By now most people have heard about the "Crisis in Gaza" from the various news outlets. On CNN, the story went something like this: Israeli airstrikes kill hundreds of palestinians, including many civilians... and oh yeah, Hamas is firing some rockets into Israel. How on earth is one to get the full picture from this nonsense?
Let me be perfectly clear: since 2005, when Israel withdrew its presence in Gaza, over 7,500 rockets have been fired into southern Israeli. The rockets are indiscriminant, and have equal chances of hitting a school, hospital, or someone's kitchen, and are packed with shards of metal and glass with the aim to injure as many Israelis as possible. For the past few years, residents of the Israeli town of Sderot have grown accustomed to daily warnings from the rocket detection system, which gives them about 30 seconds to run for cover. Outdoor playgrounds are unused, because teachers can't round up a classful of children and bring them to shelter in time. Residents often shower with a door open so they can hear the alarm, rarely go outdoors, and over 50% know someone who has been injured or killed by a rocket attack. A large percentage of children are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the past 6 months, Egypt brokered a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. In contrast to what most would consider to be a cease fire (i.e. all fire ceasing), the cease-fire decreased rockets being fired, down to about 2-3 a day, and in return Israel did not target Hamas operatives. The latest airstrikes and ground operations came because Hamas refused to renew this cease fire. Let me ask you, how many rockets fired from Mexico would the people of California be willing to put up with before urging the government to respond? Why does the international community pressure Israel to show restraint, when no country would be willing to put up with daily attacks on its civilian population without responding?