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Assumptions: if Israel X, then Hamas will stop.  If Hamas Y, then Israel will stop.  What is the historical bases of these assumptions?  To be clear, I propose that the only meaningful definition of stop is the permanent cessation of armed conflict on both sides.  Otherwise, stop just refers to a temporary reduction and resetting of armed conflict and is meaningless because it has failed to change either conditions or reform hearts and minds.  Without internal alignment of the actors, can there be external alignment between actors?  Leaders on both sides have an absence of trust and/or self-interested (e.g. economic, political/power, religious, ideological) reasons to perpetuate the conflict.  Perspectivally, at least, the conflict is occurring on homelands and involves people with a historical identity that includes oppression and a struggle to survive.  This drives at least some actors on both sides to engage in total war, each according to relative power and capability.  Many of the same arguments over tactics, etc. in this conflict can be applied to the Revolutionary War between the U.S.A. and England.  I do not see how externally brokered “peace” results in anything other than the perpetuation of fear and structural oppression on both sides and the perpetuation of the conditions that, based on history, can only lead to war.  It seems like peace between the parties can only occur when conditions result in both sides exhausted of conflict and aligned in a way that enables the organic development of peace between the parties.  The proportional response argument and the comparison of body counts are two examples of the illogic that applies.  Each party acts in the only way it can under the conditions.  For example, larger groups generally engage in conventional warfare for economic and political reasons.  Smaller groups generally engage in low intensity conflict warfare means due to a lack of economic, political, and military power.  I think all parties are prisoners to the situation and engaged in a prisoner’s dilemma.  Thus, the least rational outcome results and they betray themselves and one another.  Perhaps, it is not that Israel and Hamas need to stop, that war can end by the absence of activities, but that Israel and Hamas need to start a set of activities internally hold combatants accountable and that signal to one another indirectly and set the basis for peace.  For illustration purposes, by total war and internal actions that would reverse total war and signal to the other side the basis of peace, Israel could, for instance, destroy illegal settlements created by its citizens.  Based upon limited economic, military, and political power, I would not expect the Palestinian response to be proportional.  So, for example, Palestine could turn over some rockets.  Eventually, as disproportional reciprocity continued, each side would have to start arresting and imprisoning its own combatants removing their capacity to escalate the situation.  It seems absurd that the international role is to perpetuate war by providing economic incentive to fight in an area with limited economic options and then stands back blaming others.  Arguing over which side’s actions are worse.  This situation requires dialectical thought, the capacity to take two diametrically opposed ideas and merge them via a process akin to chemical compounding to produce an entirely new third and best option.  Instead, what dominates is simple arithmetic thinking on a binary level that produces nothing new.

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