Juan Cole tells it the way it is. Here’s his last paragraph:
The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime.
UPDATE: I keep hearing in our MSM that Hamas must stop its rocket attacks on Israel. It’s interesting that the first Israeli killed by a rocket from Hamas since the June ceasefire was killed after the Israeli’s launched their attack on Saturday. Now Hamas is launching mortars and rockets towards the Israeli towns. This is happening in response to the Israeli attacks, not the other way around. The only Democrat who is pointing this out is, of course, Denis Kucinich.
A Little Background: A disaster was waiting to happen, and no-one was doing much about it. There was of course a date for the end of the ceasefire – December 19th. As that date approached both sides sought to improve their relative positions, to test some new rules of the game. Israel conducted a military operation on November 4th (yes, you had other things on your mind that day), apparently to destroy a tunnel from which an attack on Israel could be launched, Hamas responded with rocket-fire on southern Israeli towns. That initiated a period of intense Israeli-Hamas dialogue, albeit an untraditional one, largely conducted via mutual military jabs, occasional public messaging and back-channels. Again though the main reliance was on Egypt – by now in an intense struggle of its own with Hamas. When Hamas pushed the envelop with over 60 rockets on a single day (December 24th), albeit causing no serious injuries and mostly landing in open fields (probably by design), Israel decided that it was time for an escalation. That happened today [Dec. 27] – on a massive scale – with an unprecedented death toll.
Here’s a cell phone video: