[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/28/gaza.israel.international.reaction/art.gaza.wounded.afp.gi.jpg caption="A wounded man is lifted onto a stretcher after arriving at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Sunday."]
Michael B. Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi
The Wall Street Journal
A quarter century has passed since Israel last claimed to go to war in the name of peace.
"Operation Peace for Galilee" - Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon - failed to convince the international public and even many Israelis that its goal was to promote reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world. In fact, the war had precisely the opposite results, preparing the way for Yasser Arafat's disastrous return to the West Bank and Gaza, and for Hezbollah's ultimate domination of Lebanon. And yet, Israel's current operation in Gaza is essential for creating the conditions that could eventually lead to a two-state solution.
Over the past two decades, a majority of Israelis have shifted from adamant opposition to Palestinian statehood to acknowledging the need for such a state. This transformation represented a historic victory for the Israeli left, which has long advocated Palestinian self-determination. The left's victory, though, remained largely theoretical: The right won the practical argument that no amount of concessions would grant international legitimacy to Israel's right to defend itself.
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