"Operation Cast Lead did of course bring about a certain neutralization of the attackers and the missile attacks ¬ but did it reduce the bitterness prevailing between the peoples," YES - no missiles from Gaza certainly helps the bitterness from the Israeli side. No retaliation helps the bitterness from the Gazans' side. The only loser is Hamas which could not deliver to its people and needed a state of constant war to justify its existence " did it weaken Hamas' position," YES. Hamas is much less popular now than it was before the war. Hamas gambled that it could deliver a "victory" of the sort Hezbollah did and gain prestige. Gambled and lost. Usually warmongers who lose are escorted out. Except in the Arab world. Thus, the continuing pathology. " and did it guarantee Israel's long-term security interests? " NO. But continued missiles on Sderot were not helping either. Overall it brought more long term security rather than less since it reinforced the idea that one cannot attack civilians in Israel with impunity. If the European liberals. So here's the problem with Clegg and other liberal Europeans vis a vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - even when their statements are proven false they cling to certain beliefs against reason and experience. Anyway, latest polls suggest Clegg will lose.
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