Israel and Hamas are currently blowing the crap out of each other.
I'm no expert on Middle East politics, but when you know someone who has lived in the region for some time you see a different perspective from what is spoon fed to us in the media.
Isreal is often portrayed (certainly by the British media) as the villain, while Palestine the helpless underdog.
Interestingly – and rather predictably – the truth is far more complex.
Here's an excerpt from Joel C Rosenberg's blog:
"Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror organizations — backed by Iran — are firing rockets, missiles and mortars at innocent civilians in Israel, along the southern border. Each act is a war crime. The Iranian-backed terrorists are also firing from behind innocent civilians in Gaza, often from hospitals, mosques and schools. Thus, each act is actually two war crimes. In just the past several hours, the terrorists have fired more 50 times at Israel. That’s more than 100 war crimes. Since Saturday, they have fired at Israeli civilians more than 200 times. That’s more than 400 war crimes. Yet the world is paying very little attention and doing little to stop the terrorist attacks. Israel, therefore, is moving swiftly to defend herself."
Hearing from my friend, I understand that civilians are regularly being targeted in the South of Israel from Gaza, but it's only recently that things have gotten worse. This is why Israel decided to kill Ahmed Jabari (the top military commander of Hamas) in an attempt to put a stop to the continual attacks (the media, however, hasn't made this clear).
Whether this will put an end to things is anyone's guess.
Essentially, Hamas aims rockets at Israeli civilians from Gaza, while Israel tries to avoid killing innocent civilians (you can see a video here explaining what they do), which is difficult when Hamas uses non-military locations to attack. Again, the media doesn't make this clear.
My humble view is that this whole mess is driven by politics and religious fundamentalism. Ordinary people on both sides are tired of the endless killing and destruction. They don't want to kill each other, they just want to go to work and get on with their lives. Those in power, however, are oblivious to this.
One thing worth mentioning is that Israel is surrounded by nations who either want it completely destroyed or at the very least wouldn't mind if it was wiped from the face of the earth. Hitler tried this, as have many others before in history. So far, the Jews have miraculously survived – but that doesn't make things easier. You can't blame them for feeling hemmed in and under attack (not just from Gaza, but Iran and Egypt as well).
Ezekiel 38 talks about a vast army coming to destroy Israel and it make me wonder whether this is the beginning of something terrible unravelling before our very eyes...only time will tell.
Watch this space!