On Saturday evening, when Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed Gazans directly in a speech, telling them that Israel did not want them to suffer, that Hamas, not ordinary Gazans, were Israel’s enemy, his words were met with bitter scepticism.
Israel says it has been forced to act to stop the constant rocket and mortar shell from Gaza, aimed at Israeli towns just over the border.
Palestinians describe Israel’s actions as disproportionate. One Israeli civilian was killed by rocket fire on Saturday while medical sources in Gaza say they expect the death toll there to reach 250.
Israel argues that, while most Gaza rockets are not deadly, they are designed to be.
The quarter of a million Israelis who live close to the Gaza border say they live in fear, never far from a bomb shelter.
Many are delighted their government is finally taking concerted action but they are scared, too, of Hamas reprisals.
Hamas’s military wing has vowed to open the gates of hell. The movement’s exiled political leader, Khaled Meshaal, has called for a third and violent Palestinian uprising.
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