Gary Jones, in his July 21, guest-op, "Hamas risks the lives of its own people," suggests that Hamas refuses to agree to a cease fire to "gain international sympathy by driving up the body count of its own civilians." I counter with another suggestion - that Israel's years of illegal occupation and its subsequent blockade have turned Palestinians into a desperate people and that rockets are a reflection of that desperation.
They have been squeezed like prisoners into a tiny, suffocating space. The blockade ensures a lifeless economy, so there are no jobs, no salaries, no way for Palestinians to do the simple things we all long to do - take care of our families and see that our grandkids are launched into a safe and bright future. I suggest that the day Israel ends the blockade, the day Israel recognizes that Palestinians are entitled to the same basic human rights as its own citizens, will be the day that a lasting peace begins.