Now featured at the website, the Commonweal editors on the events in Gaza:
With Israel again bombarding Gaza and gathering troops for another potentially devastating incursion into the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave, it is tempting to think that nothing really changes in the Middle East, and especially in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But to think that would be a mistakeespecially for friends of Israel.It is not clear what precipitated this latest confrontation. There is no question that rocket attacks from Gaza increased dramatically in recent months, or that some kind of Israeli response was inevitable. ...Knowledgeable observers think neither Hamas nor Israel wants to reenact the carnage of Operation Cast Lead four years ago. That wrenching assault resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Only thirteen Israelis were killed. If Hamas wants to avoid repeating such a calamity, why would it provoke Israel in this manner? One theory is that a show of military bravado would enhance its status across the new political landscape of the Arab world, especially in comparison with its more moderate Palestinian rival, Fatah. A demonstration of robust military capabilitysome rockets provided by Iran can now reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalemmight also reinvigorate support among Gazas beleaguered and disgruntled population. Hamas also counts on the fact that Israel has no interest in re-occupying Gaza with its 1.6 million Palestinians. Nor is it in Israels interest to repeat its brutal three-week 200809 siege. Operation Cast Lead was seen by many in the international community as disproportionate if not immoralsome claim Israel committed war crimesand contributed significantly to the growing isolation of the Jewish state.