Question: Thirty civilians are killed by Israeli fire near a school in Gaza and the world is outraged by the tragedy, as well they should be, but at whom should the outrage be directed?
Hamas set up a mortar launch pad and http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Behind+the+Headlines/Ttragedy_school_Jebaliya_6-Jan-2009.htm fired several rounds at Israeli troops from the midst of several hundred civilians milling around outside the school. The Israelis returned fire killing the mortar crew but also killing the civilians who were close by. Secondary explosions in the school, caused by exploding weapons and ammunition caches, apparently caused some of the casualties.
Who, in this instance, is responsible for the deaths of those people? Against whom should the world's outrage be directed? The Hamas mortar crew violated international law by using a U.N. facility as a base of operations and weapons storage facility. They violated international law by using civilians as human shields. But people are angry at the Israelis who violated no law by defending themselves against the Palestinian fighters.
Hamas is in a win-win situation with respect to the use of human shields. Either Israel refuses to return fire against them which gives Hamas a tactical win, or Israel does return fire and inadvertently kills civilians which gives Hamas a public relations win. Hamas, which has no sympathy for the notion of human rights, has every incentive to continue to use civilians as shields, and it's the world's media and popular opinion which affords them that incentive. Everyone who condemns Israel for the deaths of civilians placed in the crossfire by Hamas, and who fails to loudly and forcefully condemn Hamas for using this tactic, implicitly encourages their crime and bears at least some responsibility for their deaths.
Last question: Why does the world hold Israeli Jews to a higher standard of conduct than it holds Palestinian Muslims?
See here for more details on this terrible tragedy.RLC