The Battle over Gaza

Provoked by Hamas rockets, Israel wreaks devastation on Gaza. As President-elect Obama stays mum, the stakes get even higher

Tivadar Domaniczky / VII for TIME

A soldier lights Hanukkah candles as Israel masses tanks and troops near the Gaza border.

Two sounds dominate the lives of Israelis living near Gaza: the wail of a siren and, 25 seconds later, the whistling screech of an incoming rocket fired by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. That gives Israeli families just enough time to dive for cover — even as they pray the rocket will miss.

At 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 27, a new sound filled the azure Mediterranean sky: the rolling boom of Israeli bombs and missiles slamming into Gaza. Many Israelis climbed the low, green hills outside the city of Sderot and cheered while watching black pillars of smoke...

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