Gaza’s True ‘Disproportion’

Please read this excellent article by

Carlos Alberto Montaner,  Madrid, Spain


Israelis are being accused of suffering too few casualties in their confrontation with the Hamas terrorists.  Those who reason thus usually speak the words “disproportion” or “asymmetry” in an indignant tone.  While at this  writing close to a thousand Arab  

Palestinians have died or been wounded as a  result of the bombings, the Israeli losses amount to just over a dozen.


Tel Aviv’s critics — from whom an anti-Semitic stench often rises — do not say whether Israel should increase its quota of cadavers or if it must reduce the Arabs’ quota to achieve  the reasonable proportion of blood that will soothe the peculiar itch for parity that afflicts them. Nor do they specify the morally permissible number of casualties to end the rain of rockets that for years has been constantly falling on the heads of Israeli  civilians.



This demand for “proportionality” can only be called surprising. Until this  conflict began, history books everywhere always expressed great satisfaction and a certain chauvinistic pride when a nation’s army inflicted on the enemy  a large number of casualties, vis-à-vis a trifling price paid by “our boys.”


Israel is the only country expected to behave differently and, in fact, it

does; I know of no other nation that announces where and when it will drop  its bombs, thus enabling civilians to evacuate the territory. Of course, in this it behaves asymmetrically, because the Hamas terrorists, forever eager to cause the greatest damage possible, never announce when or where they will launch their rockets against Israel’s civilian population.


In turn, Israel has not the slightest interest in causing casualties. All it

wants is to stop Hamas’ attacks the only way it can: by eliminating the terrorists and destroying their arsenals. There’s no other way to deal with  them. Hamas is not a political organization with which agreements can be  reached, but a fanatical gang intent on wiping Israel off the map. To  achieve this objective, its members are even willing to turn their own children into human bombs, just to kill the hated Jews.


Here’s another very important asymmetry. The Jews build underground shelters  in all houses near the border; they close the schools and hide the children at the least sign of danger; they treat the death of a single soldier as a  national tragedy; they do everything possible to rescue their prisoners, and  protect the civilian population from the consequences of war.

In contrast,  the authorities in Gaza, drunk with violence, fire their machine guns  irresponsibly into the air to express joy or grief (causing numerous  injuries), do not hesitate to install their headquarters or hide their guns  in schools, mosques or hospitals, use human shields to protect themselves, turn to suicidal terrorists and reward the families of such “martyrs” with  money.


One week before Hamas broke the truce and stepped up its rocket attacks  against the Jewish state (the spark that set off this conflict), I was in  Israel, where I had been invited to deliver a lecture at the University of  Tel Aviv. As part of the contacts organized by my hosts, I visited the  Wolfson Medical Center to learn about the program “Save a Child’s Heart.” I  was very moved. It is a foundation devoted to providing heart surgery for  very poor children, most of them from the Arab world. As it happened, I  witnessed the hurried arrival of a tiny 5-day-old girl, who had to be  operated on at once to keep her from dying. She was brought in by her  mother, a woman in a black head covering that allowed me to see only her  tear-filled eyes, and her husband, a small, bearded man who watched with  amazement the indescribable kindness with which a group of doctors and  nurses treated the baby. The family came from Gaza.


 Since the war erupted, I have asked myself constantly what became of them  all.



Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born writer, journalist, and former

 professor. He is one of the most influential and widely-read columnists in  the Spanish-language media, syndicated in dozens of publications in Latin  America, Spain and the United States. He is also vice president of the  Liberal International, a London-based federation devoted to the defense of  democratic values and the promotion of the market economy. He has written  more than twenty books, including Journey to the Heart of Cuba; How and Why  Communism Disappeared; Liberty, the Key to Prosperity; and the novels A  Dog’s World and 1898: The Plot. He is now based in Madrid, Spain. 

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