Netanyahu and the limits of military power | The Times of Israel  ‘Op-ed: Doubtless harming his popularity ratings still further, the prime minister on Wednesday acknowledged the near impossibility of smashing Hamas by force. Does he have a supplementary plan?’

All wars come to an end eventually. At least that’s the theory. Combatants encounter either a final victory or a resounding defeat and these then determine their freedom of action thereafter. Or hostilities are broken off when one side or the other assesses the cost of further continuance to be prohibitive in terms of manpower and treasure. Or those engaged in battle are actively prevailed upon by others to desist from pursuing ultimate conquest because of various ethical, political, religious or economic factors.

But the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has lasted well over 66 years and still shows no signs of ever reaching an end phase, not even a slowdown in its turbulent journey towards wherever it’s going. It’s as if none of the usual conditions apply and so the matter gets taken to whatever extremes are deemed necessary, kept in being until some new development arrives to seal its fate or bring about the closure of its long and contentious history.

But where is that new development? Is it anywhere in sight? How much longer before it surfaces? Can its progress be accelerated, its arrival made earlier? And could it then break the cycle of violence that has been the hallmark of this struggle for so many generations, a cycle leaving virtually no room for compromise or permanent remedy?  – ‘ for those of us with better things to do.’

Some developments are best not left to chance; they are better for having been deliberately engineered to fix those problems that arise.