BBRuce, I kinda guessed you'd pick me up on the use of the term 'nation' - I put my hands up , of course. But nations aside my point was that the Israelis aren't the only ones to warn they were going to blow something up in advance. Course this doesn't make it alright either. Looks nice, but could be done for several reasons, or mixture of same:
Looks good from PR point of view. In later years the IRA wanted to avoid civilian casualties as they look bad and don't help the cause. Blowing up property can be nearly as effective: in the 90s the IRA switched to economic targets as they realised the UK could always find plenty more cannon fodder while hurting them in the pocket really hurt them. After Canary Wharf was blown up a number of leading financial institutions threatened to quit and go elsewhere if security weren't guaranteed. And of course the UK couldn't guarantee no bomb would ever get through as no one can guarantee that except in the movies.
In Gaza motives are a bit different maybe. No point trying to hurt Gazans in the pocket, they're as poor as church mice anyway. But blow up their houses and terrorize them and they'll have to leave, as they'll have nothing to come home to - in fact, no homes to come home to. Houses can easily be rebuilt if Israel decides to move back in, more of a nuisance to get rid of the natives. Plus it's a collective punishment as all Palestinians are being held to account, for the actions of Islamic Jihad or Hamas. Ok, they voted for Hamas, but a majority of Israeli citizens voted for the hawks in Knesset. Does that justify Hamas' indiscriminate rocket attacks? There has also been a crackdown on anti-war activists (Israeli arab or Jewish alike) in recent weeks in Israel. There are some people there who just don't want the violence to stop it seems, and not only on the Hamas side.
You say Hamas are doing wrong by their citizens. I suppose the Israelis are really doing their bit to alleviate their suffering as well, mainly by putting them out of their misery. Thats's really turning things on their head - blow them to hell and blame them for their own misfortune.
I think the problem many people have with this conflict is not that they support or condone Hamas but that it's so lopsided and out of all proportion. It was also planned for months and is not just some sort of knee jerk reaction to a handful of rockets in November. Maybe the Israeli army wanted to recover its image after its defeat in Lebanon, but this is just shooting ducks in a barrel. Let them go and take on the Chinese or Russians - who at least have armies as advanced and well-equipped if much bigger. Nor will it stop the violence or rockets. It'll slow them down for a bit but it'll leave a sea of resentment and desperation that guarantee another intifada or whatever, and more heavy-handed responses from Israel (maybe that's what they want).