Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel launches more airstrikes against Gaza

I have returned to the blog after nearly a week away for Christmas, but the news of continued Israeli air strikes against Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Strip remain front page news.

The Israel Defense Forces began its campaign on Saturday in response to continued rocket attacks against cities and towns near the Gaza Strip. The territory's main university, Hamas security compounds and tunnels used to smuggle weapons and other products from Egypt are among the places Israeli airplanes bombed. The Gaza blitz has killed more than an estimated 300 people and injured more than 1,400. Retaliatory rockets launched into Israel have killed two Israelis and wounded several others. And the IDF is reportedly planning a possible ground offensive into Gaza.

The Arab League joined Spain and other countries in their condemnation of the Israeli campaign. France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United Nations have called upon both sides to return to the cease fire that ended Dec. 20. The United States blamed Hamas for its continued rocket attacks into Israel.

The arguably disproportionate air strikes in Gaza are certainly a cause for concern for the sheer fact more than 50 Palestinian civilians have been killed. The campaign also perpetuates a cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians for decades that will not abate if both sides continue to fail to show restraint on behalf of their own citizens. The scenes that continue to emerge from Gaza are disturbing. They will almost certainly continue if both sides fail to pull back from the latest precipice on which they currently find themselves.

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