The U.S. and Britain on Sunday warned about the risks of Israel expanding its air assault on the Gaza Strip into a ground war, while vigorously defending the Jewish state’s right to protect itself against rocket attacks. [Associated Press]

Negotiations are going on as we speak and I hope we will reach something soon that will stop this violence and counter-violence. I think we are close, but the nature of this kind of negotiation [means] it is very difficult to predict. [UK Guardian]

AT LEAST we now have a standard. It’s the arm’s length style of killing spree. Bombs are okay, as are drones, but a ground war is becoming too expensive for leaders to comprehend.

“Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference in Bangkok at the start of a three-nation visit to Asia. “If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable,” Obama said. “It’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It’s also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”

But over the weekend the real goal of the Israelis was revealed, which no one, including President Obama, should consider a right of Israel.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.” [Haaretz]

The status quo continues.

There are no leaders in Israel with any vision, so the 21st century continues much as the 20th has, with Palestinians being killed by the dozens, including three generations of one Palestinians family, while the world watches.

There hasn’t been a leader in the United States with any passion for peace in the Middle East since Yasser Arafat stiffed President Bill Clinton.