Columns


What if 35 Arabs had died and 800 Israelis?

Impunity is the word that comes to mind. More than twelve hundred Palestinians dead. That's infinitely more than twice the total dead of flight MH17 over Ukraine. And if you refer only to the "innocent" dead — that is no Hamas fighters, young sympathisers or corrupt Hamas officials, with whom the Israelis will, in due course, have to talk — then the women and children and elderly who have been slaughtered in Gaza are still well over the total number of MH17 victims.

And there's something very odd, isn't there, about our reactions to these two outrageous death tolls. In Gaza, we plead for a ceasefire but let them bury their dead in the sweltering slums of Gaza and cannot even open a humanitarian route for the wounded.

For the passengers on MH17, we demand — immediately — proper burial and care for the relatives of the dead. We curse those who left bodies lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine — as many bodies have been lying, for a shorter time, perhaps, but under an equally oven-like sky, in Gaza.

Because — and this has been creeping up on me for years — we don't care so much about the Palestinians, do we? We care neither about Israeli culpability, which is far greater because of the larger number of civilians the Israeli army has killed. Nor, for that matter, Hamas's capability.

Of course, God forbid that the figures should have been the other way round. If 800 Israelis had died and...

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