In two posts about the Israeli assault on Gaza, Norman Geras gives a convincing answer to those who prompted the charge that Israel’s use of force is “disproportionate,” and agrees with what David Grossman has proposed to Israel. In turn, I definitely agree with Norm. “After its severe strike on Gaza,” says Grossman,
Israel would do well to stop, turn to Hamas’ leaders and say: Until Saturday Israel held its fire in the face of thousands of Qassams from the Gaza Strip. Now you know how harsh its response can be. So as not to add to the death and destruction we will now hold our fire unilaterally and completely for the next 48 hours. Even if you fire at Israel, we will not respond with renewed fighting. We will grit our teeth, as we did all through the recent period, and we will not be dragged into replying with force.
Moreover, we invite interested countries, neighbors near and far, to mediate between us and you to bring back the cease-fire. If you hold your fire, we will not renew ours. If you continue firing while we are practicing restraint, we will respond at the end of this 48 hours, but even then we will keep the door open to negotiations to renew the cease-fire, and even on a general and expanded agreement.
That is what Israel should do now. Is it possible, or are we too imprisoned in the familiar ceremony of war?