Let no one be deluded. Hamas is bruising for a war, and Israel will oblige. Sooner rather than later. Four Kassam rockets hit the city of Ashkelon, which dates to deep antiquity and is now home to 120,000 people. Palestinian terrorism had mostly skirted this population center, having concentrated its rocketry on Sderot and a few Kibbutzim in the Negev.
But the attacks on Ashkelon signfy that Hamas' capacity is now longer range and greater accuracy. (This is a forewarning to the Israelis about what might happen if they were to hand over the West Bank to the Palestinians. After all, what guarantees could there be that Israel's population centers -- Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other municipalities -- will not be similarly exposed and endangered?)
When the Isreal Defense Forces enter Gaza, their goal will be to obliterate Hamas' military strength. But this has been implanted among the civilian population. Of course, this was done to obstruct an Israeli retaliation. How much restraint should there be? The Israelis will restrain themselves as much as they can. But the victims of the fighting will also include Palestinian civilians, who will have brought their tragedy on themselves.