Last summer I worked in a clinical setting with emotionally disturbed children. Our clients were usually from broken homes, often had been abused, and practically all were on some kind of medication. The job of the staff when working with them is to give them something they probably had not known before: Caring adults, friends, and a setting where they could feel safe.
Naturally, the transition for them was not always easy. Many of them had learned to solve their problems through aggression. When they didn't get what they wanted, they would scream. When another child provoked them, they would hit. When a staff member tried to separate two children who were fighting, he or she might get bit. For some children, transitioning into "using their words" instead of his or her fists took the entire session, if it happened at all.
I bring this up because I wanted to cite an incident, forms of which happened innumerable times over the summer. One child would provoke another (usually with insults), and the second child would come after the first in a rage, looking to hurt them as much as possible. Why was the child reacting this way? Sure, being provoked had something to do with it, but I think most of us would acknowledge that the real problem is that neither of the children had sufficient control over their emotions, their words, and their bodies. That being said, just because it wasn't the second child's fault that he was using violence doesn't mean that we as the staff were just going to stand there and let him pound the stuffing out of the first.
I tell this story because people often claim that Israel's problems are ones that are created by them. The Palestinians only use terrorism because they are desperate is the most common one. I don't personally believe this is true, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. The problem arises when those same critics seem to think that when Israel defends itself against Hamas or one of these other terror groups (which Israel supposedly "created") it's a huge problem. Fine, I agree that Israel should try to alleviate those measures which provoke Palestinian anger. But just because those measures are in place doesn't give the Palestinians (or Lebanese) carte blanche to do whatever they want.
It may not be the child's fault that he was raised in an abusive home, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to hold him down until he's calm. It may not be the Palestinians' fault that they were placed in a tough situation, but that doesn't mean that Israel should just stand there and let them murder and rocket at will. As Yitzchak Rabin said, "We shall fight terrorism as if there were no peace process, and we shall pursue peace as if there were no terrorism." Sometimes Israel doesn't do this well enough, but I wish they would.