More than 1,300 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its land, sea and air operations against Hamas militants on 27 December, including 400 children. Fourteen Israelis have died.This statistic in various Gaza/Israel stories on the BBC news website is terrifying. Where, previously, numbers had been qualified by the statement ‘according to Palestinian sources’, the BBC seem to be suggesting that this is an accurate figure. With the recent furor over the BBC’s decision not to screen a fundraising appeal for humanitarian relief in Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee, I can’t imagine they’d be lax about their statistics, or allow anything that could be perceived as bias in their reporting.
Fighting a war against terrorists/freedom fighters is extremely difficult, especially when those militants have a history of sheltering amongst civilians. But Israel having made the decision to respond militarily to the rockets coming from Gaza, I can’t think of a way in which they could have effectively completed their campaign (assuming that their campaign was simply to stop the rockets) without huge risk to their own military forces.
But in my view, that in no way excuses the reports of extreme violence towards civilians and children, such as in this story:
…the head of neurosurgery at the El-Arish hospital, Dr Ahmed Yahia, told me that brain scans made it clear that a number of the child victims had been shot at close range.
If all this is true, nothing in the world can justify it.