28 Dec 2008

Gaza raids expose Israeli failure

The unprecedented wave of airstrikes yesterday could not have been a more dramatic indication of the failure of Israel’s policy to remove Hamas from power in Gaza.

For the past few weeks, as a six-month truce between Hamas and Israel unravelled, Israel has tightened its siege of Gaza, opening the border only intermittently to allow the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the 1.4m Palestinians in the crowded Strip on the Mediterranean.

That was just the latest stage in a vicious cycle. Israel insisted that Hamas stop the launch of rockets from Gaza on its southern cities; Hamas, which claims it is not responsible for the attacks, said it would do so if Israel stopped its attacks on Gaza and opened the borders. An Israeli attack inevitably followed a rocket, which would provoke another attack, and so it has gone on for more than a year.

Last week, days after the ceasefire officially ended, 80 rockets were launched against Israel in just one day. However ineffective they were – no Israeli was killed or injured – it was the breaking point for the Israeli government. The devastating response came yesterday.

Marie Colvin on Times Online