According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site, 1,119 Israelis were killed as a result of Palestinian “terrorism” and violence from 29 September 2000 to 1 May 2006. In other words, a little more than 1,000 Israelis were killed in a little less than six years (or about 70 months). Over the same period, 4,064 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli Defense Force (this excludes the recent attacks in Gaza).
At the rate the Israeli military has been killing Lebanese, it will take about three weeks to reach the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians during the 2000-2006 period (not to mention those who will likely die as a result of shortages, displacement, and lack of access to medical facilities). If, for the sake of comparison, we were to extrapolate, at the current kill rate Israel, by some accounts the world’s fourth most powerful military, would kill 63,000 Lebanese over 70 months. In other words, the ratio would be about 1:63—that is, one Israeli killed by Palestinian “terrorism” for every 63 Lebanese killed by the IDF. At this rate, it would only take Israel eight more weeks to kill as many Lebanese as U.S. soldiers have fallen in Iraq since March 2003 (around 2,500). With Israel hinting that it may soon embark upon a full invasion of Lebanon, and given that most foreigners will have been evacuated, the kill rate can only increase.
Of course numbers alone do not mean much, and it is hard to imagine that Israel would continue (or be allowed to continue) an aggression of this kind for that long a period of time. But this little exercise should nevertheless help to dispel the notion that Israel’s response to Hezbollah is measured and proportionate.