australia was overtaken by English invaders and what happened to the natives there?

        - New Zealand was overtaken by English invaders and what happened to the natives there?

        - Even Japan was inhabited by the Ainu before the present day Japanese took over Japan. And who has even heard of the Ainu lately?

        “The only way for you to leave us alone is make you bleed enough”

        Hey NIZ, we are the only natives who have managed to turn the table on foreign invaders, like you and reclaimed our ancestral homeland.

        Be careful. If you persist with your above attitude, we will do to you what you did to the natives here and elsewhere after you took over this place some time ago. At the end of it, you will not be around to make further threats. We too can do what you people already pioneered.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Pedro X

      Niz, you must be Maysoon Zayid’s comedy writer.

      The Arabs are the colonizers and the Jews the original inhabitants. The Arabs under the banner of Islamic Imperialism conquered the land of Israel, Syria, and the whole Maghreb, instituted an extreme version of apartheid and colonized the lands. They achieved this by brute strength, waging wars built on booty, slaves and slaughter. It did not stop there, the Arabs and Muslims fought among and slaughtered themselves. Their caliphate fractured they established brutal Islamic kingdoms and waged war. They forced children of their conquered territories to serve in their armies to spread their slaughter far and wide. They established corrupt and brutal ruling classes.

      The last of the Islamic Empires, the Ottoman Empire, committed a genocide of immense portions, killing 1.5 million Armenians followed by the forced expulsion of 2.3 million Greeks from Asia Minor.

      The Allied powers in 1917 terminated the Ottoman Empire. The international community and the League of Nations divided up the Ottoman Empire, giving 99% of the land to Arabs for Arab states and 0.6% to the Jews for re-establishing their home.

      The Arabs could not accommodate a Jewish home in the middle east and tried to eradicate the emerging state of Israel and its people. As a result the Arabs brought on their heads a crushing defeat and the fracturing of Palestinian Arab society.

      Israel moved forward, building a great state for its citizens, while the Palestinians have been trying for 66 years to reverse the effects of the 1948 war. The Palestinian Arabs have paid a steep price and according to Niz they are willing to continue to pay this price because their gods have willed it so.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        If the Bible and history is correct the Jews were not the original inhabitants. The original inhabitants were the Canaanites who were removed in a bloody massacre by the Jews who supposedly were ordered by God to kill every man, woman and child. Evidence that the Canaanites were there before the Jews has surfaced. Last year part of a Canaanite wall that pre-dates Jewish history on the land was found in Israel.

        It might be more accurate for you to say that the Jews were the first conquerers and the first ethnic cleansers who came to live on the land that has belonged to many peoples over the centuries.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          First of all the Bible is not a history book. It was not even written as a book. Scribes recorded what they thought was important concerning the covenant between Yahweh and his people, the Israelis.

          The story of Moses and Joshua is not historically accurate. There may of been a Moses and a Joshua, but Joshua did not conquer villages and towns which the archeological record says did not exist at the time or were not destroyed.

          The majority of historians, linguists and archeologists agree that Jews were Canaanites. Sometime in the Bronze age the Jewish people arose out of a segment of the people known as Canaanites. During the Iron Age the Jewish population doubled and a nation state was formed under Saul.

          By the sixth century before common era, the Canaanites departed from history leaving the Jews as the only remaining living link to the Canaanite people.

          So yes the Jews are the original inhabitants of Israel and Judea.

          Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          “If the Bible and history is correct the Jews were not the original inhabitants. The original inhabitants were the Canaanites…”

          Well, out of Eden or out of Africa is the same for all humanity, which invalidates the anti-Zionists’ entire premise of “indigenous Palestinians struggling against Zionist colonial oppression.” Yet somehow they keep tagging on that line. Strange, isn’t it?

          I don’t think temporal originality is the issue, but cultural attachment to the land. Most modern Egyptians have the original DNA of their Pharaonic subject ancestors, but only the Copts are really culturally Egyptian, while the majority have been totally Arabized. It’s the same with the Land of Israel: It’s of no import that the Arabs on the Land of Israel may be descendants of the Canaanites or Roman-era Jews; they’re Arabs through and through, while only the Jews—including Jews of European extraction—retain culture tying them to this land, such as the calendar and its festivals.

          Anyone who wants to argue national rights to the Land of Israel on the grounds of DNA or skin color is welcome to post at Stormfront.

          (BTW, I disagree with Whiplash on the Bible. I believe it’s HaShem’s word, meaning it’s 100% accurate.)

          Reply to Comment
      • Lo

        We can all agree that Israel as a geopolitical entity is a fait accompli in the year 2014.

        For all the pearl-clutching about how the Palestinians want to push the Jews into the sea, hasbarists forget that almost all Palestinians recognize that their neighbor is a nuclear state with the backing of the world’s only hyper-power. They know Israel isn’t going anywhere at a practical level. All they ask is that people recognize the terrible price they paid for the formation of Israel in 1948 and the fundamental injustice of Western diplomats dictating to them the terms of their dispossession and displacement.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ray

          You don’t understand the way Israelis think. To them, the simple act of privately wishing Israel didn’t exist, or even just disliking it for its’ actions, is a heinous thought-crime, those guilty of it deserving occupation and economic starvation. They might grow up to be terrorists!

          Reply to Comment
        • Guy L.

