In a letter to the editor Aug. 8 (“Palestinian threat to their own children should be spotlighted”), George Howitt of Portland makes the convoluted argument that the deaths of 450 children in Gaza were not the fault of the Israeli army, but the fault of Hamas because Hamas placed its rocket sites in congested civilian areas.

This logic is what George Orwell dubbed “double think.” It has become a routine practice for Israel. It is a classic case of blaming the victim.

Incidentally, in the latest war, there are documented cases of Israeli soldiers forcing Palestinians to act as human shields by placing them in front of open windows and firing behind them.

Howitt quotes Golda Meir, who famously said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

Noted Israeli journalist Uri Avnery calls this an oversimplification, while reminding us that Meir also said, “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” Avnery concludes that this survivalist-at-all-costs mentality has given way to a national Israeli paranoia.

I think it behooves Israel to examine its decades-long narrative. Fear leads to excesses, which have been borne out in “Operation Securing the Borders,” where Israel has killed 1,960 civilians and injured another 9,906 civilians.

Pat Taub

Portland