Israel, Hamas and the Blame Game.
Of course, depending on who asks the question and who answers - an American, a European, a Muslim, a Jew, an Arab or a Palestian, you'll probably get a different answer.
(and since its election in 2006, Hamas has persecuted journalists and closed donw newspapers, Fatah members have been assassinated and Christians have been assaulted.)
The tragic irony was that the United-States (along with Israel and its allies) then refused to recognize the democratic election of Hamas, which was a denial a the very values they had preached.
But Israel also failed to even try to engage directly with democratically elected Hamas government,. More importantly, Israel did not enforce the lifting of the blockade even though it was a part of the June cease-fire agreement.
As far as this latest war is concerned, I don't see how Israel can win it. Even if they win it on the ground, they have probably already lost the image war. Thousands of protesters have held demonstrations in the world - the most important one in Paris. Global criticism will make it harder for moderate Arab leaders to have any credibility.
Obviously, Israel is aware they're fighting a PR war as well :
In the hours preceding the ground operation, The Washington Post reported: "Israel dropped leaflets over northern Gaza urging residents to leave their homes. The leaflets read: 'Area resident, as result of the acts undertaken by terror activists in your area against Israel, the IDF is forced to respond immediately and operate in this area. For your own safety, you are asked to leave the area immediately'." (The National Newspaper)But where are they supposed to go in this tiny sealed land, home to 1.5 million people.
Israel may destroy much and kill many in Hamas, but that is not the solution. Violence breeds violence and for every Hamas leader killed, another one will come, one day or another, born out of anger with the violence.
In fact, the Israeli attack may have actually revived Hamas. In the Washington Post, Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab wrote :
In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.This is a natural rally-round-the-flag phenomenon : give people a common enemy and they'll forget their division for a while.