Here's the NY Times article I read recently.
Check out this graphic that puts the Gaza casualties into proper perspective.
Summary: There's some serious business going on in the Middle East (ME) right about now--to be fair, it always has been going on, but it's particularly "hot" at the moment. Though it's far from the deadliest, I think the Israeli operations in Gaza and unrest in the West Bank are nuclear in terms of international relations. It's a complicated topic, isn't it? Read on for more discussion.
Israel is, arguably, the closest thing to America in that area of the world in terms of political identity and diplomatic relationship. Financially, U.S. corporations operate internationally anyway with little regard for political boundaries. I don't think that's conspiracy theory, as it's easy to prove that umbrella corporations own all the smaller fish; sometimes (all the time), both sides of a conflict do business with the same group.
However, after leaving scars of the crusade, the Western powers decide to carve out a Jewish enclave and provide training, money, and equipment to the new Israeli state. I would understand if a Muslim saw this as a fourth crusade. Can you imagine the hatred you'd have after a legacy of invasion, rape, pillage, and slaughter? No hell, no way, would you not take up arms if you could, you should, you know?
Think about the effect 9/11 has had on American culture: our security is higher and our liberty less, the economy struggles without a lot of "help", increased world turmoil as a result of a "War on Terror", and a growing awareness (and accompanying disdain) for "jihadists". If that event had that much of an effect on us, imagine what the Crusades and then a militarized Jewish state is installed by the West, the "Christians", by force. That's fooked-up, I'm just saying.
So now these "terrorist" Muslims rise up to fight, thinking they are being invaded or just out of spite, either way I'd say there WAS some provocation. When Israel wins, and again on later battlefields, the disdain and hatred grows. How the hell do they not see a land carved out, conquered, by ancestral enemies funded and equipped by "Christian" nations from the West, the same area that crusaders came from long before. That's gotta trigger some sort of racial memory or ancestral blood-hatred.
And now they watch as Israel beats the living crap out of Arabs already living in a demilitarized zone. Let's not pull any punches, Israel IS restraining itself--if it didn't, Gaza would be obliterated like biblical-era tribes massacred by the ancient Israelites by divine command. Israel has the experience, the training, and the technology to completely control any battlefield situation against any of its neighbors. It's not a fair fight and nor should it be--you don't win in the long term by playing fair.
Now picture living in Israel. Maybe reclaiming an ancient land, regardless of the cost to surrounding Arabs, was so important they had to do it. So be it. Now you live there and there are bombings, shootings, rocket attacks, and kidnappings happening because people hate you. So the government does what it should do and lays down the hammer, but it has to stop short of demolishing the target because of geo-political complications--it needs western connections.
If their hand is forced, Israel will not hesitate to annihilate an enemy to secure its own survival. As I read about Gaza, and now West Bank erupting into protest, I'm curious to see if Israel will start to strike harder to bring about a swift end, or if they will keep the gloves on and spar. If they strike harder, western support may continue to dwindle and even stop, and regional violence will escalate.
Israel may find itself forced to apply extreme aggression to survive. Will the U.S. or other countries step in to assist Israel if a host of hostile neighbors, perhaps even Russia via (or with) Iran, surrounds the Jewish state? With tensions increasing between the U.S. and Russia, this remains a possibility.
That is hot enough without factoring in Syria, ISIS, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Russia, and so on...