Hamas attacks. Israel has a right to defend itself. Israel will be criticized for doing so. The number of Palestinian casualties is emphasized by the press, and Palesinian reports of how many civilians have been hurt are accepted uncritically.
So, what else is new?
Not much. Oh, there’s the O-factor—that is, how does all of this affect our incoming President? Headlines that read, like this one in the WaPo, “Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza Strip Imperil Obama’s Peace Chances,” show a puzzling and yet persistent belief in the power of a single person to somehow cut through the desire of a terror group such as Hamas to destroy Israel.
I’ve got news for the WaPo, and the analysts quoted at length in the article: the current violence is not an aberration in a situation that would otherwise be amenable to the magic of Obama. And by that statement I am not criticizing Obama; I’m taking issue with those who think any person, or any diplomatic policy of the US, could have the desired effect.
Prior to the 90s and then the post-Camp-David Second Intifada, people could be excused for thinking so. But that avenue has been tried—and tried, and tried—and it does not work. If it did, President Clinton’s efforts would have succeeded. What we have here is a situation that appears to be beyond the reach of diplomacy.