Sunday, March 2, 2008
It's impossible to defend the killing of children and other civilians in Israel's current offensive in the Gaza Strip, even as Israel's government justifies its attacks as a response to rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled territory. But who, exactly, are Hamas militants in Gaza aiming at when they fire rockets into cities in southern Israel? At least the Israelis aren't trying to hit civilians, they were bombing government installations in Gaza. The same cannot be said for Hamas, which does not officially recognize the existence of Israel even though it depends on energy and water from the Jewish state. No, the Israelis are going to have to find a better approach to this problem than shooting or starving Gaza residents. But what? They obviously cannot depend on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose own people fought and died to get away from his Palestinian Authority. Abbas suspended his unrealistic and, apparently, unproductive peace talks with Israel to protest the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians in Gaza since Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Two Israeli soldiers also were killed on Saturday. "For the time being, the negotiations are suspended because we have so many funerals," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was not deterred by international criticism of his army's attacks, including condemnation by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. "Nothing will prevent us from continuing operations to protect our citizens," Olmert said. Maybe U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has some ideas to share when she visits the region this week.