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From Gaza to Where?

CANBERRA – The wisest words on the Second Gaza War may have come from an Israeli living in a kibbutz near the Gaza border. “If you want to defend me… Don’t send the Israel Defense Forces for us in order to ‘win,’” Michal Vasser wrote in Haaretz on November 15. “Start thinking about the long term and not just about the next election. Try to negotiate until white smoke comes up through the chimney. Hold out a hand to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Stop with the ‘pinpoint assassinations’ and look into the civilians’ eyes on the other side as well.”

Israel is, of course, entitled to defend itself from rocket attacks. But the lesson of the last two decades is that attacks stop, and intifadas do not start, when there is a prospect of peace – and that, when there is no such prospect, Palestinian militancy is uncontainable.