|December 8, 2012 at the end of a previous battle in this ongoing|
war: hundreds of thousands of men, women and children rally to express
support for Hamas' rocket-fueled brand of jihad [Image Source]
The loudest condemnations stem from a perception that Israel has somehow done much worse than the civilized world demands of itself in causing deaths and suffering among Gaza's innocents. Casualty tables, always based on Hamas estimates, are being quoted with pseudo-righteous indignation along with demands that someone on the Israeli side pay a price. No such indignation appears to have been expressed about the more-than-3,000 rockets fired at Israeli communities with total indiscrimination during the past month.
The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, shows that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided. At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties.
It seems unlikely that there will ever be a definitive breakdown both sides accept: Israel contends that some of the casualties were caused by errant Hamas rockets or mortars. Human rights groups acknowledge that people killed by Hamas as collaborators and people who died naturally, or perhaps through domestic violence, are most likely counted as well.
The UN estimate that there has been an average three-to one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts worldwide. Three civilians for every combatant killed. That is the estimated ratio in Afghanistan: three to one.In Iraq, and in Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to be four-to-one. Anecdotal evidence suggests the ratios were very much higher in Chechnya and Serbia. In Gaza, it was less than one-to-one.
We add this:
It's moments like this that rational people are entitled to ask how it is that the inflammatory, self-serving and often-absurd claims of the jihadists of Hamas are routinely (and correctly) discounted in normal times as being fact-light propaganda... but when there are dead bodies and the rockets of war, politicians and reporters tread oh-so-carefully to avoid any perception that they are favoring one side or the other. At such times, the Hamas disinformation industry, working overtime, finds far too many takers.
We say the threats of the terrorists should always be taken seriously. Their claims of victimhood, sacrifice and fury, on the other hand, need always to be met with maximum skepticism. Buying the terrorist's appalling arguments means standing with them.