With a delicate ceasefire having settled into place on the Gaza-Israel border, there is reason for concern that a familiar intellectual sloppiness about the conflict may settle in along with it. In the face of some 14,000 rockets and missiles fired at its civilians by Hamas and Islamic Jihad forces controlling Gaza, Israel responded with a restraint and a humanitarianism that is, quite simply, unprecedented in the history of human affairs. In some quarters, however, this has never mattered, does not matter now, and never will.
There is a reason that the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union all have labeled Hamas a terrorist organization. It is because its non-stop assault on Israeli civilians is intended to kill, wound, or, failing that, merely terrorize wholly innocent people. For Israeli civilians, this assault is not remote, or academic, or capable of being waved aside as trivial. Day in and week out, these rockets slam into their towns and cities.