It's crush time again. Israel's timing in unleashing its wrath on refugees in Gaza, an educational institution, and an adjoining mosque couldn't be more impeccable and precise. Its decision to even out the humiliating defeat 30 months ago on the other end of its illegitimate border with Lebanon also seems politically correct.
Given the fact that Israeli leaders have not yet recovered from the humiliation of their unsuccessful overture in Lebanon in 2006, they should be cognizant of the fact that once inside Hamas territory, Israeli forces may be sucked in too deeply for too long in Gaza. The failure to display shock-and-awe-style fireworks would contribute to further deterioration in Israel's deterrent power.
The current Israeli assault is a calculated move by the hawks such as Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak to derail the efforts of ever giving autonomy to all of Palestine.
The outcome is not that hard to imagine. Whoever wins the Israeli election in February will thank Hamas and its pesky Qassam rockets.
But is that all? The most compelling reason for the self-declared "all-out-war" from Israel's perspective is perhaps this: President Bush is still in power, albeit Crawford fixated.
Israelis are aware that, as always, the international community will remain loyally silent in the face of an offensive in Gaza that, feared, has claimed civilian lives, including innocent children.
Middle East history is far more complicated than the shuttle diplomacy of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes one believe. As long as negotiators and mediators continue to look at it as an oversimplified Palestine-Israel conflict, mediation will fail.
The real issues for Palestinians are the very same ones as contained in and guaranteed by our Constitution as inalienable rights. Will Barak Obama rise to occasion?
Recently, my husband and I took our traditional trip to the Toledo Zoo for the "Lights Before Christmas." Everywhere we've gone lately, all we seem to hear is depressing, frustrating conversation. The holidays seemed pretty glum for many this year but the zoo lights truly made this time of year a little more festive.
It was very crowded on the night we went but we overheard no talk of unemployment, bailouts, the economy, grocery prices, the war, drug wars, murder, or violence.
Instead, all those beautiful lights seemed to inspire a little bit of true (and needed) holiday spirit in everyone.
The crowd was full of smiles and laughter, with people wishing total strangers a "Happy New Year" or a "Happy Holiday." People actually seemed happy and forgot their troubles for a little while.
So, I just wanted to give a public "thank you" to the Toledo Zoo and its sponsors.
They truly gave the holidays a much needed bright spot this year, and I hope they are a tradition for many people for many years to come.
President Bush s legacy will be written in the history books very soon after he leaves offi ce: The End.
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