The justification for all the wars and retaliatory raids, the punishments and acts of vengeance Israel has carried out since the day it was established, derives from the claim that there was no choice. Yet time and again it later transpired that choices did in fact exist. In this case, too, we must not accept at face value the claim that hitting Gaza's residents was justified. Would it have been possible to stop the rocket fire against Israel through negotiations with Hamas, before Operation Cast Lead was launched? Was the army instructed to avoid hitting civilians? Was such an order conveyed to the commanders in the field? Was it strictly enforced? What was done to avoid hitting civilians? Was any harm inflicted deliberately? Did the army do everything it was supposed to in terms of securing medical treatment for the wounded?
These are not questions that ought to be left for historians to investigate, nor to the army alone. They merit a sort of humanitarian Winograd Committee. An inquiry into the deaths of Gazan civilian will not bring them back to life, but gathering as much information as possible about what happened there might do Israeli society good, just as examinations of this kinds have benefited other countries that became entangled in these sorts of wars.