Saturday, January 03, 2009
On this day:

Israel and the Palestinians, continued

Like many Americans, the misbehavior of Gazan Palestinians has made it very difficult for me to sympathize with their plight. My response to the ongoing mess in Gaza, which has now erupted into war, has pretty much been that Hamas and its supporters - both active and passive - deserve everything that the Israelis can mete out, and probably more; that this is not an occasion for Israeli restraint, but rather one that calls for a wildly disproportionate response that puts an end to this conflict for good.

But alas, the Middle East and its problems are never so simple as to lend themselves to such a smite-and-make-right solution. And while our sympathies in this latest conflict may lie squarely with the Israelis, we have to come to grips with the fact that America's permanent interests are not always so clearly defined as its temporary passions.

In the lastest issue of Foreign Affairs, Walter Russell Mead discusses what America's interests are with respect to Israel and the Palestinians and offers some advice on how they might be achieved. It's definitely worth a read - for providing a thorough background of the issues involved, if nothing else.