BEHIND THE NEWS: Where does it end?

January 8, 2009 1:54:35 PM PST
It's easy to think of the situation in the Middle East as intractable. There are some -- fortunately just a few -- who think Israelis and Palestinians should just fight it out.

Most of the world doesn't think like that. At least not out loud.

But the hard truth is, as I've said before in this space, Israelis and Palestinians are more alike than different -- the same people, really. Each has been shunned by the rest of the world. After all, Israel was formed by Western countries after World War II -- they apparently didn't want millions of Jews coming to their countries -- and the Palestinians were easy targets for displacement.

So they are bonded, in a weird way, as rejects by the rest of the world. Other Arab countries have done little to make life for their brethren Palestinians any better.

But fighting it out isn't the answer. It's not the answer for your kids, or with your spouse/partner. And it's not the answer for countries.

And so we cringe -- or at least most of us do -- at the behavior of both sides. Horrible that Hamas put soldiers at a refugee school and launched missiles into Israel, putting hundreds of people, many of the kids, at risk. And, in fact, dozens were killed.

And why would Hamas violate the temporary humanitarian-aid ceasefires-- by lobbing rockets into Israel? Why?

And why would Israel keep up a less-than-precision assault that has so far killed 765 Palestinians in Gaza - 228 of them children and 92 of them women? Even the U.N. has been victimized. A handful of humanitarian workers have been killed by Israeli shells - a situation that led today to a condemnation by the U.N. Secretary General and, more importantly, a halt to U.N. aid to the people in Gaza who desperately need basic supplies.

Why? Why? Why?

There doesn't seem to be a well-thought-out exit strategy by either side. The argument rests on an it's-time-to-act theory.

Well it is time to act. It's time to stop.

Watching all this oh-so-closely is an amalgamation of not-so-friendly folks who go by the names Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, who today said they would never allow the Hamas regime in Gaza to collapse.

Charming.

Our N.J. Burkett is the only TV reporter from the New York area in the region, and he'll continue to file his reports, tonight at 11.

And not that it will do anything, but the U.N. Security Council is drafting a tentative agreement statement calling for an "immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire."

The Council calls for "immediate withdrawal" from Gaza by Israeli troops and the "unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including food, fuel and medical treatment."

Also at 11, there's apparently a deal that will affect homeowners facing foreclosures. A group of Democratic U.S. Senators say they've reached agreement with Citigroup to let bankruptcy judges alter home loans to prevent foreclosures.

Will it fly? Will it work if it does fly? We'll have the latest, at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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