The Middle East and the deaths of innocents

March 26, 2011

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IN HIS March 16 op-ed “Massacre of the innocents,’’ Jeff Jacoby describes in heart-rending terms the murder of three small Israeli children and their parents. Like Jacoby, I cannot even begin to fathom how any sane person could commit, much less justify, such crimes. Like so many other acts of horrendous violence against the innocent, these murders remind us of the awful depths human beings are capable of reaching.

Thinking about the deaths of Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children in Itamar, I recalled how I felt two years ago when Israeli forces launched an all-out attack on the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Between about 550 and 1,200 civilians were killed in the attack, and what especially saddened and enraged me was that about 300 were Palestinian children. They didn’t die the way the Fogel children did. Their throats weren’t slit. Their hearts weren’t stabbed. But they died in equally horrendous ways — from tank shells, mortars, anti-personnel weapons, and white phosphorus explosives.

As I reflect upon how much suffering the people of Gaza experienced during Operation Cast Lead, I can only shake my head and, like Jacoby, wonder “what explains such unspeakable evil?’’

George Capaccio