Michael Jackson

One hostage or 100 Gazan kids 

A moral thought experiment.   Hypothetically, you could rescue one Israeli hostage unharmed at the price of directly killing (by your bombs, by your shooting, by disease and starvation caused by your food and medical supply restrictions) a hundred Gazan kids.   Would you do it?   If your answer is yes, make it 1,000 kids or 10,000 kids  If no, try 10 kids or even 1 kid.  This is not an issue of intent;  a dead kid is a dead kid is a dead kid regardless of the intent of the human agent causing the death.

Before we continue, I should state that this is a meaningless exercise for Hamas.  Their charter calls for a Jewish genocide so they would happily kill 100,000 Jewish kids for one ( or zero) hostage).  This moral hypothetical is only for those who place moral value on the lives of kids of any race, religion, or ethnicity.

In this hypothetical moral game, we have a lot of kids to play with.  There are over 800,000 Gazans under 14 years old. From CIA World Factbook  0-14 years: 42.53% of the total population  (male 418,751/female 397,013)   There still are over 800,000, just.  About 9,000 kids have been killed.

This moral exercise is not entirely theoretical or hypothetical.  It is a real game being played out in Khan Yunis, Rafah, Gaza  City, etc.  Famine rather than bombs may become the biggest killer.

Balance humanity and your tribal patriotism in the palm of your hand.  Weigh the scales of justice in your mind.  I insist you come up with a number.  The State of Israel holds these scales in its hand.  The State of Israel has decided.  Have you?

Since I have put you on the spot, I should say that my number is one kid killed for one hostage released.   I write this (I am ambivalent between one and zero) since I think that many hostages will be killed anyway, by Hamas or by bombing.

For the philosophers among you, this is a form of trolleyology with a vengeance.  In classic trolleyology, one has the choice of diverting a railway trolley on one track which is about to kill five people onto another track where it kills one person, i.e. killing one to save five.  Here we are killing many to save one.

About the Author
Born in London in 1949. Studied Maths at Warwick University. Came to Israel (WUJS program at Arad) in 1971. I became a citizen and served in the army in 1973. Returned to the UK in 1974. Worked in Information Systems. Married an American Orthodox woman in 1977 and moved to America. For a few years I have led a retiree philosophy class.
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