How many more casualties?

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, December 8:

The numbers don’t lie. They never do. In the past month, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces was 45 times greater than the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians. The Palestinian dead included 13 minors. All in one deadly month. The last name on the list is Ayman Abu-Mahdi, a 10-year-old boy who had come home from school and gone out to get a little air with his siblings and friends. He was sitting on a bench in front of his house. The time: 15 hours before the cease-fire in Gaza.

The last casualty? Of course not. In the first week after the cease-fire, Israel had already killed five more in the West Bank. The last child to die? No again. This past Sunday, soldiers killed 15-year-old Mahmoud al-Jabji in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. The last casualty in Gaza? That, too, is hard to believe. The last only until this cease-fire goes up in flames, like all its predecessors.

For a week, Ayman lay dying in the pediatric intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Only his uncle, Abdel Hayy Abu-Mahdi, was permitted to accompany him that terrible night, when he was transferred in grave condition from the hospital in Gaza to Israel. It took another six days of running around until his father, too, was permitted to see his son. Hours later, the boy was dead. The youngest son of Najah and Abdel Qader al-Mahdi passed away early Saturday morning. His body was wrapped in a bright blue shroud and transported back to Gaza. In the afternoon, he was buried in the cemetery opposite his house, not far from the spot where he had been shot a week earlier.

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