Who’s to Blame for Palestinian Deaths?

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No one, least of all Israel, disputes that the deaths of Palestinian civilians is tragic. That’s why Israel did not object to Secretary of State John Kerry’s pledge of $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza– the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza is immense.

If we really believe that Hamas is using innocent people as human shields (we do), if we really believe that Israel is doing all it can to prevent needless suffering (we do), if we are really proud that Israel itself provides humanitarian aid to Gazans (we are and it does), then how can we object to U.S. humanitarian aid?

Israel doesn’t object and we shouldn’t either. For more on Kerry’s  pledge and his commitment to Israel, see Kerry’s exchange with CNN’s Candy Crawley.

Hamas, not Israel, is responsible for Palestinian casualties. Israel must protect its citizens. Hamas leaves Israel no choice when it launches rockets from densely populated areas, stores weapons in and around hospitals and homes, and discourages civilians from leaving the area. That is why so many more Palestinians than Israelis have died–not because Israel is targeting civilians, but because despite Israel’s unprecedented efforts, Hamas has deliberately created a situation where Israel cannot defend its citizens without inflicting civilian casualties.

The ultimate answer is political. Israel has the military capacity to turn Gaza into a parking lot, but it won’t, because Israel holds itself to a higher moral standard than other western countries. But there is no military solution anyway. Even Syria’s Assad, who operates under no moral constraints, cannot solve his problems militarily.

The theory of the so-called unity government with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which is still technically in place, is that a technocratic government with no Hamas members would hold elections in Gaza and that the Palestinian Authority would then push Hamas out of power. That’s part of the reason Hamas is ramping up the terror. Hamas wants to prevent a moderate solution by strengthening the hand of extremists on all sides.

A Pew poll conducted before the Gaza operation showed that 63% of Gazans disapproved of Hamas, and a more recent poll shows that the Gaza public rejects Hamas. They fly the Hamas flag and show solidarity with Hamas against Israel, but the polling seems to show that they would reject Hamas if given a Palestinian alternative.

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Cartoons Courtesy of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen http://drybonesblog.blogspot.com/ and The Cartoon Kronicles @ http://cartoonkronicles.

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