Gideon Levy on the justification for the continuing assault on Gaza:
“We left Gaza and they are firing Qassams” – there is no more precise a formulation of the prevailing view about the current round of the conflict. “They started,” will be the routine response to anyone who tries to argue, for example, that a few hours before the first Qassam fell on the school in Ashkelon, causing no damage, Israel sowed destruction at the Islamic University in Gaza.
Israel is causing electricity blackouts, laying sieges, bombing and shelling, assassinating and imprisoning, killing and wounding civilians, including children and babies, in horrifying numbers, but “they started.”
They are also “breaking the rules” laid down by Israel: We are allowed to bomb anything we want and they are not allowed to launch Qassams. When they fire a Qassam at Ashkelon, that’s an “escalation of the conflict,” and when we bomb a university and a school, it’s perfectly alright. Why? Because they started. That’s why the majority thinks that all the justice is on our side. Like in a schoolyard fight, the argument about who started is Israel’s winning moral argument to justify every injustice.