In the confusing dust of claim and counterclaim by both sides, we believe the Israeli use of live ammunition – to kill this many people and injure more than 2 000 others – was disproportionate to the threat to Israel at the time.
There is, so far, no evidence of any Israeli casualties, which tends to give the lie to Israeli claims that their country’s borders were in danger of being engulfed by a tsunami of armed Palestinians.
There should surely have been other, nonlethal, ways of negating the threat posed by the crowd, even if it numbered up to 40 000.
We think the South African government did the correct thing in recalling its ambassador to Israel, until further notice, as a way of signalling this country’s condemnation of the killings.
No doubt, the views in this country will be as deeply polarised as those on the ground in Israel and Gaza. And, in few cases, will those on either side be prepared to listen to the other.
The ongoing violence shames all of us as human beings.