Originally posted by scalvert:
Bear in mind that civilian casualties are strategic for both sides. Hamas shoots from hospitals, schools and mosques knowing that return fire on those positions would result in international condemnation and bolster local support. Israel generally avoids civilian casualties where practical or convenient, but I don't think it's a huge priority because they have long viewed such losses as a strong disincentive (if your actions result in your family being hurt or house being bulldozed, then you won't be so eager to keep doing it).
I think Hamas' policies and rhetoric have made peace essentially unattainable by now. They've called for nothing less than Israel's utter destruction for so long that settling for anything less would cause them to lose face and the respect of their supporters. But if that's the only acceptable outcome, then negotiations are pointless because Israel's certainly not going to agree to its own destruction. Hamas will simply try to maintain the status quo (and thus their image) unless some major event allows them to claim "victory" in the face of compromise.
I just don't get this.
Israel breaks the ceasefire and fairly cynically invades Palestine, destroys millions of dollars worth of infrastructure, kills over a 1,000 people in circumstances that it won't reveal to journalists, maims and seriously injures another 4000, bombs UN missions, its army shoots civilians waving white flags, and uses weapons in cities that are prohibited in urban centres because of the inhuman level of pain and sufferring that they cause. There are claims that they should be prosecuted for war crimes and neutral agencies decry their actions. All this in a cynical major show of force knowing that this may be its last opportunity for a while to retain US support given the change in US leadership.
And yet you think that the real obstacle to peace is Hamas and its rhetoric.
[All this when the real aims (as pretty much everyone knows beyond the bluster) is for the return of land seized by Israel in 1967 and the end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.]