I take issue with Walid Afifi’s attempt to characterize Israel as the

sole aggressor in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the

basis that more Palestinians than Israelis were killed in 2006 ( “Casualty Counts,” Letters, March 6, 2008). In making this claim, Wafifi

indulges in a numbers game that ignores the murderous role Hamas, the

ruling Palestinian party, has played in visiting bloodshed on its own


Hamas has vowed to replace Israel with an Islamic religious state and

does not hide its intention to achieve that goal through terrorism.

Suicide bombings and the relentless rocket launchings from Gaza

targeting civilian centers like Sderot and Ashkelon attest to this

grim objective. (And as I write this letter, the news is full of the

latest atrocity – a Palestinian gunman’s attack on a Jerusalem

yeshiva in which eight boys were murdered and others badly wounded .)

The thing to remember is that the terrorists choose to run their

operations in the midst of the Palestinian civilian population. They

do so knowing full well that the Israel is must defend themselves from

such attacks, and that Palestinians will inevitably die in the

process. The death of any civilians is tragic, but there is a world of

difference between the loss of life that occurs when Israel defends

itself against terrorism, and Hamas’s practice of deliberately

targeting civilians. Hamas bears moral responsibility for the deaths

of the innocent Palestinians as surely as it is guilty of deliberately

murdering innocent Israelis.


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