October 1, 2004

Skewing the Death Tolls

On July 16, 2002, HonestReporting released a communique entitled "Skewing the Death Tolls" in which they do a good job of doing just that. Their communique avoids any specific mention of numbers of children killed in this conflict. The reason for this is simply that Palestinian children are being killed at a significantly higher rate than Israeli children.

First some figures: At the time their communique was written, 73 Israeli children and 295 Palestinian children had been killed. As of now, that number has risen to 114 Israelis and 635 Palestinians. One of the most remarkable, and little known, facts in the current Intifada is that 84 Palestinian children were killed before the first Israeli child was killed. (all from rememberthesechildren.org)

Here's part of HonestReporting's communique:

Teen Newsweek, a magazine distributed to middle school students across America, published a chart illustrating the number of Palestinian and Israeli children killed since 1987. The Palestinian numbers, represented in bright red, many times exceed Israeli losses, shown in a less visible yellow. There is no explanation of circumstances how these children died. The implication is that there is equivalency -- even though the Palestinian children were killed while attempting martyrdom in the context of violent attacks on Israeli forces, while the Israeli children were killed while sitting on a public bus or in a cafe, blown up by a Palestinian suicide bomber. (emphasis added)
Is that really what HonestReporting meant to write? Considering the circumstances in which some of the Palestinian children have been killed, it seems hard to fathom that anyone could really believe that sentence to be true.

At the time of this communique, there had been 21 Palestinian children three years old or younger that had died as a result of Israeli actions. It's not possible for a child that young to even know what martydom is, not to mention seek it.

While HonestReporting thinks that the Palestinian children are apparently dying in an attempt at martydom, their communique states that the Israel children were killed "while sitting on a public bus or in a cafe". Certainly all these Israeli children were innocent victims, but so too were the vast majority of the Palestinian children. It's absurd that HonestReporting attempts to justify their deaths by blaming the victims. They were no less innocent than the Israeli children.

A simple reading of some of the circumstances behind their deaths shows this to be the case: (I'll just list a few examples, all from rememberthesechildren.org)

- October 1, 2000 Sara Hassan, 18 months, killed in car by Israeli settler gunfire to the head.
- November 7, 2000 Ahmad Khuffash, age 7, hit by a car driven by Israeli settlers.
- October 18, 2001 Riham Ward, age 12, killed in her classroom by Israeli forces gunfire to upper body.
- April 6, 2002 Rubin Khdour, age 14, killed by Israeli forces gunfire to the heart while in his home.
- April 6, 2002 Sumaya Hassan, age 6, killed by Israeli forces gunfire to the head while in a car with her pregnant mother and grandfather.
- May 16, 2002 Obeid Samer, age 7, killed by Israeli forces gunfire into his home.
- June 11, 2002 Fares Saadi, age 13, died under rubble of home demolished by Israeli forces

Were these children seeking martydom?