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What Am I Missing?

From today’s New York Times:

    “Israeli forces killed at least 11 people, including several children, in a single airstrike that destroyed a home [in Gaza City] on Sunday…. The airstrike, which the Israeli military said was meant to kill a Palestinian militant involved in the recent rocket attacks, was the deadliest operation to date…. Among the dead were five women and four small children, The Associated Press reported, citing a Palestinian health official. …
    “‘There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,’ Mr. Obama said in his first public comments since the violence broke out. ‘We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.’”

So the U.S. position is that missiles raining down on Gaza from Israel are justified self-defense, while missiles raining down on Israel from Gaza are something no country on earth would tolerate.

UPDATE: One day later, however, we see a little nuance.

    “William Hague, the British foreign minister, said in a television appearance on Sunday that he and Prime Minister David Cameron ‘stressed to our Israeli counterparts that a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation,’ The Associated Press reported.”

And this:

    “Reda Fahmy, a member of Egypt’s upper house of Parliament and of the nation’s dominant Islamist party, who is following the talks…insisted Sunday that Israel was to blame for starting the current round of violence by killing Hamas’s top military leader, and that Israel would have to act to end it. … ‘We can’t pressure the victim while the perpetrator isn’t even ready to settle,’ he said.”

So who is to blame for starting the violence? Was it the militants of Gaza for escalating their rocket attacks over the past months, or was it Israel for its assassination of Hamas’ military leader, Ahmed Jabari, at the very moment when he was preparing to sign off on a long-term cease-fire proposal? Peace activist Gershon Baskin writes in the New York Times:

    “Passing messages between the two sides [Israel and Hamas], I was able to learn firsthand that Mr. Jabari wasn’t just interested in a long-term cease-fire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency. … On the morning that he was killed, Mr. Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended cease-fire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance. This draft was agreed upon by me and Hamas’s deputy foreign minister, Mr. Hamad, when we met last week in Egypt.”

More on Baskin’s cease-fire proposal here. Baskin was the one responsible for opening back-channel negotiations with Hamas that led to Gilad Shalit’s release.