Benjamin Disraeli used to say, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics". He might have been prophesying the media coverage of Operation Cast Lead (or any other Arab-Israeli military campaign, for that matter). I have written before on this space about the twisted use of numbers in the propaganda war against Israel. But nothing changes, after all and pictures of dead Palestinian civilians are much hotter news, sell more newspapers and garner higher ratings than pictures of the destroyed rocket-launchers they were protecting (willingly or not) with their own bodies.
Israeli civilians have been killed by Hamas terrorist missiles. It is true that the number of Palestinians killed is higher (we will just have to take it on trust that they really were civilians, I suppose – the Palestinians have always been so truthful about this, after all…), but proportionality, in law and in logic, is measured, not by the actual damage caused to the side accused of disproportionality, but by the potential damage thatwould have been caused had that side not taken action. So let’s just examine that, shall we?
Forty minutes ago, a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip scored a direct hit on an eight-storey apartment block in Ashdod. By some miracle, only two people were slightly wounded. Thirteen others are being treated for shock and trauma. Another rocket, from the same volley, hit a house in Ashkelon. My aunt lives in Ashkelon. She doesn’t have a bomb shelter.
Let me give you a few more examples:
On Wednesday, a Hamas terrorist rocket aimed at Beersheba, scored a direct hit on a school. Miraculously, no-one was hurt, because the Beersheba Municipality had decided that morning that there would be no school that day, so the place was empty. Do you know why that decision was taken, my friends? It was because the day before, a Hamas terrorist rocket landed on a kindergarten in the same neighbourhood. Again, by the merest luck, the toddlers had left shortly before (but I doubt the Hamas terrorists knew that when they fired their missiles).
Hamas deliberately targets civilians . The Palestinian civilians killed by Israel, on the other hand, were not deliberately targeted but died because Hamas chose to use them as human shields. This kind of terrorist rocket attack has been going on for EIGHT YEARS. When Israel responded with pre-emptive attacks on the rocket-launchers, we were accused of being assassins. When we adopted the policy of closing the border passes and applying economic sanctions (exactly as the West did to Iraq prior to the war), we were accused of collective punishment and of starving the civilian population (even though we did allow essential food and medical supplies in). Every time the Hamas terrorists fired rockets at our civilian population, the governments of the U.S.A and of the E.U. urged us to display restraint. For how long, my friends? How long were we supposed to let them continue to bomb and shell our cities and trust to luck that only 2 or 3 Israelis would be killed (for the sake of preserving "proportionality")?
How long would you wait if it was your cities that were being bombed, my friends? How long would you wait before striking back, not in retaliation but to take out their rocket launchers and destroy their terrorist infrastructure? Would you wait 8 years? Would you wait 8 months? 8 weeks? Would you wait even 8 days?
Ah, but isn’t it strange, I hear some of you say, that Israel has such low casualty figures, despite the thousands of terrorist missiles that have been fired at us from Hamasland over the past eight years? Such luck is simply too good to be true.
Luck? Well, maybe. Or maybe something more. Maybe – just maybe – Someone up there is looking out for us. Maybe He is protecting His own.