There is also a potential scenario that The Economist calls "fanciful" at present, even though it "may become more realistic" over time: an agreement between the bristlingly hostile Hamas and Fatah organizations "to let Mr Abbas continue to negotiate with Israel, [while] both Palestinian parties would agree to hold new elections—and to respect their results."

More in line with the present grim reality is the reaction by Israeli citizen Moshed Harel, whose 15-year-old son was inside the Jerusalem yeshiva when Ala Abu Dhaim began firing randomly in the library. After waiting an agonizing half-hour to learn that his son was safe, Harel said heavily: "It's a long war. It didn't start today. It won't end tomorrow."

Across the street, a 19-year-old rabbinical student, Chaim Schur, told The Washington Post: "We just want to stop. We don't want to go on killing kids in Gaza. It's not our fault."

Some years ago, I was told that the trees we Boston kids helped to plant in Palestine—in the hopes of seeing a Jewish homeland there one day—have survived. For the sake of both Israelis and Palestinians, I hope they remain standing.

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