          Lo- no, not really. I’ll just quote NIZ:
          “Our demands are not unreasonable, Yafa,Jerusalem and the rest of the cities, are ours.”

          To some people, Israel is null. When people seek to free Palestine “from the river to the sea”, they kind of ignore the geopolitical entity that is currently located in that area.

          I don’t see how people that challenge my right to call my birthplace my home are only wanting their tragedy recognized.

          Ray- You can privately think whatever you like, I really couln’t care less.
          There are people privately wishing that homosexuals, atheists, non-christians, non-jews, America, steaks, cheese and fried chicken won’t exist.

          Reply to Comment
      • NIZ

        Pedro, I agree with you about the Arab invasions. However, the Arab invasions did not change the demographic map of the Levant as you would expect. They actually slept with locals and had children. This is why all Levantine villages still hold Aramaic names. We are not “Arabs” ethnically we are a mix of crusaders, arabs, canaanites, jews, and we are some inbred Eurpean ethnic state of 19 century. We are the sons of great cosmopolitan empires. So, Palestinians and levantines generally are not Arabs, they are levantine (ahl asham). I have no problem with Mizrahi or Safardim jews, they are also our brothers who got screwed by the Ashkanazi white ultra-modernist monsters. Our demands are not unreasonable, Yafa,Jerusalem and the rest of the cities, are ours. We could share them, sure, but no it is not acceptable to immigrate to the Levant and create a homogenous jewish ethnocracy while destroying a millennium of shared heritage. Israel has destroyed Oriental jews to a base of western hegemony against the people of the east, destroying in the process everything that makes a Jew a jew. don’t be mistaken, you are not defending your ancestral home, you are a tool in Rome’s hands to subjugate the natives of this land. You will not survive the test of time. We know it and you know it, so meanwhile, take your share of our blood and leave.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Niz: “Palestinians and levantines generally are not Arabs, they are levantine”

          Is there anything about Palestinians being Levantines in their National Covenant?

          Here is what the 1964 Palestinian National Covenant said of Palestinians:

          “We. The Palestinian Arab people, dictate and declare this Palestinian National Covenant and vow to realize it.

          Article 1. Palestine is an Arab homeland

          Article 3. The Palestinian Arab people has the legitimate right to its homeland and is an inseparable part of the Arab Nation

          Article 6. The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.

          Article 8. Bringing up Palestinian youth in Arab and nationalist manner is a fundamental national duty.

          Article 13. The destiny of the Arab Nation and even the essence of Arab existence are firmly tied to the destiny of the Palestine question;”

          Reply to Comment
    7. CigarButNoNice

      Recently, Hamas terrorists sent SMS calls to Israeli Jewish citizens following an attack, saying, “If you want to live in peace, get out of our country.” IMO, the only thing wrong with this message is the inversion of the truth; apart from that, that would be exactly what I’d say to the families of Arab colonists in Gaza:

      If you (Arab colonists occupying the Land of Israel, which all belongs to the Jews) want to live peace, get out (to any of 20+ Arab nation-states at your discretion) of our country (the Land of Israel).

      Arab imperialists and their Leftist stooges keep telling us we have all the attacks coming because we’re “occupying another people’s land.” Very well, I regard the land as Jewish by right and the Arabs as colonizing settlers and occupiers; therefore, by the same logic, I’d tell them they have all the attacks coming by squatting on land that belongs to another people.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Cigar

        A lot of us Israelis are at least starting to think along those lines. It actually makes me sad but when we have implaccable enemies supported by extreme leftist haters (this time, it used to be the extreme right), then after a while, their hatred and intolerance for our rights as a people becomes contagious and we begin to say to ourselves the old saying: “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”. We will do to them, what they have been trying and wishing to do to us for nearly 100 years now.

        Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          Exactly. I was once a believer in compromise (the two-state solution with an all-Jewish pre-1967 Israel and all-Arab Falastin in the post-1967 territories) until I realized both the Arabs and the Western Left were insistent on zero-sum thinking.

          Reply to Comment
    8. Smiley

      Casualties on both sides are unfortunate and horrible. But if Gazans ever want to live in peace, they need to reject the policies of terror. Now is the time. They have had many chances, but Gazans have chosen every single time to fill their government with terrorists, re-arm and continue to attack innocent civilians in Israel. That is why both Egypt and Israel closed their borders – both countries got tired of the lies and misuse of humanitarian supplies that got stolen and used for re-armament. Hamas teaches killing jews in their early education programs while very publicly announcing their commitment to destroy Israel and “kill the Jews”. The world has had enough lies and broken promises. The killing on both sides will not stop until BOTH sides agree to peace. Israel has demonstrated over and over a willingness to stop this madness. If Gazans ever want their own country, they need to get rid of the thugs in their midst and start to act like they deserve one. Start diplomacy and dump Hamas – it’s only bringing you more misery.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Aaron Gross

      Good article!

      Here’s my answer to the question, as an Israeli citizen who supports the operation in Gaza:

      “I’m very sorry for your terrible loss. As a father myself, I can only imagine how devastated I’d be if that happened to my children. Please accept my condolences.”

      Period. Why would I want to harangue anyone about politics at such a horrible time? I’d be willing to answer political questions if the mourner raised them, but it would seem heartless and cruel for me to raise them.

      Reply to Comment
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