Violence between Israel and Hamas has been escalating in recent weeks. Nearly 200 lives have been lost, over a thousand hurt, tens of thousands forced to flee their homes, and fear and uncertainty spreading among both Israeli and Palestinian populations. There is no end in sight to the expanding confrontation as Israel seeks to rid the Gaza Strip of the rockets that threaten the Jewish state. A human rights catastrophe is in the making — again.

The latest bout of hostilities began with the kidnapping last month of three Israeli teenagers, all of whom were later found dead. Israeli security forces responded by rounding up hundreds of Hamas activists. A Palestinian youth was also seized, allegedly by Israeli nationalists in revenge, and killed; the autopsy results reveal that he was burned alive. Palestinian militants responded to the killing and the roundup with rocket salvoes against Israeli territory from within the Gaza Strip. Israeli sources report as many as 800 launches since the violence began, including rockets launched in an attempt to strike a nuclear reactor located near the city of Dimona in the Negev dessert.

Predictably, those rocket attacks prompted an Israeli escalation. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched over 1,300 air strikes in retaliation and sent military commandos into the Gaza Strip on a lightning raid. The rocket salvoes continue unabated and Israel has been warning residents of Palestinian villages near Israel's border to leave their homes, sending some 10,000 people fleeing south.