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  • The fighting between Israel and Hamas is the worst we've seen since 2009 in Israel.

  • What began as a limited conflict has escalated into a major Israeli ground offensive into

  • Hamas-held Gaza. It's resulted in hundreds of deaths. Here's what happened and what it means.

  • It started with the murder of 3 Israeli young men in the West Bank. They were students.

  • They were kidnapped and killed.

  • Israel responded to this, because it believed that the killings were done by Hamas operatives.

  • It arrested a large number of Hamas people in the West Bank and launched airstrikes into

  • Gaza.

  • Palestinians from Gaza fired rockets in response. Israelis were furious and a Palestinian boy

  • was murdered by 6 Israelis, essentially, from what Israeli police say, as an act of revenge.

  • Moreover his cousin was beaten in Israeli police custody.

  • This led to a wave of anger on the Palestinian side. On the morning of July 8, Hamas launched

  • a wave of 40 rockets in the direction of Israeli towns with very little guidance or aiming.

  • They don't often hit targets or produce many casualties but nonetheless create a climate of terror

  • inside Israel. These rocket attacks were the first that Hamas had claimed responsibility for since 2012,

  • the last major conflict. In response, Israel launched more strikes in Gaza, as part of

  • what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was an effort to make Hamas pay a heavy

  • price. By July 11th, 100 Palestinians had been killed by about a thousand airstrikes. By July 14th,

  • the total casualties had exceeded the 2012 conflict.

  • And then on July 17th, Israeli troops entered Gaza to root out tunnels into Israel that

  • would allow Hamas to strike Israeli targets or send soldiers in on the ground to attack

  • Israeli cities or military bases. After the ground offensive, casualties have skyrocketed.

  • We've come a long way from 2009 when the Obama administration came into office thinking they

  • could get the two sides on the same side, that is, get a peace agreement done. Let alone

  • the heady optimism in the 90s that we saw about Irael-Palestinian peace.

  • The sad path that led to an incredibly devastating ground offensive in Gaza has illustrated just

  • how hair-trigger the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is. Even slight provocations, even things

  • that may not be planned by one side or the other one, can lead to massive escalations

  • in violence. There's just too much mistrust and too much division to be able to solve

  • these problems any time in the near term. And that's the sad truth of this conflict.

The fighting between Israel and Hamas is the worst we've seen since 2009 in Israel.

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