July 24, 2014
That’s the number, as of Wednesday: 155 children. On Wednesday morning, another three were killed. Ten children per day, on average. According to the UN, it’s more than the number of Hamas combatants that were killed. The Al Mezan Center For Human Rights has published the names of 132 of them. The Telegraph, a British newspaper, published a death chart, in which it included the names of children, the dates of their death and their ages. It included babies in diapers, children, and youths. Each child and the name given to them by their parents. Four-year-old Bitul, three-year-old Suhila, six-month-old Bissan, four-year-old Siraj, two-year-old Nur – these were toddlers from among the 25 members of the Abu Jama’e family, killed alongside 127 others.
The chart doesn’t lie: “Protective Edge” is “Cast Lead 2,” and it will overcome its predecessor in the amount of horrors. The chart wasn’t printed in Israel, nor will it be. There’s no place for it. We’re at war. Hamas is guilty of their deaths. Israel Air Force pilots did not mean to kill them.
But don’t fear: if the chart were to be published, it would be received with unfeeling, or even, it’s hard to believe, outright joy, by the brainwashed public in this country. “Even Hitler was a child,” reads graffiti currently sprayed near the entrance to Netivot.
The website “Walla!” published talkback comments on an article about the four children killed on the Gaza beach. Shani Moyal: “I couldn’t care less that Arab children were killed, too bad it wasn’t more. Well done to the IDF.” Stav Sabah: “Really, these are great pictures. They make me so happy, I want to look at them again and again.” Sharon Avishi: “Only four? Too bad. We hoped for more.” Daniela Turgeman: “Great. We need to kill all the children.” Chaya Hatnovich: “There isn’t a more beautiful picture than those of dead Arab children.” Orna Peretz: “Why only four?” Rachel Cohen: “I’m not for children dying in Gaza. I’m for everyone burning.” Tami Mashan: “As many children as possible should die.”
From their names and accompanying pictures, all the commenters are women. They shop in the stores near your homes, they go to the same movies and vacation spots as you. They’re Israeli. No one would think of firing them from their jobs, like they are doing now to Arabs and left-wingers. No one will condemn them, no one will attack or threaten them. They’re normal, according to the Israeli norms at least, where compassion for the other side is considered treason, and beastly criticism is considered patriotism.
But why blame the talkback ladies? Listen to the remarks of generals, politicians and analysts, as they all speak the same words, ever so sweetly.
Such diabolical talk would not be heard in any other nation. Even the most extreme remarks are sufficient in expressing the current atmosphere. Not many Israelis will try to imagine the 155 dead children as just that, children. They won’t try to see them, to think of their fate, to reflect on their sad lives and their deaths.
Israeli soldiers are fighting and dying in Gaza now, and the people’s heart is full of worry and fear for them. Nothing is more understood, human or natural. The rockets also continue to fall. But aside from those fears, there exists a complete lack of compassion for the victims on the other side, even for those children, dying in gruesome numbers, which will go down as a new record of shame, even in the Israeli record book.
The pictures coming out of Gaza – and not in the Israeli media, which begrudgingly posts them to fulfill its obligation – should upset every Israeli. It’s possible that Gazans would be happy to celebrate dead Israeli children, and despite that happiness, there haven’t been any. If we were to witness such a phenomenon, we would be shocked, and rightly so. But we can ignore the wholesale killing of dozens of Palestinian children, day after day, or perhaps even celebrate it. After all, “Even Hitler was a child.”