The latest and most deadly round of fighting began when the fragile truce was broken by the assassination of Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari. The Israeli media has reported that al-Jabari was in the process of negotiating a permanent truce. The Israeli government has had a history of killing Palestinian leaders once they moderate their activism.
And Hamas and other extremist groups have a history of lobbing rockets towards civilian-populated areas inside Israel, which is not only illegal and immoral, but is incredibly stupid in terms of hardening Israeli attitudes even further. Indeed, Hamas' actions set back the cause of Israeli moderates. And Israel's actions set back the cause of Palestinian moderates. More salient to those of us in the United States, Obama's actions hurt both.
The great wish of the early Zionist leader Theodor Herzl was that Israel would be treated like any other state. And there are certainly those who do unfairly single out Israel for criticism. It is just as wrong, however, to unfairly exempt Israel from criticism for its violations of international humanitarian law in its ongoing aerial bombardments of civilian neighborhoods, as the Obama administration has done.
Those of us who supported Obama's re-election have a special obligation to challenge his unconscionable support for Israel's attacks against civilian population centers in the Gaza Strip. It was wrong when George W Bush did it four years ago. And it's wrong now.