The Israeli government, seemingly dissatisfied with the results of their earlier effort to just make life as miserable as possible for residents of the Gaza strip went and killed a couple of hundred people in retaliatory airstrikes. The strikes were in response to Hamas’ habit of launching indiscriminant rocket fire from Gaza land, though how exactly these strikes are supposed to stop the rockets is mysterious to me. Less mysterious is the idea that the Kadima-Labour coalition wants to “look tough” and beat off the political challenge from Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud.
That, in turn, is a reminder that I just don’t think the parties to the conflict are capable of reaching a settlement without strong external pressure. The internal political logic of both sides defaulting to hawkish extremes is just too strong. On the Israeli side, “strong external pressure” could, in principle, come from the United States were we to have an administration that recognized the necessity of playing such a role.