Weighing in on Gaza attacks: Part II

  • Nahum Barnea (Ynet): "The thing that will put an end to the fire is a renewed understanding between Israel and Hamas via Egyptian mediation. … In the ‘Winter Rains’ operation almost a year ago, the IDF killed 130 Hamas members and prompted the organization to agree to rules of the game that entailed a semi-lull. In operation “Cast Lead,” the State of Israel invests more, and sustains more hits. Therefore, we are allowed to expect more. So no, this will not be a one-time blow that resolves the problem. What we’ll se is a blow, to be continued. Yet at these kinds of junctions it would be good to think about the link between cost and benefit."
  • Jackson Diehl (Washington Post): "His failure represents another missed opportunity for Middle East peace — and probably means that the incoming Obama administration, like the incoming Bush administration of 2001, will inherit both a new round of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed and a new Israeli government indisposed to compromise."
  • Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic): "No country in the world could afford to ignore such attacks. And no country would. An elected government, such as Israel’s, has a basic, overriding responsibility — to protect its citizens from the organized violence of their enemies. Of course, it can do this in part by negotiating with its enemies (assuming its enemies recognize Israel’s right to life) but its immediate mission must be to stop the violence, which is what Israel is now trying to do. Whether it succeeds or not is an open question (It is Hamas’ indifference to Palestinian life, not Jewish life, that makes it a formidable foe, in the manner of Hezbollah) , but Israel must try to use all of the tools of national power to stop attacks on its citizens. Otherwise it is simply not a serious nation, one that does not deserve sovereignty."
  • Hassan Haidar (Al-Hayat): "It seems clear that Israel has been preparing for this brutal strike on the Gaza Strip, and its army was all set to launch this offensive. It was only looking for an appropriate pretext and timing. Hamas’ decision to suspend the truce was offered to Israel on a silver plate, with the movement falling in the Israeli trap."
  • Shadi Hamid (Huffington Post): "Hamas has been an increasingly untenable position for more than a year, as the situation in Gaza has deteriorated. They are roped in and isolated, and groups which feel under siege are more likely to take potentially self-defeating risks. To shake the status quo, Hamas may have wanted to provoke Israel in order to build pressure internally and externally for a unified Palestinian response to Israel. In other words, Palestinians, including those belonging to nemesis Fatah, are almost certain to rally to Hamas’s side. They already are. This will strengthen prospects for a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation in the future. Not all elements of Hamas necessarily want this, but some do."
  • Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff (Ha’aretz): "Just as the Second Lebanon War did, the current war will have far-reaching consequences for the balance of forces in the Middle East. First, it has brought the conflict between Hamas and Egypt into the open, which could influence domestic developments in Egypt. To some degree, it has also reignited the conflict between Arab moderates, led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the extremists, led by non-Arab Iran. In Lebanon, it is already clear which side won. In Gaza, we will learn the answer in the coming days or weeks."
  • Daoud Kuttab (Washington Post): "In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine."
  • Sam Stein (Huffington Post): "Progressive groups in particular are being forced to walk a delicate line: accommodating Obama’s prior statements in which he seemingly validated retaliatory Israeli strikes with their own agenda of promoting diplomacy over violence."
  • New York Times (editorial): "We hope he does not mean a ground war. That, or any prolonged military action, would be disastrous for Israel and lead to wider regional instability. Mr. Barak and Israel’s foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, both candidates to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in elections set for February, must not be drawn any further into a competition with the front-runner, Benjamin Netanyahu, over who is the biggest hawk. There can be no justification for Hamas’s attacks or its virulent rejectionism. But others must also take responsibility for the current mess. Hamas never fully observed the cease-fire that went into effect on June 19 and Israel never really lived up to its commitment to ease its punishing embargo on Gaza. When the cease-fire ran out, no one, including the Bush administration, made a serious effort to get it extended."
  • Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal): "This is not a counsel of restraint, of which Israel has shown more than enough through years of provocation. It is merely to point out that no ingenious conceit can disguise the fact that war offers no outcome other than victory or defeat. This is one big thing that Hamas understands, and that Israel must as well."
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