The bitter truth of Mideast diplomacy: War is more effective

But the reality that war can work is playing a crucial role in the region’s festering conflicts. Some Palestinians are talking again about armed struggle. And Israeli officials, who say their censured military operations have been highly successful, are keeping track of a series of ticking clocks as they ponder still another military endeavor — against Iran.

The payoff from the use of force in the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is evident. It was only after the first Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s that Israel recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization and started to consider a two-state solution, and after the second — and very bloody — uprising that it left Gaza in 2005.

Meanwhile for many Israelis, the past decade looks like a model of the primacy of military action over diplomacy.

Through relentless commando operations and numerous checkpoints, the Israeli Army ended suicide bombings and other terrorist acts from the West Bank; since its 2006 war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, widely dismissed as a failure at the time, the group has not fired one rocket at Israel; and Israel’s operation against Gaza last December has greatly curtailed years of Hamas rocket fire, returning a semblance of normality to the Israeli south.

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