How can Israel justify?

As the terrible conflict between Israel and Gaza develops, the blame for Palestinian deaths has been terribly skewed.

CNN reported July 21 that more than 500 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict. Yet, according to the United Nations’ estimates, 70 percent of these deaths have been civilians uninvolved in the fighting. It seems the only crime these people have been guilty of is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And with no safe haven for many Palestinians, all of Gaza is the wrong place.

Since Israel began “defending” itself against numerous Hamas attacks, Israeli officials have shifted the blame of these civilian deaths to Hamas militants, claiming the militants are using Palestinians as “human shields” to protect their weapons and tunnel systems.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN that he regrets the number of Palestinian civilians killed in this conflict, but he immediately shifted the blame to Hamas.

“The Hamas deliberately target civilians and deliberately hides behind civilians,” Netanyahu said. “They embed their rocketeers their rocket caches, their other weaponry from which they fire, which they use to fire on us, in civilian areas. What choice do we have? We have to protect ourselves.”

But the situation prompts a question: If Hamas is guilty of using civilians as a human shield, isn’t Israel guilty of just shooting the hostages to get to the criminals?

Compared to Hamas’ fizzled attacks, Israel has proved, after weeks of deadly attacks, to have the upper hand with superior technology, weaponry and armed forces. And now, the uneven match-up has left the international community pleading for a cease-fire.

With Israel’s low casualties and superior forces, how can it justify killing hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children as self-defense? And how can it pin the blame solely on Hamas?

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon