Netanyahu's narrative for how we've arrived at this conflict goes like this:In short, those who claim Hamas started this latest episode in the never ending Palestinian-Israeli conflicts are misinformed.
1) Hamas (who I find abhorrent) started firing rockets at Israel without incitement.
2) Israel restrained itself like no other country, until finally it had to act.
3) Israel wants to stop and sign a ceasefire, but Hamas won't do it.
The truth is much more complicated. See, what nobody talks about is how, minutes after Hamas and the Palestinian Authority signed a unity agreement on the evening of April 23, the initial phase of a long-sought reconciliation amongst Palestinians, Israel bombed Gaza, wounding 12 civilians. Israel claimed to have missed its target, a Hamas militant. However, most observers in Israel saw it for what it likely was: an effort to elicit rockets from Gaza and immediately imperil Palestinian reconciliation, which Netanyahu greatly fears.
From that moment, Netanyahu has made every effort to incite Hamas to violence. Tragically, he found such an opportunity when three Israeli teens were kidnapped in the West Bank on June 12. Despite denials by Hamas that it was involved and evidence it was perpetrated by rogue criminals, Netanyahu placed the blame squarely on Hamas, saying it would "pay a heavy price." For the next three weeks, despite evidence which now suggests Israeli authorities knew the teens had been killed immediately, Israel pummeled and ransacked West Bank communities, killing a number of Palestinians while arresting many more connected to Hamas. Israel's military was supposed to be looking for the teens. What it did, to nobody's surprise, was finally provoke Hamas to act, making Hamas equally culpable in the ongoing violence.
And now, here we are today, with Israel pummeling Gaza, killing innocent civilians while also destroying tunnels and weapons caches, claiming that the goal is to achieve quiet for Israel's citizens, who have been dodging Hamas rockets for weeks. Nevermind that this goal cannot be attained by the current military operation, something history has repeatedly shown over the last seven years. Stopping rockets from being fired on a civilian population is a legitimate reason to be engaged in military actions.
Such a goal I wouldn't question, and if Israel had no hand in sparking the current violence, I would be much more reticent to critique its actions, as I too want the rocket fire to end. However, the problem is that this entire Gaza operation has not been about restoring quiet so much as destroying Palestinian reconciliation and the potential for an elected government which includes Hamas officials.
As misinformed as those who have no idea the West Bank is NOT controlled by Hamas, and the PLO have never supported Hamas' control of Gaza.
Netanyahu - like Sharon's Temple Mount episode on the eve of peace accords - designed to blow up Israeli-Palestinian peace accords - wants to keep the violence going. As oppressive occupiers of Palestinian land - land they haven't stolen yet to build new settlements in violation of numerous UN mandates and agreements that Israelis disregard as soon as the ink is dry - only continues to provoke the Palestinians until people start getting killed. As oppressed people will do.
Something those Israeli leaders have forgotten Jews once were in many parts of Europe. Now they're the thugs in jackboots.