Some recent media coverage has treated the latest flare-up between Israelis and Palestinians as a tit-for-tat battle: a kidnapping for a kidnapping, an air strike for a rocket. This piece cites the conflict and rockets fired by Palestinians as the reason for shutting down a local airport. But as more and more news agencies report, this is a lopsided bloodbath. I'm hardly going to unpack this entire conflict in a blog post—and I don't suggest for a second that these numbers are the end-all narrative about a very complicated issue. But it's worth noting, as NPR reported this morning, that 649 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza during the recent conflict, while only 31 Israelis, 29 of whom were soldiers, have been killed. This Vox chart, despite being a couple days old, is telling:
This chart shows every Israeli and Palestinian death since fighting began July 8. http://t.co/s7HedgEmDC pic.twitter.com/T8ysRZEPRr
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 22, 2014
The graphic in Section 2 over here shows Palestinians have borne the brunt of this death toll for years. Israel is also attacking hospitals. Congressman Jim McDermott pointed out this afternoon in a statement that international law protects the neutrality of these medical facilities:
As a physician, I am distressed by reports that Israel has attacked hospitals, ambulances and medical personnel in its on-going military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Physicians for Human Rights, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the International Committee on the Red Cross/Red Crescent have reported that at least 11 medical facilities in Gaza have come under attack, some of them repeatedly. Palestinian health and emergency workers are unable to reach the dead and wounded in many parts of Gaza due to the danger of being attacked themselves...
I call on America’s long-time friend and ally Israel to abide by international humanitarian law and cease all attacks against health facilities and workers. This is a tragic conflict on both sides and there is a moral and fundamental obligation for all involved to care for the sick and injured in Gaza, as well as to protect medical personnel who put themselves in harm’s way.
My father's side of the family is Jewish—and all of them who were alive at the time were killed in the Holocaust, save for my grandmother and her sister (who was captured and tortured in a concentration camp and freed on her ninth life). I get the fury with anti-Semitism. I get the fury at Hamas and Palestinians who engage in terrorism. But I also get the fury at seeing my government, the US, funding and arming Israel while it causes most of this bloodshed.