As with all wars, the war in Gaza is being measured by its dead. According to a UN report published three days ago, nearly 1800 Palestinians have died in this latest war on Gaza, 377 of them children (although by now, the numbers will already be a bit higher).
There are several campaigns and initiatives to humanize these latest victims of Israeli aggression, in an attempt to make sure that they are not just numbers to fall into the chasms of history but rather human beings with names and stories.
But we must also measure this war by its injured, lest we forget about Gaza when the bombing stops. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has also reported that nearly a third of the 9000 who have been injured are children.
Here we must be clear, these injuries are not scrapes and bruises. These are serious, life altering injuries, including amputations, the loss of eyes, and brain damage. And all in the name of Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists.
Just two days ago I visited St Joseph’s hospital in my neighborhood in East Jerusalem and I saw no terrorists. Instead I saw children with truly terrible injuries.
One, was a 14-year-old girl who was crying out in pain from a seriously infected leg. In Gaza, the hospital had put a cast on it but the soft tissue had become infected. The staff at St Joseph were trying to save her leg. We were subsequently told by the nurses that the girl’s mother had died in a bombing but she had not been told yet.
Many of the children had vacant hollow eyes, staring at the walls oblivious to their many East Jerusalemite visitors. Our visit with simple presents seemed futile, especially as most of them would be returning to Gaza after receiving the care that they needed. How could we hope to alleviate their suffering even for a moment when on the horizon is their return to an apocalyptic prison?