...and going by what Israeli leaders are saying, there's no stopping the attacks in Gaza until Hamas bleed and is brought to their knees. The Israeli offensive which began with surprise rocket attacks -- the Israeli version of “shock and awe” -- on Saturday, has already killed hundreds.
What a bloody start to the new year for the people in Gaza.
Israel has said that the military operation in Gaza is a response to Hamas' rocket attacks in southern Israel and is therefore forcing Hamas to end its rocket barrages and military buildup.
But middle-east political analysts say that Israel's motive is "to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence".
Israel has a rep to protect. And Hamas and Palestinians and everyone else had better know that.
That display of power in Gaza is for the benefit of Israel's enemies who seem, of late, to be less afraid of it than they once were. Now, that's been worrying Israel.
A news analysis in the New York Times quoted Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, remarking about the weekly government meeting that he attended.
“In the cabinet room today there was an energy, a feeling that after so long of showing restraint we had finally acted,” he was quoted to have said.
Mark Heller, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University was also quoted as saying that that energy reflected the deep feeling among average Israelis that the country had to regain its deterrent capacity.
“There has been a nagging sense of uncertainty in the last couple years of whether anyone is really afraid of Israel anymore. The concern is that in the past — perhaps a mythical past — people didn’t mess with Israel because they were afraid of the consequences. Now the region is filled with provocative rhetoric about Israel the paper tiger. This operation is an attempt to re-establish the perception that if you provoke or attack you are going to pay a disproportionate price.”
Granted that Hamas had fired rockets into southern Israel. (But let's not start debating the Palestinian offensive). Israel's response was disproportionate in its force..
So, will the violence end? Is it in someone's interest that the violence continues? And if there is a will to end it, who will be one to end it?
Meanwhile, read this. And this.
And may there be peace on earth!