Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Letter to Gazans: How do you stomach killing children every day?

Dear Citizens of Gaza,

Damn. And a lot stronger words, too.

The headlines are out - Israeli shell crashes into UN school. The school was being used as a shelter, according to you. You claim 30 are dead in the attack.

There are all sorts of mitigating possiblities, of course:

1) The story may turn out to be as false as the rest of the Hamas propaganda, like that video of a supposed Israeli attack on a Gaza market - that turned out to be a video of Hamas rockets exploding at a parade of their own.

2) I am always mindful, too, of the way Hamas makes up these stories, sometimes embellishing and sometimes creating them outright. You know, photos with the same victim dressed up different ways, and counting the people they have killed on their own (as “collaborators”) as though they were casualties of Israel’s self-defense.

3) And then it’s possible this was just a misfire, like the Israeli tank that misfired and killed three IDF soldiers yesterday.

4) And, of course, I know very well that Hamas loves to use UN equipment to murder Israelis, and that Hamas uses hospitals, mosques and schools for their weapons. We even have this video from 2007 of them firing rockets from a UN school. Certainly, initial Israeli reports that rockets had been fired at Israel from that school have strong credibility, with that history.

Update: AP now confirms that Hamas was firing from the school. "The Israeli army said its soldiers came under fire from militants hiding in the school and responded. It accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of "cynically" using civilians as human shields. Residents confirmed the account, saying militants were seen staging attacks from the area." Still terrible - but now much more understandable. (h/t Jameel)

But until I know the whole story, I’m going to be unable to rest or focus or concentrate, or even breathe. The idea of killing people - and, potentially, children - is a horror. It’s one thing to fight back against a terrorist, but killing children is just horrible.

Which makes me wonder: Hamas does this every day, firing rockets into civilian populations, blowing themselves up in cafes, on street corners, you name it. You, Gazans, support this kind of activity.

How do you guys do it? How do you go to sleep at night, knowing that you have massacred children during the day? How do you look at your own children, kiss your sons and daughters Good Night, while your minds still harbor images of a day’s work murdering Israeli kids?

We’re on the ground in Gaza because we don’t have a choice, because we gave and then pleaded and then warned, all to no avail. But you - you guys have a choice. You could accept us as neighbors, and leave us alone.

And you choose to murder children?!


  1. Women in tents give birth to soldiers.

    You should read a little more widely.

  2. Neat line, but what does it have to do with anything?