First, a happy birthday to TD Sister, and belated happy birthdays to TD Nieces #2 and 5 (ages 14 and now 4 days respectively) and to Mrs. TD. And now... on with the all too tragic soap opera that is the Middle East.
Israel's Haaretz reports that a cease-fire deal is in the works between Israel and Hamas. The deal being brokered in Cairo with the assistance of Egypt would, hopefully, shut down the ongoing rocket barrage into Israel coming from Gaza and the Israeli air-strikes in retaliation (as well as the possible Israeli ground invasion of Gaza).
Some things that are not generally reported here that one needs to know to understand things just a little better: Israeli elections are scheduled for January 22nd of next year. That's pretty much it, actually. Hamas, as usual, technically started all this with its rocket launches (or, if you like, you can argue that Israel has technically started it with its blockades, targeted assassinations, bantustans and occupations)... but either way, innocent Palestinians (invariably far more of them) and innocent Israelis are being maimed and killed in the cross-fire on a daily basis, with nothing-- zero, nil, naught, bubkis-- in the way of possible "peace" or even anything more than the most temporary of a cessation of hostilities likely... where was I?
Oh yes... there is an Israeli election coming up. Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu can be counted on to do what he perceives as in his personal interest, which may or may not be in the Israeli national interest (and is per se not going to be in the American national interest.. too bad about Romney, eh Bibi?). Part of the calculation right now concerns how to play on the moving Middle Eastern chessboard that not only includes rockets raining from Hamas, but Syria in the middle of a seemingly endless civil war, and an unpredictable Iran looking at its own elections (coming up next June 14th). Hamas is, of course, also calculating the effect of its actions on the Israeli elections... hoping, one would presume, to keep a relatively hard-line Israeli government (like Netanyahu's) in place, lest there be any Israeli efforts at conciliation which would undermine Hamas's raison d'etre. Which is why the Haaretz piece cites a Hamas representative cautioning Netanyahu of the disastrous Israeli domestic reaction to a ground incursion into Gaza... thing is, he's absolutely right... I don't think its sarcasm, or in any way not sincere.
Thankfully, now that our election is safely over, we can hope that the talk of (insane) American military action [for the sole purpose of benefiting Netanyahu's domestic Israeli political position, btw] against Iran will die down, and rationality can return in that quarter... of course, Israeli elections are coming up on January 22nd. And we have our "fiscal cliff" and Hostess factories closing down and Hurricane Sandy recovery and, you know... where was I? Oh... Petraeus and Allen... what's with that? [Some poetic justice in knowing that the CIA Director's private e-mails are no more "private" than yours or mine... but other than that and some schadenfreude... just a pathetic scandal... for a pathetic country where we turn on people we once lauded for their prowess at directing mass homicide and torture... because they might have had extra-marital sex. Just saying.]
Anyway, I hope that cooler heads prevail... or more to the point, that both Israel's and Hamas's leadership come to the conclusion that Bibi Netanyahu's political future will benefit if they both refrain from violence, and a cease-fire takes effect, and holds. That's about the best we can hope... and I'll take it.