The End of the Beginning

It looks like there’s a tentative cease-fire in place between Israel and Hamas “coming after 22 days of war that killed more than 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.”

Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire, but no plan to withdraw troops from Gaza. Hamas counter-announced a one-week cease-fire to give Israel time to withdraw troops from Gaza. At the time of the expiration of the previous medium-term cease-fire, the sensible proposal was for the United States along with allies in Europe and the Arab world (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.) to press for a deal in which Israel was given enhanced assurances regarding rocket fire and border smuggle in exchange for Israel relaxing the blockade on Gaza. That didn’t happen, and neither Israel nor Hamas pursued that route on their own, and as a result all these people are dead. But it’s still the sensible way forward.