What Israel must now do...
The Palestinian cause for own Nationhood is basically lost. Divided among themselves, defeated in Gaza, incapable of stopping any further Israeli colonisation of Judea and Samaria and without any serious support from the International Community (IC, the International Cowards in this case), any dreams the Palestinians may still have fostered should now be firmly laid to rest. Paying lip service to the Two State solution by figures like Tony Blair or Washington is deeply immoral. The Palestinians are powerless in the face of all this and no one is going to hand them statehood on a silver platter. Without at least some negotiating and bargaining clout, coming to the table is simply asking for another smack in the face. The powerful have choices the weak don't have; it's a moral imperative the powerful put these choices to best use: to their own advantage.
Israel must now capitalise on the momentum it's gained at a moment when clearly the direction it has taken a long time ago goes unopposed. If only to give some meaning to the latest round of bloodletting, Israel must now make good on the advantage it has acquired in 40 years of Occupation.
Firstly it must finish off the job in Gaza: merely killing 280 or so Hamas fighters isn't good enough when later it transpires that its rocket launching capabilities haven't been diminished sufficiently. A fully fledged invasion and renewed military occupation of Gaza, until the last Hamas fighter has either been killed, expelled or captured is the only thing that will do. Considering that half-measures will only strengthen Gazan support for Hamas, this is logically, strategically and even morally the only right thing to do.
Secondly but more importantly, in Judea and Samaria, Israel, spearheaded by their "finest" (the current settlers), must accelerate Jewish colonisation: the mood in the country is clearly ready for it. The Far Right, increasingly both vocal and active in securing more settlements is on a roll and will need little encouragement: even covert condoning by any Israeli government should be enough; these people will know when to take a hint. Perhaps the government could even set its finest linguists to work to come up with a euphemistic term for this operation, something a la previous 'disengagement' or 'realignment'? Any resistance from Palestinians can and should be used to Israeli advantage: the old 'freedom fighter or terrorist' dilemma isn't really a dilemma, it's more matter of putting the desired spin on things. Nothing a well-oiled PR campaign cannot achieve.
Israeli settlers must occupy at least fifty percent of actual territory in Judea and Samaria within the next five years and ensure that enough Palestinians are expelled/transferred to guarantee that subsequent annexation of the colonised and the remaining territory and any Palestinians therein contained cannot lead to a demographic nightmare for Greater Israel.
Time is of the essence: some Americans are starting to grumble about 'Israel's diminishing strategic importance' and assorted dangerous talk. The new President elect, although currently clearly very stum on the I/P subject may want to get a second term legacy project out of the I/P conflict. But we know the Americans love winners and if Israel acts swiftly and creates a 'fait accompli', Judeo-Christian sentiment and sympathy will prevail.
Israel has nothing to fear but fear itself. Unassailable on the ground, air and sea by either the Palestinians or any neighbouring Arab state, and in possession of nuclear weapons (including second strike capability), it must now give some real value to Palestinian suffering by ensuring that forty years of it have served at least some purpose: the realisation of the restoration of Biblical Israel.
And for the Palestinians there remains one glimmer of hope at the end of a long tunnel: that by 2020 or so their situation will have deteriorated so much that the International Community may at last do more that just take notice and take notes: it may decide to act but by then it'll be too late, at least in all likelihood...
Update: Israelis that condemn the action:
Gideon Levy - Ha'aretz
Blood will now flow like water. Besieged and impoverished Gaza, the city of refugees, will pay the main price. But blood will also be unnecessarily spilled on our side. In its foolishness, Hamas brought this on itself and on its people, but this does not excuse Israel's overreaction.
The pictures that flooded television screens around the world yesterday showed a parade of corpses and wounded being loaded into and unloaded from the trunks of private cars that transported them to the only hospital in Gaza worthy of being called a hospital. Perhaps we once again need to remember that we are dealing with a wretched, battered strip of land, most of whose population consists of the children of refugees who have endured inhumane tribulations.
For two and a half years, they have been caged and ostracized by the whole world. The line of thinking that states that through war we will gain new allies in the Strip; that abusing the population and killing its sons will sear this into their consciousness; and that a military operation would suffice in toppling an entrenched regime and thus replace it with another one friendlier to us is no more than lunacy.
Hezbollah was not weakened as a result of the Second Lebanon War; to the contrary. Hamas will not be weakened due to the Gaza war; to the contrary. In a short time, after the parade of corpses and wounded ends, we will arrive at a fresh cease-fire, as occurred after Lebanon, exactly like the one that could have been forged without this superfluous war.
Amira Hass - Ha'aretz
In the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood alone, there were 43 fatalities. One mourning tent was set up for all of them. Most of them were young policemen who had joined the civilian police and were killed during the course commencement ceremony.
Training camps of the Izz-al Din al-Qassam and interrogation and detention centers were deserted when they were bombed. But police centers in the Strip, which give services to people, were teeming. No one believed that they would be bombed.
In the afternoon, they were still looking for bodies in the debris. Khalil Shahin rushed to the police station in the center of the Strip. "A huge building, and all of it on the floor," he said. Some 30 people were killed there. He knew that his nephew, a civilian, was killed when he went to clear up some matter at the station.