Gideon Levy, Haaretz, September 2:
Again children. Five children killed in Gaza in eight days. The public indifference to their killing – the last three, for example, were accorded only a short item on the margins of page 11 in Yedioth Ahronoth, a sickening matter in itself – cannot blur the fact that the IDF is waging a war against children. A year ago, a fifth of those killed in the “Summer Rain” operation in Gaza were children; during the past two weeks, they comprised a quarter of the 21 killed. If, heaven forbid, children are hurt in Sderot, we will have to remember this before we begin raising hell.
The IDF explains that the Palestinians make a practice of sending children to collect the Qassam launchers. However, in this case, the children killed were not collecting launchers. The first two were killed while collecting carob fruit and the next three – according to the IDF’s own investigation – were playing tag. But even if we accept the IDF’s claim that there is a general trend of sending children to collect launchers (which has not been proven), that should have brought about an immediate halt to firing at launcher collectors.
But the IDF does not care whether its victims are liable to be children. The fact is that it shoots at figures it considers suspicious, with full knowledge – according to its own contention – that they are liable to be children. Therefore, an IDF that fires at launcher collectors is an army that kills children, without any intention of preventing this. This then is not a series of unfortunate mistakes, as it is being portrayed, but rather reflects the army’s contempt for the lives of Palestinian children and its terrifying indifference to their fate.