Updated 7/18/2014, 2:53 pm
As Israel prepares for a "significant expansion" of its ground offensive in Gaza, which was launched yesterday, the world has been preoccupied by yet another major event: the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Eastern Ukraine. Children are dying in Gaza; children died on MH17. But it's always difficult to figure out how to express this without creating the effect of a "tally": counting up bodies, and using that count to draw conclusions about significance.
As The New York Times reflected this morning, "The crash dominated newspaper front pages in many European countries, relegating accounts of Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza into second place."
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is also haunted by numbers. Since the beginning of Israel's ground offensive, 20 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials and the Associated Press. Reuters puts the number of Palestinian deaths at 23. But the number sounds different when it's reported from the perspective of the Israeli government, which claims that 17 "militants" have been killed in exchanges of fire. It's unclear if this number includes any of the deaths reported by health officials in Gaza.