The United Nations reports that 177 Palestinians have been killed since Operation Protective Edge began a week ago. A quarter of the victims have been children. Palestinian medical sources say that some 1,280 people have been wounded.
All of this is a tragedy. It did not have to happen. Two sisters aged 13 and 11 were seriously injured by shrapnel in a village close to Beersheba earlier today.
Of course the numbers hurt on our side are considerably lower than those on the Palestinian side. We build bomb shelters and reinforced rooms in which our families can hide when Hamas fires rockets at an innocent population. By contrast, Hamas uses civilians as human shields and prefers to use the concrete at its disposal to build massive tunnels into Israeli territory in an attempt to infiltrate villages and kibbutzim close to the border for the purpose of murdering and kidnapping.
Some misguided people feel sorry for the Palestinians with their primitive rockets trying to wage a war against the might and sophistication of Israel’s armed forces. However, no one forced Hamas to start raining rockets down on Sederot’s population. The current conflict was of their choosing.
Last week’s The Economist bore the title “The Tragedy of the Arabs – A poisoned history.” That history can continue to dictate their actions and fate, or they can begin to open a new chapter based on compromise, mutual respect and “live and let live.” Israel is not about to go away and a Palestinian resistance based upon the belief that the Jewish State can be wiped off the face of the earth is bound to end in frustration, desperation and tragedy.