The Common Good

Gaza: A War Without Winners

I began a fast for peace when Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip. Last week, I ended the fast, as fighting has stopped and most if not all the troops have left Gaza.

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This is a fragile cease-fire at best -- and perhaps one of the strangest in the history of human conflict. Each side has declared a unilateral cease-fire on its own terms, while refusing to talk to the other or acknowledge the other's terms.

Both Israel and Hamas have also declared victory.

But any security Israel may have gained by diminishing Hamas' military capacity, and by receiving new U.S. assurances of assistance, has been more than offset by its loss of international standing -- and by the political drubbing that it has taken among Arab and Muslim nations, whose anger is palpable.

And any prestige that Hamas may have gained by surviving one of the world's most formidable military powers has been more than offset by the crushing loss of civilian lives, homes, and infrastructure in Gaza. Today Gazans are sifting numbly through the rubble, counting and mourning their losses.

This war has no winners, save those who manufacture weapons.

I have few illusions that the cease-fire will last long

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