I'm sick of hearing about the world's "outrage" at Israel for kicking the crap out of Hamas in Gaza. It's almost insulting to the Palestinians... we expect better behavior from the
"civilized" Israelis, but it's to be expected if those poor dumb brutes in Gaza behave like barbarians. Bull-hockey.
Let's clear this up: Gaza hasn't been an Israeli-occupied territory since 2005. not only did Israel pull out, they forced their own people to leave at gunpoint. Since then, the Palestinians there have not done anything to build a civilized society. Instead, they have launched well over 6000 rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. These attacks have been launched FROM civilian areas (using Mosques, hospitals, schools, and residential areas as cover against reprisal) and directed AT civilians. Now that Israel has finally struck back, of the 400+ killed, well over 300 have been "militants." (I prefer the word, "scumbag cowards.") Israel has even warned civilians in targeted areas in advance of attacks, thereby losing any tactical element of surprise, just to save lives. So what you have is one side that does everything it can to minimize loss of civilian lives (on both sides), and the other which does everything it can to maximize loss of civilian lives (on both sides). Indeed, Hamas likes dead Palestinians almost as much as dead Israelis, for their propaganda value. There is absolutely ZERO moral equivalence between these two sides.
Of course, the "reason" why it's OK for Hamas to engage in outright terrorism is always given that the evil Zionist bloodsuckers stole their land back in 1948. Let's review: "their" land was a UN Mandate, controlled by the United Nations after being given up by the British Empire, who took it by force from the Ottoman Empire during WWI. The UN, the "legal" administrators of the land, offered half to Israel and half to Palestine. Palestine turned down the deal, preferring warfare to compromise. Then they lost the war. Israel defended its territory numerous times (1948, 67, and 73 being the big ones). Therefore they "own" than land two ways: first, legally as granted by the UN, and secondly, by force of arms. I hate to be a barbarian here, but face it--force of arms is pretty much how every country on the planet got their land. The Franks got France, the Normans took over England, the Rus got Russia, and even we Americans got the land formerly occupied by American Indians by being the strongest tribe a long time ago. After 60 years, it's time to accept reality--Israel is not going to disappear.
Unfortunately, there is little room for compromise. All Israel wants is peace. They have demonstrated time and again that they will make almost any concession in exchange for just being left alone. But Hamas (and their allies) will not be satisfied with half a loaf. They want Israel wiped off the map, and there is no partial way of achieving that.
Let's also remember a couple of other little cultural notes: Israel was, until quite recently in Iraq, the only place in the world where Arabs could vote. Women have equal rights there. Although technically a "Jewish" state, they do not force their religion on others. Those who would replace them deny human rights, oppress women, stone homosexuals to death, and danced for joy in the street after the 9/11 attacks. This is not a clash of two civilizations--it is a clash between a civilized people and medieval barbarians.
Hamas knows this, and they count on that to work to their advantage. It is only Israel's civilized restraint that allows Hamas to keep on doing what they do. If ever Israel decides, "well, the rest of the world is never going to approve of us anyway, to hell with them," and takes the gloves off, they are capable of making their problem go away. I'm not just talking about their nuclear capability--if they were to say, "from now on, you attack population centers, so do we," they could extract such a high cost in innocent Palestinian lives that they could make the terrorists' position untenable. Of course, they have been unwilling to do that... unlike Hamas.
We in the west ought to support Israel. They are the canary in the coal mine for all of western civilization. It is a sad commentary on our own societal decline that so many of us would apparently prefer the barbarians win for the sake of our own peace and quiet. Peace, that is, until the barbarians come to our gates.