At this point in the Israeli-Gazan War, about 1865 Gazans have died in the current conflict, with 9,400 wounded, and as many as 150 Israeli soldiers.
Now there is an adversitement quoting Elie Wiesel placing the blame for Gazan civilian childrens' deaths squarely on Hamas. Wiesel writes:
Moderate men and women of faith, whether that faith is in God or man, must shift their criticism from the Israeli soldiers – whose terrible choice is to fire and risk harming human shields, or hold their fire and risk the death of their loved ones – to the terrorists who have taken away all choice from the Palestinian children of Gaza."They made us do it". That's the argument for the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF's) continuing the shelling of a trapped civilian population, up to the cease-fire that started today. At its heart, however, this is a morally empty argument.
Leave aside for a moment that this is the argument of the abuser ("If she hadn't acted that way, I wouldn't have had to hit her!"). I'm going to focus on culpability, and ask: So what if Hamas moved its forces amongst civilians? So what if Israel announced it would shell or bomb a building, giving occupants "time to leave"? So what if, despite the mounting, glaringly uneven civilian death toll, Israelis still feel afraid, as Wiesel states? All that matters is this: The IDF decided to bomb those buildings, and to target those targets - and ultimately, to accept that they would kill civilians.
Look, it's widely known that Hamas will place itself in a civilian population. It's also widely known that, despite Israeli "warnings," some - many - civilians choose to stay where they are. And yet, the IDF continues to bomb those targets.
Hypothetically, suppose I saw someone I thought was threatening me, and they were surrounded by civilians. And suppose I pulled out a fully-automatic AK-47 and told them "get out of the way because I'm going to shoot this guy, you have 10 seconds". And suppose they didn't move, and I fired anyway, killing the guy, plus 9 civilians. 10 deaths because I was afraid of one guy. Even if i were justified in killing the one guy, how would a jury of my peers NOT convict me of murdering the 9 others? They would, and rightly so, because I. Chose. To. Pull. The. Trigger.
Same for the IDF. They chose to pull the trigger. Whether it's murder or not is too big a question for a court of law to decide. But I bloody well want the IDF to understand that they are not innocents in this matter, nor are they heroes. Am I arguing Hamas is innocent? Hardly. They are a cancer that Gaza would better be rid of. But at this point, the IDF's actions prove them to be little better, and hollow, morally bankrupt protestations of innocence won't elevate them one bit.