One topic that was noticeably absent from the debate last night was the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is currently in a phase of escalation as Israeli armored vehicles begin to surround Gaza in an operation dubbed "Days of Penitence":
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz had ordered troops to "exact a price" from the militants, security officials said, after a Hamas rocket killed two children, ages 2 and 4, in an Israeli border town.
Hundreds of troops, backed by tanks and helicopters, have been operating in northern Gaza since Wednesday, but more soldiers were expected to move into the area in coming hours.
On Thursday, 28 Palestinians were killed and 139 wounded, most of them in Jebaliya. It was the highest single-day toll in fighting in 30 months. In violence elsewhere in Gaza that day, two Israeli soldiers and a settler were killed by Palestinian fire.
And so the cycle continues. The debate proved exactly how disengaged the US is in this matter, despite the fact that the conflict is a primary source of American hatred and helps fuel a global holy war focussed on punishing Israel and its closest ally. Certainly weapons proliferation is a highly important topic, but so is this — the United States must redouble its efforts to bring about some sort of compromise in this situation for it may be the only way to repair an image that has been tainted in a highly volatile region.
More at Digital Dissent.