It pushed the territory it has militarily controlled for four decades (and for the welfare of whose population international law holds it legally accountable) even deeper into deliberately engineered, even fine-tuned, misery.
It wrecked much of what was left of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure after months of siege and years of isolation from the outside world; it smashed thousands of family homes, schools, offices and mosques; it obliterated the personal property of tens of thousands of refugees -- many of whom have now lost two or three homes in succession to Israeli bombs.
Israel’s primary justification for the bombardment of Gaza was that it was intended to stop Palestinian rockets fired into Israeli territory.
But Israel failed to accomplish a single one of its declared objectives. It failed to stop the firing of rockets from Gaza. It failed to stop smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza border. And it failed, even in the short run, to bring security to Israel’s own population.
If anything, the bombardment of Gaza left Hamas stronger than ever, for having stood up to three weeks of bombardment and preventing the Israeli army from translating its overwhelming firepower superiority into actual accomplishments on the battlefield -- of which there were none, other than crude destruction....