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Time's New Cover Story: "Why Israel Can't Win"

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time-why-israel-cant-winThanks to Phil Weiss for alerting me to Time Magazine's new issue. As Phil noted, this is big. Time has staked its journalistic reputation on coming out four square against the Gaza attack. It's judging Gaza has jumped the shark. Many of us knew Gaza had jumped the shark the moment it began. But it took the more acute mainstream media nearly two weeks to catch up. Now, they finally have.

In particular this passage from the cover story is penetrating:

The threat posed by Hamas is only the most immediate of the many interlocking challenges facing Israel, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a democratic Jewish state.

And here is more wisdom:

Israel's leaders need to recognize that if Hamas cannot be beaten militarily, then it must be engaged politically. That means accepting the idea of dealing with some kind of Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas. A coalition between Hamas and Abbas is essential for the future of a Palestinian state and for moderating Hamas' extremism. Hamas...says it will pair up with Abbas if he, along with the international community, recognizes that the Islamic militants legitimately came to power in the January 2006 elections.

...Israel eventually will have to pull back to the 1967 borders and dismantle many of the settlements on the Palestinian side, no matter how loudly its ultra-religious parties protest. Only then will the Palestinians and the other Arab states agree to a durable peace. It's as simple as that.

The more such simplicity is espoused in such venues as Time the closer to reality it will become. To paraphrase Herzl: If you write it, it is no legend.

With the Guardian's scoop earlier today that Obama will ditch Bush's refusal to talk to Hamas and now this, the tide has really turned. There will be growing pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire. The only question is whether Hamas will get anything in return. The world community would just as likely see this thing go away with Gaza getting no relief from the brutal 18 month siege. I don't know whether Hamas has the stomach to hold out for more. I hope they do. Israel must lift the siege. Especially if it wants a true end of rockets falling on southern Israel.

If Israel does not concede anything meaningful to Hamas then the latter will have no reason to keep its end of the bargain. That is why I'm hoping that Sarkozy and the UN will understand that a one-sided ceasefire will not fly.