As the dust - and the gunpowder - settles after the month-long devastating conflict in Gaza, there were apparently no victors or vanquished.
United Nations officials and human rights organisations have characterised Israeli attacks on civilian targets during the IDF war on Gaza as violations of the laws of war.
There is an age-old axiom in politics, says a cynical Asian diplomat, that you don't bite the hand that feeds you.
“Strong together, we love Israel and trust the army” – while a tentative truce takes root, banners adorned with the national colours still dominate cities and highways across the country.
When world political leaders met at the United Nations back in 2005, they unanimously adopted a resolution affirming the principle of "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P), aimed primarily at safeguarding innocent civilians from war crimes, genocide, mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing.
Pro-Israel activists assembled a huge crowd and a long list of congressional leaders and diplomats to declare their unconditional support for Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip on Monday, largely downplaying tensions between Jerusalem and Washington.
As the killing and destruction rages on in Gaza, and as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Hamas leadership exchange recriminations and threats, key regional and world players must accept a central truism: No peace can be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians without including Hamas. The quicker they internalise this fact, the faster the cycle of violence can be broken.
The overwhelming Israeli firepower unleashed on the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the ongoing battle in Gaza is perhaps reminiscent of the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) when France, the colonial power, used its vastly superior military strength to strike back at the insurgents with brutal ferocity.
As a result of over two weeks of Israeli bombardment, thousands of Palestinian civilians have fled their homes in the north of Gaza and sought refuge in schools run by the UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.
The announcement this week of a new Palestinian unity government was greeted with cautious optimism by most of the world, outside of Israel. In the United States, however, it set off political rumblings that threaten to swell into a storm.
The formation of a new Palestinian government between Fatah and Hamas announced on Monday is an important station on the path to reconciliation, “but there still many stations to be reached before achieving real unity based on partnership among all Palestinians.”
The United States' decision to "work with" the new Palestinian government has virtually isolated Israel: the only country so far to have publicly rejected the political alliance between Fatah and Hamas.
The nascent move for reconciliation between the Fatah party in the West Bank and Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip could change the balance in the Middle East – if it were to proceed and deliver as promised.
The recently restarted talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are the only peaceful political activity amidst ongoing violence in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere in the Arab world.
There is a real opportunity for peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians, even though the obstacles are more formidable than in the past. That was the assessment of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, speaking Monday at a public event which posed the question “Can the Two-State Solution Be Saved?”