The Israel-Palestine conflict is a defining issue of our time, but has also ended up becoming a primary example of the so-called 'confirmation bias', where a particular position is adopted, and then retrospectively justified with selective pieces of evidence, ignoring anything which may be contradictory.
Whether the present ceasefire lasts, and whether it results in a meaningful longer term peace agreement, is yet to be seen. What is inarguable is that without justice for the Palestinians there will never be peace. Israel's security will only be guaranteed by ending the occupation, settlements expansion, and its resistance to Palestinian self determination. A policy of war-war must now give way to jaw-jaw.
While the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire is welcome, it will only last if the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people are remedied. Similar ceasefires have failed in the past precisely because of a lack of progress towards a negotiated settlement that is fair to the Palestinians. A genuine injustice is what gives the Palestinian fanatics influence.
What this conflict lacks is a politician on either side (or both) who can see that violence serves only to perpetuate more violence. The massive wall across the length of Israel's border did stop the suicide bombings, but unless the Israelis can build it 30,000 feet high it's not going to stop the shells landing in Ashkelon. (If there are any Israeli Ministers reading this by the way, that's a joke, please don't try it.)
"This is why I started gigging under the name Miss D - because I was scared. I thought These people are so vicious they will come follow me to gigs and, because my on-stage persona was so new and vulnerable... Look, it's scary coming on-stage and telling jokes when you think you have a lot of enemies you don't even know."
Just as the reams of fervent pieces I read in the British media supporting Palestine make wholly worthwhile points, so too does the American press make the same justifications for the opposing side, and perhaps a wider cross referencing of reading on the matter might encourage people to look at the situation anew.
While the rockets targeting Israeli civilians - men, women, and children - do not carry as deadly a payload as that of the German bombs of World War II, their aim is equally sinister and illegitimate: to instill fear in the hearts of Israelis and undermine their right to live in a free and independent state.
If Obama doesn't want to go down in history as the American President who missed the last chance for a two state solution he must not only act now to stop the bloodshed but devote serious American engagement to getting peace talks going again. He may fail, as others have before him (although the Arab Spring has changed the Middle East dynamic and should help focus Israeli minds), but at least he will have tried.
Gaza has been under siege since January 2006, after its residents dared to elect a Hamas goverment. The subsequent economic blockade imposed upon the Strip by the Israeli government at one stage prevented the residents of Gaza from importing, among other things, coriander, ginger, nutmeg and, even, newspapers.