Georgtown professor Robert J. Lieber's article in today's Washington Post should be required reading for anyone commenting on the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict over Gaza. The author attacks at least three myths.
1. Israel is indiscriminately killing civilians. Lieber notes that UN observer reports, hardly a pro-Israel source, indicate that 80%+ of the Palestinian casualties have been "Hamas security personnel or other militants." This is a high rate of precision given the conditions in Gaza, and the terrorists deliberate policy of hiding amongst civilians. Hamas is deliberately targeting civilians. Israel is not.
2. There is no "cycle of violence." Israel is defending itself against constant rocket attacks from Gaza. If there were no attack s on Israel from Gaza, Israel would not be launching air strikes.
3. Hamas and Israel both want peace. Hamas is not interested in peace. They want Israel destroyed. No concessions by Israel will ever satisfy them.
Read the entire article. It's one of the best pieces on the situation I've seen in a mainstream outlet.
There is one other thing about the conflict that Lieber doesn't specifically mention: the misuse of the word "disproportionate." Just about every critic and enemy of Israel has been calling the Israeli military action disproportionate. Such a use of the term is completely illogical and frankly just plain stupid. Many of the people using it are simply being intellectually dishonest, or allowing their dislike/hatred for Israel to remove their ability for logical reasoning.
Military forces of countries have not and do not respond proportionately to attacks on their homelands. Superior forces in general do not respond proportionately when attacked by inferior force. If you poke a lion, do you expect him to just poke you back? If someone attacks a police officer with a knife, is he expected to pull out a knife of his own, or will he use the superior force of a firearm? When the twin towers were destroyed on 9/11, should the U.S. have responded by destroying a simliar civilian target in Afghanistan? That would have been a proportionate response.
The entire nature of military operations involves bringing superior force to bear against your opponent, to overwhelm him as efficiently as possible, with minimal casualties to your own forces. It is not about giving the enemy a fair fight. Any article about the Gaza situation that accuses Israel of a disproportionate response reveals that the author is either illogical, ignorant of military affairs, intellectually dishonest, an enemy of Israel, or all of the above.