Today's letter: Illogical reporting

19:12, Nov 19 2012

In the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, the number of people who have died is often used (and abused) to imply the theory that because more Palestinians die than Israelis, Israel must be the guiltier of the two parties.

Scratching between the surface of this logical concept shows that it fails at the first hurdle.

The reason why more Israelis have not died is because Israel does everything in its power to protect its citizens from Palestinian terror. The Iron Dome system, in which Hamas rockets are knocked out of the sky by Israeli missiles, has been implemented hundreds of times in the past days.

If those rockets had hit their targets of Israeli civilian towns, who knows how many people would have been killed. Should Israel let the Palestinian rockets do their worst simply to make the numbers more even and thereby placate those who make this argument? Of course not.

Equally, Israeli homes and other buildings have bomb shelters, and there are public bomb shelters for those who seek refuge upon hearing an air-raid siren.

Conversely, Hamas is firing rockets from civilian areas in a cynical effort to maximise Palestinian casualties if Israel responds directly to the location from where they are firing - which is a totally legitimate, indeed essential, action to take.

Israel even tries its utmost to minimise Palestinian civilian casualties - from cancelling legitimate military strikes against terrorists if there are too many Palestinian civilians at risk, to dropping thousands of leaflets over Gaza advising people to keep their distance from Hamas terrorists.

In the western conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan, the ratio of US, UK and other non-local civilians dying compared to the Iraqis and Afghans is likely to be one to the tens of thousands, which would imply that the Western countries are the far more guilty parties, if you apply the same ''numbers game'' logic. It is easy to see that your typical Londoner or New Yorker does not have a death wish obsession for Iraqis or Afghans, so why is a different logic applied when it comes to Israelis?

Givatayim, Israel


The Southland Times