In the Israeli PM's own words, the people of Gaza are "pissed off with Hamas".
Now I am not pro-Hamas. In fact I have no problem with it being labeled an extreme and fundamentalist organization. The problem as I see it is that Hamas is now a democratically elected entity. The "West", and primarily the US, severely misunderstood the social and political dynamics when there was agreement to the idea of Hamas participating in Palestinian elections.
There seems little doubt that Hamas is anti-Israel and this means, in my mind at least, that any kind of truce will be short-lived. I just do not believe that Hamas has the sort of governance control it needs to reign in the militants and stop the rocket attacks. I hope I am wrong. I would love to see genuine peace in that part of the world in my life time. Yep, the eternal optimist!
The Israeli PM has close links to Australia and has family members living in Australia. In fact his cousin is married to the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and an aunt in Sydney.
The PM has grand plans of making peace with Lebanon and Syria. The plan even includes opening an Israeli Embassy in Damascus. Now this kind of peace would significantly change the geo-political dynamic of the region for the better. However, before any of these grand plans are likely to come to fruition the PM needs to survive the corruption allegations that by all accounts have two possible outcomes; resignation or new elections.
In any event there seems to be an open invitation to the Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, to visit Israel. This comes on the heals of the Australian Federal Parliament passing a resolution that commemorated Israel's first 60 years of existence in March of 2008.
Maybe I will write more on this Middle East stuff in the future because I am an opinionated bugger on this issue!