The massive Israeli attacks on Gaza are cruel, inhumane and disproportionate to the threat from Hamas. They are causing terrible and unjustified suffering for ordinary civilians and they must be condemned.
However, each separate escalation and the attendant bout of violence only serves to obscure the real problem: the lack of an energetic, sustained and fair peace process led by the U.S with visible results and a clear timeline and milestones for a two state solution. The Bush administration abandoned all pretense of even-handedness in the region after Clinton had at least engaged the two sides constructively toward a workable solution at Taba in his waning days. However, Ariel Sharon then came to power in Israel along with Bush in the U.S. putting an end to the peace process with the resulting despondency triggering the second intifada.
Even though the abject failure of the Bush administration in the Middle East is one major reason for the lasting damage done to American interests, moral standing and credibility in the world, Israel remains the third rail of Amercian politics. No administration (or mainstream media outlet) can be seen as anything less than 200% supportive of even self-destructive Israeli policies. This remains true even as there are more Amercian Jewish groups working to advance the cause of peace who (rightly) believe that Israel's long term security will be best served by making a just peace with its neighbors and isolating the extremist fringe with political action not bombings and blockades. The Obama administration will not be much different in its timidity to responsibly engage with the Palestinian-Israeli question for fear of political landmines but he should listen to Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski's advice.
Dr. Brzezinski (National Security Advisor in the Carter Administration) outlined the case for American involvement and as a bonus took Joe Scarborough (a media talking head) to task. Joe was mouthing the standard mainstream media cliches but Brzezinski was having none of it. Watch the exchange below:
"You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you." (Brzezinski to Scarborough)