This piece by Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin offers greater understanding behind the violence in and out of Gaza today.

Baskin is the Israeli CEO and founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) and was the key Israeli negotiator with Hamas in attaining the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in October, 2011.

Baskin has frequently consulted with Israeli government and security officials (at their request) because of his connections with top leadership in Hamas. He is a loyal Israeli and a man of peace. His observations as presented in this article (see link below) should be taken very seriously by anyone seeking greater understanding of the context in which the current violence is taking place.

Let me not be misunderstood. Israel has every right to defend itself against the hundreds of bombs (800+ since January before Israel began this most immediate war on Hamas’ ammunition stockpiles and rocket sites) being shot deliberately from Gaza at Israeli cities, settlements and civilians. However, there are a number of questions that need to be considered as both sides march to a full-scale war. These questions include: Who is actually launching these missiles from Gaza – Hamas or other groups? Does Hamas, in fact, have control over the territory it rules and the ability to stop the rockets if other groups are launching them? What cost in life will a new war exact on both sides? And will yet another war bring us any closer to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, security for Israel and the Palestinians, and peace when the fighting stops?

Shaalu shalom Y’rushalayim v’Shabbat shalom!

Bio on Gershon Baskin –