The aerial war against Gaza launched by Israel just after Christmas, and the ground offensive, with which it rang in the New Year, were shocking in their brutality, but should constitute no surprise, if viewed from the standpoint of long-term Israeli strategic aims. The Israelis have argued that the offensive was launched in response to eight years' of relentless attacks by Hamas rockets into Israel. But then, one asks: why now? Why should they wait eight years?
Perhaps the massive military onslaught, which has killed over 800 Palestinians and wounded thousands, has nothing to do with Kassam rockets. Perhaps it is not a tactical military operation by Israel, but a strategic decision on the part of Israel's Anglo-American backers, whose ultimate aim is war against Iran. Perhaps the military calculations in Tel Aviv are that continued massive pounding of Gaza by air and in house-to-house fighting, will take such a ghastly toll on the Palestinian civilian population, that Iran, touted as the backer of Hamas, will be forced to move into the conflict. Perhaps that is precisely the reaction Israel desires, in order to justify launching its war against the Islamic Republic, a war which has been on the drawing boards of the Israelis and their neocon sponsors for many years.