Many have drawn comparisons between Israeli occupation and South African apartheid. Such comparisons are instructive, not only as a moral gauge but in terms of offering solutions to the current crisis.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people and the conflict it produces has in the past week taken on a horror-film aspect, as reprisal killings against children and teens have proliferated.
The timing was conspicuous and apparently intentional regarding Tuesday's news of the fatal shooting of four Israeli settlers in the West Bank by Hamas gunmen a day before Israeli-Palestinian talks were set to start in Washington.
Human rights investigators are adding yet another alleged war crime to existing accusations of Israel's war-time exuberance, as Amnesty International officials believe Israel's military forces engaged in "wanton destruction" of civilian homes during the bloody assault on Gaza.
I have long raged against any comparisons with the Second World War -- whether of the Arafat-is-Hitler variety once deployed by Menachem Begin or of the anti-war- demonstrators-are- 1930s-appeasers, most recently used by George Bush and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara.
If reporting is, as I suspect, a record of mankind's folly, then the end of 2008 is proving my point.
An interim decision by the Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday marked the beginning of what could become a two-tiered road system in the West Bank. With two separate legal systems for Palestinians and Israelis already in operation, critics fear segregated roads would lead toward further institutionalization of apartheid in the occupied territories.
Attacks by Israeli forces killed more than 70 Palestinians on Saturday as fighting intensified in northern Gaza, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to call the incursion "more than a holocaust." Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were wounded, the Israeli military reported. Updated.