Although casualty counts published in the media since the start of the conflict have relied heavily on reports from Hamas, some people look at the raw numbers and conclude that Israel is not being careful enough to avoid Palestinian civilians.
But a cartoon by Gary Barker in the Times of London takes the point to an extreme. It shows an Israeli rocket apparently aimed at a Palestinian family that has no way to seek shelter other than under a battered umbrella. The title of the cartoon: The Palestinian Defense Dome, a reference to the Israeli Iron Dome.
The problem is, while Barker tries to build sympathy for the Palestinians, he turns the story on its head. In actual fact, it is Hamas, not Israel, that’s intentionally firing rockets at civilians. And while it’s true that Israelis are under the protection of the Iron Dome while the Palestinians are not, the lesson to learn is the opposite of what the cartoon is depicting.
Israel has made an incredible effort to protect its citizens from Hamas rocket fire, an effort that is not limited to the Iron Dome. There is also an enormous infrastructure of safe rooms and bomb shelters, as well as a network of early warning alarms. These were built with the intention of saving lives.
In contrast, the Palestinian leadership in Gaza, ei Hamas, has left its people exposed and vulnerable, even as Hamas terrorists fire rockets at Israel from civilian areas, inviting response fire. Hamas has diverted resources to its network of tunnels, not to save lives but to endanger the lives of Israelis in the border areas.
As GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman said this week, “With the amount of cement Hamas used to build these tunnels, it could have built two hospitals, 20 clinics, 20 schools, and 100 kindergartens.”
So instead of presenting a situation where Israel is targeting Palestinians, a more accurate cartoon would have shown the hand of Hamas behind the situation. But it’s always easier to blame Israel, even when Hamas is ultimately responsible.