Updated 12/28 3:20 PM EST
The first day of what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak assures us will be a “long and difficult” war in the Gaza Strip has come and gone, leaving at least 300 Gazans dead, over 700 wounded, and one Israeli civilian killed and four wounded in retaliatory strikes. The number of Gaza civilians dead is not currently known, but the attacks centered around police stations and killed a large number of Palestinian security forces.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak hit out at calls to cease the attacks and renew the ceasefire, saying “for us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you to have a ceasefire with al-Qaeda.” Except of course that up until a week ago Israel did have a six month long ceasefire with Hamas which Minister Barak repeatedly defended from the more hawkish opposition members.
But the time for an unpopular peace is over in Israel, and police are being dispatched to crack down on those protesting against the unpopular war that has followed.
Meanwhile, as Gazans count their dead and tend to their wounded in a chaotic scene, Hamas and the assorted militant factions that reside in the strip are vowing revenge. Hamas says “all options are open” in responding to the attacks, while Islamic Jihad is ordering all its fighters to respond to “the Israeli slaughter.”
Those still calling for peace between the belligerent factions appear for now to have little traction, and the war is liable to continue to escalate.
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