Jimmy Carter recently wrote an article in the Washington Post stating that the current war in Gaza could have been avoided..... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/07/AR2009010702645_pf.html Some may dispute the fine details of what did or did not happen during the 6-month cease-fire, but what I have learnt from this is that perhaps active bargaining and negotiation are not totally hopeless in that region of the world. All we need is a little better commitment and will from both parties. Given that the fragile cease-fire did take place, it is a statement that Hamas are humans after all and can be reasoned with from time to time. They may have some other hidden agendas here and there, but hey, who doesn't? who is completely clean in this world? Absolutely no one. If an agreement is founded upon mutual benefits, the chant of "destruction to Israel" and other nonsenses will gradually disappear over time as people worry more about their own comfort than petit revenge or pride. Just like in any business deals, people always ask, "What is it in for me?". So, if we cannot find a deal that gives benefit (however tiny) to both sides, people will walk away. But the point is that hope and confidence must be built up slowly over time. One begins by giving small concessions in return of something, then when some trust is gained, more concessions can be discussed. The current problem is that both sides are asking for too much upfront and totally destroys the rather delicate process. Full trust cannot be regained overnight and by just a few incidents and gestures.... For the sake of the innocents who are constantly caught in the crossfire, may the hawkish governments and/or rebel groups eventually see the value of human life (both on their side and their enemies' side) and start going down the long term peaceful path.