By a voice vote and with the support of the leadership of both parties, the U.S. Senate voted a resolution backing Israeli in its struggle with Hamas. The resolution made all the important points including one that envisions any operative cease-fire as meaning (not just implying) that Hamas should not be able to retain its weapons and also not be able to replenish them. This brings us back to the tunnels. Appropriate arrangements, by which I mean effective arrangements, are not a simple matter. But they are indispensable for war is not soon again to break in Gaza. Almost everybody in Europe seems to grasp this essential point. Well, not everybody: The Irish are feigning ignorance, as are the Greeks. But Denmark and Holland have already volunteered troops for this effort. I'd be surprised if Germany and France wouldn't follow suit.
Still, however many foreign troops arrive in Gaza the real issue is the rules by which they operate. Security Council resolution 1701 ended the Lebanese conflict. But it did not even pretend to deal with the future. Southern Lebanon is again honey-combed with missiles and rockets on (or below) Hezbollah turf. This is Condi Rice's one great big achievement. While the Security Council is considering rules for Gaza it might go back and clean up the Lebanon rules, too.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass a similar resolution in the coming days.
I have not spoken with Dennis Ross since the summer when, (after Richard Just's devastating essay on the U.N.'s shameful behavior in Sudan appeared in TNR) we spoke about intensifying political pressure in the U.S. about some decisive action on the Sudanese genocide of black Africans. (George Bush has since put at the disposal of the U.N. aircraft to enforce a no-fly zone in Sudan. In any case, what I am trying to say is that we haven't spoken about the Middle East, not for a long time. I don't want to put words in Ross's mouth but I am confident that this is a point-of-view at one with his own, at one with Hillary's, too. And at one with Barack Obama's, as well. Otherwise, this defensive war which the Congress will have endorsed will have truly been a waste of human life.