Israel continues its air strikes into Gaza in the hopes of putting a stop to the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. As I mentioned yesterday, it is important to keep in mind that the Gaza strip, from which Israel unilaterally withdrew in 2005, after occupying it for 38 years, turning it over to the Palestinian Authority, is now controlled exclusively by Hamas, which, among its other objectives, seeks to eliminate the State of Israel. Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007 after a brief Palestinian civil war.
The West Bank, which constitutes the geographically separate other portion of the autonomous Palestinian National area, is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, under Mahmoud Abbas. It is the PA that is recognized by the world community, including the U.S., as the legitimate government of all Palestinian areas. So, there are tensions between Palestinians in addition those between Israelis and Palestinians. Below is a map by the BBC showing the breakout of areas.
While the right of countries to defend themselves is legitimate (would we stand idly by while cities bordering Canada were indiscriminately attacked from the other side of the border?), there is also the need to for proportionality and limiting the potential for death or injury to non-combatants. Let us continue to pray for peace in this troubled land.