THE GAZA campaign has taken a heavy toll. Tragic loss of life on both sides. Vast destruction. Mass displacement. Serious humanitarian concerns. Strains in Israel’s relations with the US. Searing worldwide criticism of Israel and possible legal steps against its leaders.

In early August, after a month of fighting, Israel redeployed its forces in Gaza without having won a decisive victory. After six Hamas humanitarian cease-fire violations, the government decided to drop plans for a negotiated new arrangement for Gaza through Egyptian auspices. The hope was that staying away from talks in Cairo would pressure Hamas into accepting a deal favorable to Israel or remaining empty-handed.

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