Hamas kills civilians, but not as many as Israel

Hamas kills civilians, but not as many as Israel

Reuters, which is slightly more objective in covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than most of its other Western counterparts, conservatively estimates that Israel’s military has killed “more than 100″ Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during the past four months of this year. Palestinians put the number higher, at more than 250. B’tselem, the besieged Israeli human rights organization ostracized by fellow Jews, reports that Israeli soldiers have killed a total of 323 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year. When it comes to counting Palestinian lives, the numbers are always fast and loose, often dictated by Israeli control and a pro-Israel Western news media that hesitates to criticize Israeli policies too harshly.

Part of the problem is that Israel never conducts complete and open investigations into the killing of civilians, unless those killed are Israeli Jews. There’s no pressure to stop.

In the very few instances where charges have been brought against Israeli soldiers, despite harsh sentences and convictions, the punishments are often revoked and the soldiers pardoned, treated as heroes by mainstream Israelis

The latest Palestinian civilian killed is Wafa al-Daghma. Israel’s military declared it conducted an “investigation” concluding al-Daghma was the “victim of Hamas terrorist actions,” even though she was killed by Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli military issued its typically weak and unconvincing declaration of “regret,” providing no details about the incident other than it’s word.

Palestinian sources said al-Daghma, a United Nation’s elementary school teacher, was killed when the Israelis exploded a bomb that ripped open her front door of her home.

Sorry. But “we’re sorry” doesn’t cut it any more.

If anything is fueling the hatred of Israel in the Arab World, it is Israel’s hypocritical military and government policies.

Civilians are routinely killed by Israeli soldiers, and there is no pressure to force Israel to stop this kind of conduct. There is no pressure on Israel because the murders have the complicity of the members of the United States Congress, which vote like broken records to defend Israel and blame everyone else. And Congress doesn’t care because the American news media cares even less.

Israel says it is more concerned about civilians than the Hamas terrorists. But the lopsided numbers which show Israel killing more civilians than Hamas challenges that claim. Challenging Israel’s assertions even more is the fact that Israel’s military uses Cluster-bomb like weapons filled with thousands of “flechettes,” tiny pieces of metal that explode in a brilliant fireball of darts that tear to shreds anyone within several thousand feet of the explosion. The flechettes are similar to the metal shrapnel found in the suicide bombs used by brainwashed Hamas surrogates.

But while the United States and Israel rightly condemn suicide bombings, they wrongly defend Israel’s use of these cluster bombs, which are illegal by International Law.

Congress voted 404 to 1 on March 5 approving a resolution denouncing Palestinian attacks which have resulted in civilian Israeli injuries and deaths, but defended Israel’s attacks which have resulted in far more Palestinian civilian killings. That is slightly weaker than the similar resolution passed July 20, 2007 by a 410 to 8 vote which unconditionally endorsed Israel’s ongoing attacks on Lebanon’s militia and civilian areas and in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s government says it is doing everything possible to avoid killing civilians while accusing Hamas of intentionally targeting Israeli civilians with their Qassam rockets, homemade firebombs that, once launched, have no control on targeting civilians, Israeli soldiers or the heavily armed Israeli settlers.

According to Israeli logic, what is really important in this battle is not whether or not you actually kill a civilian, but whether you issue a press release “regretting” the killings of civilians.

Hamas, according to Israel, intentionally tries to kill civilians. But when you compare Hamas “intentions” against Israel’s broken record claims of “we’re sorry,” the fact is Israel, without even trying, kills far more civilians than Hamas, which Israel claims tries hard.

You tell me who is worse.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and former national president of the Palestinian American Congress. He is managing editor of the Arab Americans Writers Syndicate, www.ArabWritersGroup.com and he writes for the HuffingtonPost.com