After the withdrawal...
Israeli military units advanced into southern Gaza on Tuesday night as part of efforts to get the soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, released.Dress it up however you like, but this is a textbook example of collective punishment. As the Guardian notes in it's leader (via), the following the Israeli "withdrawal," the Gaza Strip has become a giant open air prison, a situation patently inimicable to a sustainable solution.
They have carried out further air strikes in Gaza during the day and shelled open areas to prevent retaliation by militant rocket crews.
Much of Gaza has been left without electricity and running water after a power plant was hit by Israeli missiles on Tuesday.
Israel aircraft also destroyed several bridges, preventing travel between the north and south of the 45km (30-mile) Strip.
The Israeli army, meanwhile, is demonstrating that abducting people to exert political influence is wrong by abducting people. According to a Palestinian Centre for Human Rights press release the IDF has detained twenty-one Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members, nine cabinet members and a number of Hamas political leaders. To be unduly fair, an Israeli spokesman did claim, "They are not bargaining chips for the return of the soldier. It was simply an operation against a terrorist organisation,"but the timing is at best suspicious.
None of this is to deny that kidnapping is not a legitimate tactic of war nor to pretend that it has any role to play in any serious liberation struggle. Nevertheless, lets keep a sense of perspective here. Useful analogies are difficult to come by, but it should be clear that one doesn't respond to a kidnapping by laying siege to a million people and abducting key members of the democratically elected government.