Here are a few unrelated thoughts on the recent Gaza conflict:
- About two few weeks before Israel's air raid, defense officials were saying that Iran had been pushing Hamas to not renew its cease-fire with Israel. This is in contrast to Hamas' traditional sponsor, Egypt, who evidently did not want war. Further evidence of Iran's new role as the Middle East's biggest direct sponsor of terror. But who knows if the buck stops there.
- The UN says that 62 Palestinian women and children were killed in the Israeli air raids, meaning that total civilian casualties are likely higher. 320 Palestinians in total have been killed, the (vast?) majority of whom appear to have been employed by Hamas.
- Israel has destroyed 40 smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. The tunnels could supply as much as 90% of Gaza's economic activity, and are an increasingly lucrative source of revenue for Hamas, which taxes and controls at least some of the smuggling trade. Food, fuel, cigarettes, medicine, and weapons seem to be the most popular goods going through the tunnels. The weapons smuggling business, though, had dried up in the beginning of this year, as Hamas routed Fatah in the Gaza Strip and got control of their weapons.
- Many people have remarked at the inanity of criticizing Israel for being "disproportionate" in its attacks – here is an example of the logic. I don't know how relevant I think it is, but Totten does convincingly argue that "proportionality" is an irrelevant red herring.