Terrorism never justified

Terrorism is the deliberate violent targeting of civilians for political and/or military ends.

Those who use terrorism always try to make it seem legitimate.

Hamas sends rockets into southern Israel because Israel has taken former Arab land and homes, and Israel has been economically blockading Gaza by land and by sea. Israel attacks civilian sites such as hospitals, ambulances, schools, and universities because it claims that Hamas uses them for military purposes.

All of the claims on both sides might be true, but none justifies terrorism.

There are, however, five aspects to the recent Israeli campaign in Gaza that make the terrorism there especially troubling.

First is the scale of the harm. Something like half of the approximately 1,300 killed were civilians, many of them children. Many more were wounded.

Second is the type of weaponry used, especially white phosphorous which is one of the cruelest of weapons that burns to the bone and is internationally forbidden in crowded urban areas like Gaza.

Third is Israel’s banning of the press from Gaza in the vain hope that much of the suffering it inflected would go unreported.

Forth is Israel’s striking of the facilities of the U.N. and other international relief organizations.

Fifth, all of this was done by a military supplied by the U.S. government and paid for by us U.S. taxpayers.

The blood is thus on our hands too.

I regret that several of my fellow American Jews have attempted to justify the unjustifiable in letters to the News-Gazette.

Of all people, we should be the first to decry the infliction of such suffering and insist that we never pay for it again.