This is why I think the left in Israel loses this argument. In what has been described by one prominent observer as the most cogent anti-war statement from that Israeli left, Dahliah Scheindlin, in her recent piece in +972. http://972mag.com/how-can-you-possibly-oppose-this-war/93924/, notes with great precision the utter futility of this military operation now underway in Gaza. The argument may be as good as it gets, but I wish it went further. The claim is that this is a lose-lose venture, and that there’s no good solution to this conflict that more armed hostility can provide.
In answer to the question what Israel is supposed to do under the current circumstances, Scheindlin can only recommend in her article “a unilateral, not agreed upon, ceasefire,” in addition to providing the necessary incentives to get Hamas to agree to ceasefire on their part. The critical hole in the analysis is how the author ignores Hamas as a political factor and its leadership as political actors. Unilateral ceasefires work only as an opening gambit. I don’t see how they do not quickly fall apart if one side or the other side keeps fighting, either because it wants to or because it has no choice.
In this FB post, the thread of which turns into an ugly scrum about genocide, Gershon Baskin writes, “I seriously hope that this horrible crisis can be turned into an opportunity to pull us back from the brink. Something good can and must come from these horrors. I know it is hard to see something positive right now – but this is what we must work towards – now, immediately, without delay.” Against this article of faith, a thin sliver of hope, my own fear is that good never comes out of bad, that it goes from bad to worse, and that the conflict is heading over the brink. I don’t see how anything “positive” emerges out of this. I would like to think that genuine Israeli peace leadership might have prevented this bloodshed. But I have my doubts, believing that the bloodshed has as much to do with the recent collapse of a political horizon as the collapse of that horizon contributes to the bloodshed. With no way out of this loop, there’s no peace without justice, and no justice without peace.
Without wanting to disagree with the main body of Scheindlin’s analysis, all that seems left is futility and more futility. Both frustrated and feckless, my own guess is that there’s no remotely satisfactory end to this brute round of ugly conflict until there is a final resolution to the conflict as a whole, a political horizon based on mutual recognition and territorial compromise about and to which neither side, neither the government of Israel nor Hamas, is ready to consider, much less commit.