...and Hamas is retaliating by lobbing more rockets into Israeli towns. They're spending time, men, and ammunition firing at women and children rather than at the soldiers at their doorstep.
Freddie has a good post about intentionality up at his blog. He writes, somewhat glibly, that the
intent of countries is never uniform, is unknowable, and ultimately can't be a panacea against culpability for acts of aggression, or we lose any meaningful ability to judge the behavior of nations. Intentionality, also, becomes a maneuver used to absolve our country or preferred states from sin, and it again rests on pure assertion: the United States and its favored nations never intend to kill civilians, while the antagonists of the United States always do.I understand and agree that we cannot know every intention of every actor on the world stage, let alone in our own office building or home. Freddie goes on to use Georgia and Russia as examples and I think these are fair examples. I have long wondered what the hell Georgia was thinking, and understand Russia's reaction whether or not I agreed with it.
However, in the case of Hamas, while I would not presume to know their every intent, I would say that the continued firing of rockets into Israel, instead of meeting Israel's soldiers in combat alone, shows that they are not soldiers, but terrorists, intent upon provoking this sort of reaction from Israel.
And, of course, Israel took the bait.
Marc Ash, at truthout, writes
There is a false and misguided notion that the rocket attacks or other random acts of violence are not really that significant to Israeli citizens. Nothing could be farther from the truth. These attacks, all attacks, on Israeli targets, both military and civilian, are viewed by the Israelis in the most serious light....
Hamas's current strategy of firing rockets into southern Israel is not just "fighting back" against an oppressor; it is a step that Hamas knew full well would provoke a major Israeli military response. This plays in turn to the interests of the Israeli right wing.
Israel can be moved to a cease-fire, but never with Hamas rockets incoming.
This seems like an obvious conclusion, but one wonders if it is practical. Israel has to decide what's best for it now that it has bumbled into Gaza, regardless of the cessation of rocket-fire. While that would be a good move by Hamas, it probably won't be taken in good faith, given their track record.
However, it might give the moderates in Israel more of a chance, and give a blow to the hawks and further enable some dismantling of settlements, an obvious necessity if we're ever going to achieve peace in the region.