Monday, December 29, 2008

But wait, a flash of brilliance appears

I know that everybody probably has something to say about what's happening in Gaza today, and I doubt I have much to add. Bush and Obama are echoing each other, Israel has the right to defend itself, it should try to limit civilian casualties, etc. Although I did see Israel's ambassador to the US on CNN's Situation Room today talking about how fear of Hamas rockets is causing Israeli children to wet their beds. I think he said it several times. And while nobody hates bed-wetting more than Americans, I thought this was an odd note to strike.

What this offensive makes me wonder about, though, is where this is all going. I mean, it's well and good to talk about Israel's rights, but enforcing those rights doesn't make much sense if doing so won't help advance the peace process. And I've never understood how this posture towards Hamas, first shunning them and now attacking them, is supposed to help resolve anything. Because even if Israel does manage to destroy Hamas, what Hamas represents will remain alive and well. In fact, all of this likely strengthens the hand of the extremists and calcifies Palestinian anger at Israel.

I have no love for Hamas. But they did win an election that everybody agrees was free and fair. And until somebody deals with the underlying conditions that brought them to power, this situation will not improve.

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