If recent letters regarding the Israeli-Hamas conflict are any indication, there’s a stunning ignorance of the rules of war as they apply to this case. According to the Geneva Conventions, it is against the rules of war to engage in unprovoked aggression against one’s neighbors; to deliberately target civilians and protected sites such as residential neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, religious sites, etc.; and to use civilians as human shields or use protected sites for military purposes. Doing the last removes such protections and makes the site a military target subject to counterattack.
Hamas was violating all of these prohibitions on a daily basis. They were firing rockets into Israel at a rate of more than 100 per day; rockets are so inaccurate that their only purpose is to randomly spread death, destruction and terror. These same rockets were fired from protected sites. Israel has an absolute right and duty to protect its citizens, and Hamas must know not only this but that such actions endanger its own people.
As such, the blood of the Palestinians killed by Israeli counterstrikes is on the hands of Hamas, which wantonly hazards the lives of its own civilians to garner sympathy for its cause. In short, what Hamas is doing is the equivalent of a child killing his parents in cold blood then demanding sympathy on the basis of being an orphan. Frankly, I don’t know what’s worse — that Hamas engages in such barbarism or that so many seem foolish enough to fall for its trickery.
AARON M. BARR