Photo via CBC
Much of the Arab/Islamic state media is thundering about with proclamations of genocide regarding Israel's recent, heavy handed military incursion into the Hamas ruled Gaza strip. This, of course, is a misappropriation of the term "genocide" in an effort to paint (as the Arab/Islamic state media oft does) a most spectacularly vile visage regarding the "Zionists." Beyond it's state of the art conventional arsenal, Israel maintains an alleged nuclear arsenal. Israel clearly maintains the ability to deliver a Hama style genocide on Gaza. Israel is clearly not doing anything of the sort.
Beyond the Arab/Islamic media is the various and predictable cries from the (mostly) left, calling foul on Israel's dis-proportionate reaction. The majority of these same voices have been conveniently mute regarding the 1600+ rockets/mortars that have fallen in various Israeli cities this year prior to Israel's military incursion. The common assumption seems to be that these rockets have, statistically, caused little loss of life and so are a marginal threat to Israel. A rather subjective assumption and one that would likely change if those that held it would wake up tomorrow to a kassam rocket or wayward mortar round exploding in their driveway. Hamas efforts may be low yield when it comes to fatalities but they've done an excellent job at terrorizing the citizens that suffer them.
Another aspect oft "overlooked" is the major concession undertaken in 2005 when, under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, all of Israel's 21 settlements in Gaza (and 4 in the West Bank) were dismantled and the requisite IDF assets protecting the settlements were pulled out. Chief among those expressing opposition to this was then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who quite vocally observed the possible security threat such an action might entail and eventually resigned from his position in protest.
It didn't take long for Netanyahu's concerns to be realized. Indeed the next two years saw more rocket/mortar attacks on Israel from Gaza than the preceding five years combined. (link to graph)
In addition to this 2006 saw the dissolution of the secular and "moderate" Fatah leadership as Hamas was brought to power via popular election. I personally believe Fatah's blatant history of corruption and the grassroots efforts of the Hamas dawa have as much to do with the election results as any collective anti-Zionism within the Palestinian people. Some of the more hysterical right wing observations out there would have you believe that the Palestinians were seeking Jewish blood when they brought Hamas to power. I disagree. The most base needs of a society are security and infrastructure. The PLO didn't and Fatah wasn't delivering, Hamas did and was. Hence the election results.
However, from an Israeli perspective the vacancy of Gaza was followed by a surge in rocket/mortar attacks and the political empowerment of a terrorist organization whose charter specifically expresses the want to realize the destruction of the Jewish state.
Lastly I'll address the reports howling about Israel's disregard for civilians. To read most of these reports one would quickly come under the impression that Israel's back lash is a willy-nilly collective of sorties indiscriminately lobbing bombs at random designed to fill morgues and hospitals with Palestinian civilians. Most of these reports tout statistics reflecting fatalities in Gaza and then attach the convenient and wholly vague "Palestinians," neglecting to add that, by Palestinian source accounts, most were Hamas operatives. These reports leave out the inconvenient reality that the IDF air strikes are targeting Hamas instillations. (nod to Steve Schippert.) Additionally they fail to convey that Hamas rocket launch sites are buried within civilian enclaves, a tactical decision by Hamas to ensure that Israel's retaliatory efforts result in civilian casualties. From which they can maximize the milking of the global media and come out both the victor (Israel signs a cease fire) and the victim.
I'll have a follow up post on why I think Israel's strategy is for naught (wrong and counter productive) and why the geopolitical positions regarding this are wholly ineffective soon.