Hamas Turns Schools into Battlegrounds—Israel Gets the Rap

It’s been somewhat quieter here these last few days in my town of Beersheva in southern Israel, with fewer rocket alarms. Hamas keeps getting pounded by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and an Israeli official says that “Hamas’s rocket stockpiles have dwindled and Hamas has ‘only a few dozen’ rockets remaining with a range longer than 45 kilometers (28 miles).”

Another kind of noise, though, continues full-blast. Scanning the news, I read, “At least 19 die as Gaza school is shelled.” Those brutal Israelis—what have they done now? Further down the page, one finds:

“According to the IDF initial inquiry, it suggests that militants fired mortars at IDF soldiers from the vicinity of the UNRWA school in Jabalya,” a spokeswoman told the Financial Times. “The soldiers responded by firing toward the origins of the fire.”

That would make sense; mortars are lethal, and if someone was firing them at you, you would have to fire back. If the soldiers were those of any country in the world, their countrymen would want them to do just that, not to mention their parents, mates, children and so on.

The headline “At least 19 die as Gaza school is shelled” gives, of course, a different impression—some sort of deliberate targeting of a school, of all things. It is not the kind of wording Israel would want, but it is definitely the kind of wording Hamas wants, since it makes Israel look bad and serves Hamas’s cause.

But there’s another issue lurking here: what were “militants” doing “in the vicinity” of a school in the first place?