July 31, 2014
WAR ISN'T TERRIBLE ENOUGH FOR THEM TO STOP ENJOYING IT SO MUCH:
Israel and Palestinians Locked in Vicious Circle of War, Terror and Occupation (Reuters, July 31, 2014 )
Posted by Orrin Judd at July 31, 2014 4:38 PMWhen Israel ended its 38-year ground occupation of the Gaza Strip by withdrawing settlers in 2005, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon hailed it as a "disengagement" from conflict with Palestinians in the densely populated coastal enclave.But the conflict did not end, it only changed.Israel kept expanding settlements in the West Bank where the Palestinians also seek a state. Hardline Islamists seized control of Gaza in 2007 and periodic U.S. efforts to broker a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under secular President Mahmoud Abbas have proved fruitless.In the diplomatic vacuum, confrontation has festered.Israel sealed Gaza in an economically choking blockade and the territory's ruling Hamas movement and other militant factions fired rockets with increasing frequency and range, though not accuracy, into the Jewish state.Israel in turn has bombarded Gaza countless times from the air and sent in armored columns on occasion to ferret out and destroy rocket batteries and tunnels used to smuggle in arms from Egypt or infiltrate Israel for guerrilla ambushes.Mediated ceasefires under which Israel pulled out forces and rocket fire abated brought periods of relative calm, only for the two sides to relapse into bouts of bloodshed.Conflict management has won out over peacemaking.Israel's current Gaza incursion, in which it aims to cripple the Hamas rocket and tunnel threat before Western opprobium over a soaring Palestinian civilian death toll boils over and forces it to pull back, echoes past offensives since 2007.At least 1,390 Palestinians had been killed in three weeks, mostly civilians in packed urban areas hammered by Israeli air strikes and shelling. The scale of destruction of Palestinian housing and infrastructure is greater than in past offensives.Israel has lost 56 soldiers and three civilians hit by cross-border rocket fire.