Has Israel learned its lesson?
by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
"The hard truth is that no matter how much Israelis crave peace, they cannot achieve it through concessions and compromises and "road maps" - not when their enemies view such overtures and agreements as signs of weakness, and as proof that terrorism works. For 60 years, Israel has had to contend with the hostility of its neighbors and the heavy costs of war; its yearning for peace is understandable. But there will be no peace without victory, and no victory without fighting for it."
"Whether this strong rhetoric will be backed up by strong action in the long run remains to be seen. Yesterday, the Israeli cabinet rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour truce. Perhaps, at long last, the lesson has been learned: With an enemy like Hamas, which boasts that it "loves death" and "drinks blood," truces and deals are illusory. If Israel seeks lasting peace, it must first win a lasting victory."
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Israel can't bomb it's way to peace.
by Rosa Brooks
The Los Angeles Times
"In a strictly military sense, Israel will "win" this battle against Hamas. For all its threats and bravado, Hamas is weak, and its weapons -- terrorism, homemade rockets -- are the weapons of the weak. Since 2001, Hamas has fired thousands of unguided Kassam rockets at Israel, but the rockets have killed only a handful of Israelis."
"Israel has no viable political endgame here: There's just no clear route from bombardment to a sustainable peace. But the damage caused by this new conflagration won't be limited to the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel's military offensive already has sparked outrage and protests throughout the Arab world. The current crisis also may destabilize some of the more moderate Arab governments in the region -- in Egypt, for instance -- where leaders now face popular backlash if they don't repudiate Israel."
"It's time for the United States to wake up from its long slumber and reengage -- forcefully -- with the Middle East peace process. Only the U.S. -- Israel's primary supporter and main financial sponsor -- can push it to make the hard choices necessary for its own long-term security, as well as the region's. In January 2001, the Taba talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority came achingly close to a final settlement, but talks broke down after Likud's Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister on Feb. 6, 2001. Sharon refused to meet with Yasser Arafat, and newly inaugurated President George W. Bush had no interest in pushing Israel toward peace."
"Eight years later, Israel faces another election, and we're about to swear in a new president. When he takes office, Obama needs to push both Israelis and Palestinians to sit back down, with the abandoned Taba agreements as the starting point. Here's to a less bloody 2009."
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My own view is that the Palestinians, particularly Hamas, do not want peace. They boast that they love death and drink blood. They make no bones about wanting to wipe Israel off the map. They have sought war, not peace, and now they have it. Hamas has no hope of bringing Israel to its knees militarily. Their hope is that the rest of the Arab world and Iran will take up their cause and attack Israel. When all the Israeli Jews are dead, then, and only then, will there be peace in the Middle East.