For the record: I defend Israel’s right to defend itself, but I fear that Gaza will quickly become a quagmire. I fear for the lives of Israelis, obviously, but I also fear for the lives of Palestinian civilians — I have friends there, in harm’s way — in part because the Israeli army (and I say this from personal experience) can be a big, rough bulldozer of an army, and in part (large part) because Hamas terrorists unblinkingly and ostentatiously use their own civilians as human shields. I’ve seen this up-close, and it’s repulsive. One story the media isn’t telling, because it’s impossible to get this story in these circumstances (especially because Israel stupidly won’t allow foreign reporters into Gaza) is how much resentment the Hamas policy of using Palestinians as human shields causes among Gaza civilians. Early reports indicate that Hamas mortar teams were firing from the UN School. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.
One more thing, speaking of pornography — we’ve all seen endless pictures of dead Palestinian children now. It’s a terrible, ghastly, horrible thing, the deaths of children, and for the parents it doesn’t matter if they were killed by accident or by mistake. But ask yourselves this: Why are these pictures so omnipresent? I’ll tell you why, again from firsthand, and repeated, experience: Hamas (and the Aksa Brigades, and Islamic Jihad, the whole bunch) prevents the burial, or even preparation of the bodies for burial, until the bodies are used as props in the Palestinian Passion Play. Once, in Khan Younis, I actually saw gunmen unwrap a shrouded body, carry it a hundred yards and position it atop a pile of rubble — and then wait a half-hour until photographers showed. It was one of the more horrible things I’ve seen in my life. And it’s typical of Hamas. If reporters would probe deeper, they’d learn the awful truth of Hamas. But Palestinian moral failings are not of great interest to many people.
Jeffrey Goldberg on the Atlantic site. It’s astonishing to me how much we know about Israel and how little we know about Hamas. Is that a failure of journalism, of politics, or of the collective imagination?