When the Middle East's biggest problems were about conflict between formal governments, the United States had a lot more influence. But today, the Middle East is defined by a shifting, impossibly complicated web of ethno-religious tension, weak and failed states, and ascendant terrorist organizations. The collapse of central governments and rise of powerful non-state actors breed problems that foreign powers, even the world's only superpower, simply cannot address. The United States can't arrest the region's transformation. The best America can hope to do is manage its consequences
Understanding the Gaza Crisis: 1.The Gaza Strip used to be part of Egypt, and is separate from the West Bank 2.Gaza is among the most densely populated places in the world 3.Israel used to have troops and settlers inside Gaza 4.Hamas is part of an international Islamist movement and doesn't recognize Israel 5.Hamas was democratically elected by Palestinians 6.Hamas isn't the only militant group in the Gaza strip, they've all shot rockets into Israel 7.Israel blockades Gaza, which creates a humanitarian crisis 8.Israel and Hamas have fought multiple wars over Gaza 9.Hamas also gets rockets from Iran 10.Tunnels into Gaza are important — and controversial 11.Egypt controls the only above-ground crossing into Gaza that isn't Israeli
Shalit on Hamas poster in Nablus, 7 May 2007; Reads: "Our champion captives. May we have a new Gilad each year, and down :"They (Palestinian prisoners) are not alone".
December 2011; As part of the agreement Israel agreed to release 1,027 prisoners for one captured Israeli soldier – the highest price Israel has ever paid for a single soldier. Gilad Shalit was also the first captured Israeli soldier to be released alive in 26 years.
Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin (1937 – 2004) الشيخ أحمد إسماعيل حسن ياسين Yassin, a quadriplegic who was nearly blind. He was killed when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a missile at him as he was being wheeled from early morning prayers.
Abdel Aziz Ali Abdul Hafith al-Rantisi (23 October 1947 – 17 April 2004), عبد العزيز علي عبد الحفيظ الرنتيسي was the co-founder of the Palestinian movement. Rantisi was Hamas's political leader and spokesman in the Gaza Strip following the Israeli killing of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in March 2004. On 17 April 2004, the Israeli Air Force killed al-Rantisi by firing missiles at his car.
Khaled Mashal خالد مشعل born 28 May 1956. Leader of the Palestinian organisation Hamas since the Israeli assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in 2004.
Salah Mustafa Muhammad Shehade صلاح شحادة - 1953–2002. The Israeli Defense Forces targeted the house in which Shahade was hiding using a one ton bomb dropped by a F-16 plane in a neighborhood of Gaza City. Fifteen people were killed. Yahya Abd-al-Latif Ayyash عياش 1966 –1996 nickname the Engineer المهندس (al-Muhandis). He was assassinated by Shin Bet on 5 January 1996.
Mohammed Deif محمد ضيف Deif learned how to assemble improvised explosive devices from Yahya Ayyash. Deif became the commander of the Izz ad-Din al- Qassam Brigades after Israel killed Salah Shehade in July 2002. Israel suspects him of being a bombmaker, and holds him personally responsible for the deaths of dozens of civilians in suicide bombings since 1996. He has survived four Israeli strikes, which caused him serious handicaps.
SourceTotal killedCivilians killedCombatants killedUnidentified killedPercent civiliansLast updated Gaza Health Ministry 2,143≈1,500No figures give—70%26 August Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 2,1681,662506-76.6%27 August Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 2,1421,646496—76.9%25 August United Nations OCHA 2,1041,46226537769.5%27 August Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center ≈2,000316237 78 unknown, ≈1,369 not checked yet 54%26 August Israel Defense Forces 2,143 [dubious – discuss]dubious discusscitation needed No figures given≈1,000No figures given50%–60%   26 August Palestinians killed in Gaza, various sources: