[W]e are told that Gaza suffered 1,300 killed and up to 4,000 wounded. These numbers come exclusively from Hamas sources and have not been independently verified. In fact, the numbers have been challenged by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera [automatic translation here], which put the number of dead between 500 and 600, the majority of whom were young men. Others suggest that as many as 1,000 may have been killed, the majority Hamas fighters.
Certainly the humanitarian crisis in Gaza evokes sympathy. But the full and complete responsibility for that crisis lies at the feet of Hamas. The Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (published on the West Bank) reported on the Abd Rabbo family. The Abd Rabbos had the misfortune to own a farm that overlooked the Israeli town of Sderot. This, the newspaper reports, turned it into an ideal military position for the Palestinian fighters, from which they have launched hundreds of rockets into southern Israel during the last few years. "The Abd Rabbo family members emphasize that they are not (Hamas) activists and that they are still loyal to the Fatah movement, but that they were unable to prevent the armed squads from entering their neighborhood at night. One family member, Hadi (age 22) said: 'You can’t say anything to the resistance (fighters), or they will accuse you of collaborating (with Israel) and shoot you in the legs.'"
As in Jenin, Israel took extraordinary measures to limit civilian casualties in Gaza. Reporting in the Weekly Standard, Max Boot notes that the IDF made hundreds of thousands of phone calls and dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets warning civilians to vacate sites of impending attacks. "When the Israeli Air Force detected Palestinian civilians atop buildings," Boot writes, "it dropped tiny bombs designed to cause little damage. Only when the civilians had cleared off did the air force drop larger munitions that flattened the structure."
Monday, February 02, 2009
Mona Charen looks at "The Palestinian Myth Machine" in National Review: