The violence in Gaza -- Israel's reluctant response to 200 rockets since January -- is another battle within a thousand-year war. The protagonists are not Hamas and Israel, but Islamic jihadists who fight against a modernistic world.
Hamas is an ideal that is not confined to a specific land mass. The fulfillment of its mission can only come about through a full unification of the entire Muslim world. If this cannot be done peacefully, then it will happen by force (Hamas Covenant Articles 1 - 8). Article 11 speaks of the global need for jihad to recapture all Muslim lands, and defines Islam as the only acceptable nationalism as opposed to the secular variety. All attempts at peacemaking are condemned (Article 13 and 32). There is no concession, short of suicide, that Israel can make.
In this, as in past and future battles, the Islamists are bound by no rules. International law is meaningless. Hamas derisively violates it constantly by: indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians; its use of its own civilians to protect its fighters; firing rockets and mortars from within, and adjacent to schools, hospitals and mosques; and its failure to clearly identify its fighters.
A hypocritical world accuses Israel of war crimes although the sine qua non to that accusation rests on intent. Israel has clearly demonstrated that its intent is to protect civilians; its own first, but the Arabs' as well. However, providing terrorists with immunity by allowing them to violate international law will be catastrophic.
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