There is, it seems to me, one argument that Israeli ministers have been pushing more than any other to justify what they are doing in Gaza. This argument is that no country in the world would tolerate a neighbouring state raining missiles down on its territory without responding in the manner that Israel has.
It's a superficially plausible argument. After all, is not the first duty of a sovereign state to ensure the security of its citizens? But this reasoning disintegrates when you consider the particular circumstances of the Gaza Strip and its relationship to Israel.
Gaza is not a neighbouring state to Israel. It is a territory over which Israel exercises an enormous degree of control. Israel controls Gaza's borders. It even provides it with energy and food supplies.
Israel being shelled by militants in Gaza is not like Britain being barraged from across the channel by France, but rather like Birmingham pubs being bombed by the IRA. The solution to that grievous conflict was finally attained by the British Government agreeing to negotiate with Republican terrorists. If Israel wants security and peace, it will surely have to do the same with Hamas.