I’ve already mentioned that the deaths of seven civilians on a Gaza beach– apparently from misdirected Israeli shelling– was a tragedy. The efforts of Hamas to capitalize on the deaths– ending their “cease fire” on Israeli terrirtory, for instance– borders on farce.
Anyone who knows anything about Hamas knows they don’t care about civilian Palestinian deaths unless they can exploit them. For instance, just a week ago the Associated Press reported from Gaza, “Three bystanders were killed in a clash between Fatah and Hamas forces, and relatives of the dead gathered at the hospital where the bodies were taken and shouted anti-Hamas slogans.”
Although I assume the deaths of those bystanders were every bit as unintentional as the deaths of the seven Palestinians on the beach, there was (of course) in the first instance no Hamas-orchestrated mass cry of outrage. Another difference is that, unlike the Israeli army in the shelling incident, Hamas did not publicly apologize for the deaths of the bystanders or launch an investigation into the circumstances.
If I had to guess, I would say that Hamas was far more enraged by Israel’s earlier killing of the Hamas-appointed Palestinian security chief and Popular Resistance Committees leader Jamal Abu Samhadana. However, since it was much easier to generate sympathy for the civilian deaths, Hamas grabbed the opportunity to link them with the Abu Samhadana killing.
Meanwhile, in another development Hamas is not publicizing, two of the Palestinians wounded in the Gaza beach explosion are being treated at Israeli hospitals. And a 60-year-old Israeli maintenance worker has been critically injured by a Qassam rocket launched from Gaza with every hope of striking “Zionist” men, women and children. Again, no apology or investigation forthcoming from Hamas.
And the moral equivalence, or worse, goes on.
Update: According to an Israeli investigation, the civilian deaths and injuries on the Gaza beach were not caused by Israeli shelling.