A recent European poll showed that 23 percent of French people said the Palestinian Hamas group was primarily responsible for the war while 18 percent mainly blamed Israel.Well, of course Hamas was responsible for starting the war. No rocket fire = no Gaza war. But Israel doled out $50 million of punishment for a fifty buck crime. The rocket attacks did little damage to Israel, but Israeli bombing has made hundreds of innocent Palestinians dead. It's made tens of thousands homeless. It has, if anything, strengthened Hamas's control over Gaza and made Fatah even more of a dirty word in the region. And it wasn't a proportional response by any means. Had Israel taken limited military action to stop Hamas's amateur rocketry I would have backed such action wholeheartedly. That they used the rocket fire as an excuse to execute political strategy via the military at such a dear cost is simply wrong, and it has really eroded much of my respect for Israel's leadership.
What's more, this war was so political that you can't help but view it cynically. It was initiated by a hated outgoing PM named Ehud Olmert whose unpopularity would make George W. Bush look like Barack Obama by comparison. It was backed by the three potential heirs to the throne, each of whom wants to play the "tough on Hamas" card for next month's Knesset elections, and two of the contenders are members of the current cabinet. Honestly, I understand how political pressures could bring something like this about, but that doesn't mean we should sanction it and thus become complicit in the senseless brutality.
Israel's actions here and in Lebanon 2006 show a lack of regard for international opinion and, also, a lack of interest in the peace process. Why should they care? After all, they're winning! When you're winning, you want to try to impose peace on your terms. But Israel is winning largely because we give them a lot of aid. We have a responsibility to let them know that this isn't right. Every attack like this is like removing a brick from the foundation of the Jewish state. If we care about Israel, we need to tell it to them straight.