The deaths of more than a hundred people in Gaza from Israeli air strikes have not moved Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister has vowed to continue what he calls action against Hamas terrorists. It is an attitude typical of Netanyahu, who has failed to respond positively to US President Barack Obama's offer of facilitating a cessation of hostilities. There is little reason to think that Israel's leader, whose understanding of the Palestine issue remains caught in a time warp, will be willing to listen to persuasion.
And yet ways must be found to stop Netanyahu. He simply has not cared that what he calls an operation to destroy Hamas is actually leading to the deaths of innocent Palestinians and the destruction of homes that could not have been centres of terrorism.
For the Israelis, this is no way of handling a conflict. Recent history shows that Israeli raids on Palestinian extremist groups, be they targeted assassinations or air strikes on suspected terrorist targets, have only resulted in a widening of armed Palestinian resistance to such Israeli insolence as the setting up of illegal Jewish settlements on Arab land and limiting Palestinians' access to free movement. The Netanyahu government is setting a terribly dangerous precedent. Its increasing propensity toward exercising terrorism on its own will swiftly create conditions where moderates in the Palestinian camp will be neutralized by radicals. That can only lead to an Israel surviving on a fortress mentality.