Shejaiya Neighborhood in Gaza/Mahmoud Hams (AFP)/Getty Images
The Israeli army is one of the most powerful in the world, usually ranked around fourth in firepower. It can deploy a half a million troops with a panoply of state-of-the-art weaponry—from body armor, integrated electronic communications and control, and sniper rifles, to tanks, artillery, airpower, drones, ships, and submarines—and, of course, an arsenal of nuclear weapons that have been in development over fifty years. It is backed by the most powerful armed force in the world, which continuously supplies it with whatever arms, cash, intelligence, and political and diplomatic support it needs—an effective guarantee of military (though not political) victory.
There are a few thousand militants armed with light infantry weapons and homemade rockets among the 1.8 million people in Gaza, one of the most densely-populated territories on earth. Those 1.8 million people have been locked into that territory by Israel (abetted by its Egyptian ally, and backed by its American patron), which controls the entry and exit of every person and particle, making Gaza what even British Prime Minister David Cameron (who helps to enable this policy) calls a “prison camp.” This siege has been Israel’s way of punishing the 1.8 million people of Gaza for, among other things, having freely and fairly elected leaders that Israel doesn’t like.