Call me dewy-eyed, but I like to think that the Israeli government does have a strategy, or at least a mindset that accounts for its actions. In this case there is at least circumstantial evidence that its plan was to provoke hostilities so that it could a) decrease the chance of a lasting cease-fire and b) strengthen extremists within the Gaza strip and thereby weaken the moderates in Hamas, whose stock has been steadily rising since the Egyptian elections and the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Or it could be just bungling.....
For people with short memories, that is to say, for those who can't remember what Israel did to provoke the rocket fire that served as the pretext for the current operation, there is a very good time line here It shows that Israel initiated the current spate of violence on Nov. 4, two days following the US election, and shattering a two-week lull in violence. Most significant was the attempt of Egypt to broker a cease-fire, which the various factions in Gaza accepted, and a key player of which was Ahmad Jabari, the chief of Hamas's military wing. For an account of Jabari's role in negotiations for long-term cease-fire negotiations since the Shalit release, read Gershon Baskin's insider account in today's Open Zion as well as in Haaretz. Jabari's assassination was a twofer for Israel -- they got rid of a moderate who was trying to produce a long term cease-fire, and they provoked Hamas into launching massive rocket attacks. The death of the family in Kiryat Malachi was the collateral damage of Israel's misguided policy. The last thing they want is the security offered by a long-term cease-fire with Hamas.
Even if we allow for a little bungling, I still maintain that the assassination of Hamas leaders, as well as the deaths of Palestinian and Israeli citizens, serve the interests of the Netanyahu government, the chauvinistic center in Israel, and all their supporters. I can't see this as a cynical election ploy; for one thing, there is no evidence; for another, if the number of Israeli casualties rise, it could hurt Netanyahu. It is more likely that this was an attempt to do the "house-cleaning" I wrote about below.
As always, the ray of hope lies in Palestinian resistance to aggression, and in the "coalition of the sane" who recognize stupidity, cruelty, and inhumanity when they see it.
If you want to belong to that coalition, subscribe to Haaretz and read Jewish Voice for Peace's eloquent statement on here -- and sign up for their protest activities. JPV shows even in a period of spiritual darkness, Jews raise their voices against the apostates of violence, chauvinism and dehumanization.