Anniversaries in the modern Middle East come in rapid succession. Unfortunately too many of them commemorate another cycle of violence. It is a year since Israel launched operation Pillar of Defence in an effort to bring to a halt the firing of rockets from Gaza onto her southern towns and villages. A truce was declared after a week of bloodshed and destruction. Israeli carried out air and artillery attacks on various Palestinian targets in Gaza, killing 133 Palestinians and wounding around 800. The Palestinians, primarily Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Jihad, fired nearly 1,500 hundred rockets, killing six Israelis and injuring more than 200 hundred. Their rockets reached as far as Tel-Aviv, though most of them were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome air defence system.
Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once commented that a week in politics is a very long time. A year in Middle Eastern affairs accounts for an eternityYossi Mekelberg
This also caused further radicalisation of many Palestinians, especially among the youth. Hamas itself was not spared from severe international criticism for firing indiscriminately on Israeli civilians. Despite the bloodiness of Operation Pillar of Defence it was more contained, in terms of time and casualties, compared to previous similar operations.