A big part of the problem we have as Americans and western Europeans is we continuously attempt to frame the Israeli-Arab conflict through our moral values. We assume, very wrongly, that both sides ultimately want peace. It just is not true.
We are about to witness a New Year's Eve massacre with thousands of Palestinians dead and wounded. We are about to witness a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions. I'm not trying to be glib or funny or ironic. Hospitals lack supplies and the residents of Gaza lack food and basic supplies.
I don't believe Israel will back off this time. And I don't think they should. What is happening is simply tragic. It is not avoidable.
The leaders of Hamas desire this totally predictable outcome. They are more than willing to spend the only capital they possess: human lives. They want thousands of their own citizens dead. They want live television coverage. They want blood in the streets, the blood of Palestinians.
By ending the tenuous six month old cease fire with dozens of poorly crafted missiles aimed clumsily at Israeli civilians, they counted on the overwhelming military response. Now they are counting on international outrage. And they hope that other Arab countries will join them in the fight. Or that the worldwide moral outrage will leave Israel weakened and without support.
But the real truth is that the Oslo Accords were a tragic mistake. Far from being a "roadmap to peace" they are a monument to Western arrogance and stupidity. In reality the Oslo Accords were simply a delaying action that provided cover to two sets of people who never had the slightest desire to travel any path to peace.
A Two State Solution? Neither side wants one. Neither side will tolerate a two state solution.
Where will this current battle end? Nowhere. Israel cannot wipe out Hamas. And the west will not turn against Israel. Thousands will suffer and die. And they battle lines will remain unchanged.
Frankly, I believe that the only solution is a single state solution. Israel should annex 100% of the disputed Palestinian territory. By force. All Palestinians should then become provisional Israeli citizens.
Then, and only then, can the world begin to treat Israel like they treated apartheid South Africa. Then and only then can a real roadmap to peace be found.