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In “Letters from Iceland,” W. H. Auden reflected on “the cold controlled ferocity of the human species.” The latest flare-up in the cold war between Hamas and Israel is “an extraordinary vision” of that ferocity.

For Americans, who’ve been reduced to near penury by their politicians, there is, however, some good news.

To the cheers of his Israel-first constituency, Mitt Romney would have escalated the conflict between Hamas and Israel, using it to aggrandize his devotion to Israel.

Conversely – and probably by default – Barack Obama has helped to empower Egypt to act as a regional power.

Hamas is a rib from the Muslim Brotherhood’s ribcage. It is only right that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi assume a lead in the negotiations between the parties.

Indeed, “Hamas listens to Mohammed Morsi,” seconded Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations and Middle East analyst at the London School of Economics. “Hamas looks up to Egypt now, at this particular stage, and that is why Egypt has emerged as the most important state vis-a-vis Hamas and Gaza.”

And Morsi has manned-up.

BBC News confirmed that:

“Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr announced the ceasefire at a news conference in Cairo with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who joined negotiations on Wednesday. … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had agreed to a U.S. suggestion ‘to give a chance to Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire and so give an opportunity to stabilize the situation and calm it …’”

“Obama’s America has taken a backseat in yet another conflict,” the neocons will cavil. Rejoice, for the more forlorn neoconservatives are, the better off we the people are.

Order lIana Mercer’s brilliant polemical work, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa”

Ultimately, when regional players must face one another, they are more likely to reconcile.

As much as she’d like to will the world into thinking she has been indispensable in negotiating the Israeli-Palestinian (fragile) ceasefire, the outgoing U.S. secretary of state arrived in the region well after rumors had spread that an agreement was being brokered by Mohammed Morsi.

Hillary, whose game is up because of Benghazi, is eager to salvage her political reputation.

In the fullness of time, I believe, it will transpire that the woman who cracks the whip at Foggy Bottom had decided to leave the U.S. consulate in Libya undefended. The open community center she was running there was meant to signal that the war on Libya, Hillary’s special project, was a success. (Recall, Libya was a war of the womb, a product of the romantic minds of three women who fantasized about an Arab awakening. This estrogen-driven paternalism on steroids began, as in Greek mythology, with the Gorgon sisters. Medusa’s posse included Samantha Power and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. They helped Hillary devise the casus belli for the war.)

The locking of horns between Hamas and Israel cost 150 Palestinians and five Israelis their lives. The fight was started by Hamas. Hamas hides among unwitting civilians, who have no way of controlling its activities.

This fact does not give Israel the right to kill innocent non-combatants, not even unintentionally.

Besides, murder is not “unintentional” when you know it is inevitable.

To make matters worse, Gazans are helpless – they are without siren systems to warn them of an impending attack, or bomb shelters in which to hide.

After its 2006 Lebanon fiasco, I proposed that Israel deploy the best of its special-operations units. Israeli commandos such as the “Sayeret Matkal” are trained in surgical strikes, including modern urban counter-terrorism operations. “Sayeret” soldiers can trace and neutralize the source of an attack against Israeli civilians sans “collateral damage.”

Yes, what’s the matter with Israel’s Special Operations capabilities? Where are Israel’s precision Pac Men?

Did the Israel Defense Forces rain bombs, willy-nilly, on the civilians at the Entebbe Airport – in Uganda, on July 4, 1976 – where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held 100 hijacked Jews and Israelis hostage?

Not on your life.

Led by Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyau’s late great brother, 100 members of the “Sayeret” traversed 2,500 miles to rescue their brethren. They killed only those who needed killing.

It used to be that leaders like Yoni Netanyahu charged with their men into battle. Not anymore. Nowadays, celebrity, champagne-swilling generals give the order to chubby men in armored machines, who then bomb the anthills from above and afar.

The truth is that modern, standing armies are commandeered by cowards.

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