Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, expressed "deep regret" for army operations that have killed 14 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in just nine days but said the lives of Israeli citizens threatened by Qassam attacks were "even more important".Of course it isn't just Olmert saying that Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian lives. Have another look at the scores:
The deaths in three separate missile attacks overshadowed Mr Olmert's first meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, since taking office, as grieving relatives gathered here to mourn the two latest civilian victims, Fatima Ahmed, a 37-year-old pregnant mother of two small children, and her brother Zakaria, 45.
Almost three times as many Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza in the past nine days as Israeli civilians in Sderot killed by Qassam rockets in the past five years.And a view from the bereaved:
The dead woman's husband, Nidal Wahba, 39, said the couple's 18-month-old son Khaled was in hospital after having emergency surgery for injuries to his head. With heavy irony, he added: "He has been shooting rockets at Amir Peretz", the Israeli Defence Minister who lives in Sderot.Keep hoping.
But Mr Wahba, who works for an aluminium fabrication firm, said he wanted to see an end to violence on both sides. "We are against all this. We don't want to teach our children violence. I wouldn't like to see this happen to Israeli people."
The attack came amid signs of progress in talks between Fatah and Hamas designed to reach an agreement on a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel. Mr Wahba said: "There are people in Gaza who want to make war against Israel and people who want to make peace. I want the Palestinians to have one goal and that should be peace."
Of the missile strike which killed his wife and brother-in-law, he added: " I hope it will be the last one."