I recently attended a black-tie gala in Ottawa. The honouree was a distinguished diplomat recognized for her efforts to promote women peace and security around the world. She began her comments by equating the pain, fear and despair facing the people in Gaza and in Israel. I sat in disbelief. Was this esteemed woman equating the grief in the two societies? In Israel, where families were butchered, where women were raped, where children were beheaded or burned in an oven with that of Gaza where so many were jubilant and accepting of the savagery unleashed on Israel? Are we so morally bankrupt that we cannot distinguish between the two realities? At one point in an interview between MSNBC’s Katy Tur and Naftali Bennett, former prime minister of Israel, he held up a photo of Kfir Bibas, a nine-month Israeli-Argentinian baby, kidnapped from his home by Hamas. The reporter acknowledged the pain the family must be experiencing but then commented that undoubtedly there are Palestinians who can show similar images of their own kids who have died. Tur then continued to discuss the notion of a ceasefire. Sadly, her gratuitous comment was left unchallenged. A proper response should have been “No, there are no Palestinians who can show photos of their babies who were kidnapped by Israeli soldiers, or young women raped by Israeli soldiers, or videos of half-naked and bloodied Palestinian women being dragged through the streets of Israel to the applause of the citizens of Israel.” If we are to find a just peace in the Mideast we cannot blind ourselves to the facts simply because they are disturbing or inconvenient. Any loss of life is a tragedy. Much of the world likes to suggest there is a moral equivalency between the acts of barbarism deliberately perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilian men, women and children with the inadvertent loss of civilian lives in Gaza in a war started by Hamas. There is not. There is no moral equivalency between Hamas, a terrorist organization committed to the extermination of the State of Israel, and the State of Israel making best efforts to adhere to the international rules of armed combat while protecting and defending its citizenry. Attempts to portray the actions of Hamas and Israel as moral equivalents is disingenuous and an affront to human decency. Alan Williams Ottawa, Ont.