Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu has told his military to "take off the gloves" as he launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu warned of a long campaign as he came under pressure to take a tougher stance against a surge in rocket fire from Gaza.
Israeli armed forces have carried out dozens of strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, and mobilised troops along the border for a possible ground incursion.
Tensions have escalated since the abduction and murder of three Israeli settlers, and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager. Netanyahu condemned the Israeli killings, saying: "They were murdered in cold blood by human animals … Hamas is responsible. Hamas will pay."
But reacting to Israel’s offensive, Mushir Al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman warned: The enemy has crossed the red lines and will be made to pay the price for its crimes.” So with the cycle of violence seemingly endless, are attitudes on both sides hardening?
Presenter: Folly bah Thibault
Guests: Ali Abunimah - a journalist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada.
Dahlia Scheindlin - a columnist at +972 Magazine and a lecturer Tel Aviv University.
Daniel Levy - director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations.