4,000 attempted murders that somehow don’t count

What’s the difference between what Israel was doing and what Hamas was doing in the Gaza fighting? Really, there are two: Israel was reactive and Hamas was proactive, which is to say Hamas initiated the fighting, and Israel was targeting the military while Hamas was targeting civilians.

How do we know Israel was not targeting civilians, and certainly not children? Two ways, aside from the fact that they have no reason to target civilians and every reason not to:

  1. We have records of their issuing warnings before blowing up some targets. Given that missile launch sites are concentrated in civilian areas, launch sites are impossible to eliminate without destroying civilian property. The press is aware of this.
  2. The death count. There are fewer than 300 dead in over a week of fighting. If Israel didn’t care if they killed civilians, the count would be drastically higher. If Israel wanted to kill civilians, they could have killed more than that many within five minutes. Bomb or shell a block or two. Israel’s approach of minimizing civilian casualties is a lot more work-intensive and a lot more expensive, meaning that in circumstances like these if Israel could afford less they’d be forced to kill more to stop the missiles.

But that’s Israel. What about Hamas? We know they killed very few Israelis, due to three factors:
1. Iron Dome
2. Israelis being warned and running for bomb shelters
3. Bad aim. Bad enough that Hamas managed to kill more of their own civilians than Israelis from missiles that fell short and landed within Gaza.

More importantly, we know what factor was not involved:

Lack of trying.

Over 4,000 missiles (manufactured by Iran, which is important to know for another discussion) were fired at Israeli civilian targets.

That’s over 4,000 attempts to kill civilians. If this was being done on the ground we’d call it terrorism, which is of course what it is. Do you hear this being discussed by all those people condemning Israel? Why exactly should Israel not be trying to stop these attempts? Would we expect that of any other government under similar circumstances, particularly when some of their civilians are killed?

You might wonder what my featured image is. It’s part of a page from an app called Tzofar. Tzofar is one of multiple apps that warn Israelis of incoming missiles so they can seek shelter if they don’t hear an alarm. I first learned of the existence of these apps during the 2014 fighting. I was attending Torah study when one of the participants walked out of the room to make a phone call to Israel because the app just told them that their son had a missile headed toward his area. As it stands, he’d already been warned and had sought shelter. These attempts at killing civilians have been common enough that people developed apps for this. You can read online comparisons of them by reviewers. My rabbi has an Israeli wife who is visiting her family for the first time in over a year because of COVID. She’s of course using an app.

I downloaded this a few days ago because I was curious. What you’re seeing is a very small portion of a page. As you scroll down in the app, you see launch after launch after launch along with dates, times (some of them are the same or extremely close) and predicted destinations, including clickable maps of destinations. From what I understand, you can limit your warnings to your own region, which I’d think would be logistically necessary if you didn’t want your phone’s alarm to be going off continuously.

Every listed launch represents an attempt to kill civilians. In the United States and I assume in most countries, attempted murder is a serious crime. Apparently for a lot of people all over the world and a substantial portion of the American Left (which is to say people with whom I share most political leanings), it is not a crime if it’s done to Israelis.  I’d say Israeli Jews except that if more of these missiles had arrived at their intended targets they would also have killed Israeli Muslims though I somehow doubt that either Hamas or the watching world are thinking about Israeli Muslims in this case.

If these views of what’s going on between Hamas and Israel are based on a lack of thought, that’s typical and unfortunately expected. If they are based on something else, the nature of the problem is very different. And way too traditional, including by the Left.