|U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D., Minn.|
For the average reader in the U.S., it's likely difficult to maintain an objective appraisal of this continuing tragic conflict, what with the more heat than light responses from both the extreme right and extreme left. Should we be surprised that local lefties organized a protest against Sen. Al Franken, currently engaged in a vitriolic campaign with his Republican opponent? The lefties are mad at Franken for his supposed biased support of Israel.
But back to the Times editorial:
In the first good news in a long time, a 72-hour cease-fire appeared to be holding on Wednesday as Israelis and Palestinians tallied what was lost, and gained, during the latest war over the desperate Gaza Strip.
It was easiest to count the losses. More than 1,800 Palestinians, a majority of them noncombatants, and 67 Israelis have been killed. United Nations officials said 408 Palestinian children were killed and 2,502 injured. The physical damage in Gaza is estimated at $6 billion.
There are important but less tangible costs: the way ordinary Israelis have had to live in fear of rocket attacks; increasingly bitter strains on Israel’s relations with the United States; international criticism of Israel — and the outrage of anti-Semitic protests and violence in Europe. There seems to be little room left in Israeli politics for those who would end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and create an independent Palestinian state.
Both sides are tallying the blame. In too many cases, Israel launched weapons that hit schools and shelters and failed to adequately protect Palestinian citizens. But Hamas knowingly targeted Israeli civilian centers in violation of any civilized standard and launched weapons from populated areas in what looks like a deliberate effort to draw Israeli fire on innocents.
Both sides are claiming victory, Israel for wiping out 32 underground tunnels that Hamas intended for attacks on Israel, and Hamas for still being alive. In a mockery of its claim to have a political arm independent of its armed wing, political officials of Hamas were crowing about its determination to regroup and attack again.