But stopping the fighting might not be the best idea. I've written many times before about the problems that occur when the ruling political power does not enjoy a monopoly of violence within its borders. Hezbollah drags Lebanon into a unwanted war with Israel that wreaks massive devastation on the civilian population; Sunni and Shiite militias in Iraq run around undermining the power and legitimacy of the central government. In Palestine, neither faction can advance its platform as the other has sufficient force to interfere.
Several years ago, Edward Luttwak wrote an article in Foreign Affairs entitled "Give War a Chance," in which he argued:
An unpleasant truth often overlooked is that although war is a great evil, it does have a great virtue: it can resolve political conflicts and lead to peace. This can happen when all belligerents become exhausted or when one wins decisively. Either way the key is that the fighting must continue until a resolution is reached. War brings peace only after passing a culminating phase of violence. Hopes of military success must fade for accommodation to become more attractive than further combat.The problem in Palestine is that each side has enough force, power, and support to believe that it should not have to submit to the will of the other. Cease-fires, truces, and negotiations only pause the conflict, allowing each side to regroup and rearm for the next outbreak of violence. It very well may be best for Hamas and Fatah to fight it out to the bitter end, enabling one side or the other to establish political control over the Palestinian territories. Permitting a civil war to rage may be of cold comfort to the Palestinian people who will suffer, but perhaps the short-term pain will produce a long-term political solution that has eluded them to date.