Argument: Hamas was first to escalate conflict following end of ceasefire
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"Defending Israel's Operations in Gaza". Aisha - Hamas is responsible for the situation, since it violated the calm, is firing against and attacking Israeli citizens, and is investing all its resources in arming itself and gathering power.
The truce brokered by Egypt was exploited by Hamas not only to employ terror against Israel's citizens, but also to gain strength and massively arm itself with the intention of increasing their capacity for terror and expanding the range of the threat against Israeli citizens. Hamas men were being smuggled out and were being trained in Iran and Syria.
Steve Huntley. "Israel's surgical strikes aim at reasonable goal". Chicago Sun Times. December 30, 2008 - it's clear Hamas caused the Gaza crisis. Though you'll read news stories using neutral terms in saying the informal cease-fire between Israel and Hamas "collapsed" or "expired," the simple truth is that Hamas announced --announced! -- last week it was ending the truce and stepped up rocket attacks on Israel.
I say "stepped up" the attacks because in truth, the terrorists never stopped targeting Israeli civilians. During the six months of this so-called cease-fire, 215 rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel. And a month ago, the Israelis discovered a tunnel from Gaza to Israel, dug no doubt with the intention of kidnapping an Israeli soldier or civilian.
Hamas, a rabid hater of Israel and Jews, was never committed to a meaningful break in violence, only to a tactical lull in hostilities to solidify its hold on Gaza while it rearmed. Among the Israeli objectives in the current offensive are 40 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt used to smuggle weapons and explosives.