The Middle East has long been the biggest festering sore on the face of world politics and the continuous aggression from Israel the infection that keeps that sore open and weeping.
During nearly half a century of see-sawing tension since the six-day war in 1967, when Israeli forces seized control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria, the reopening of a full-scale open war has been narrowly averted many times.
But any settlement of the conflict remains elusive.
It is long past time that the world's politicians and diplomats acknowledged the reason for that elusiveness.
And that is that Israel, the region's longest-lasting and most durable rogue state, has no intention of reaching any accommodation with its Arab neighbours or of ever handing back illegally occupied Arab lands to the suffering and persecuted Palestinian people.
It has, over the intervening years, continually disregarding international law in violating the airspace and land borders of its neighbours, conducting military surveillance and on occasion, open military action, against them.
It has developed an illegal and barely hidden nuclear weapons programme to threaten them.
It has built its apartheid wall to grab huge chunks of Arab land under pretence of security concerns.
And it has exploited its status in the eyes of the US as capitalism's regional surrogate to continue its illegal actions with impunity, snuggling under the protective cloak of US economic power to guard it both inside and outside the United Nations.
All to one overwhelming purpose - to maintain political instability in the region and thus continue to hold lands that it claims but has no right to in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of the world's nations.
While that instability remains, Israel can also continue to erode the foothold of the Palestinian people on lands that are, in all legal and historic senses, theirs.
But times are changing and the Israeli government is reacting to them.
The Arab spring has caused a shift in internal Arab politics, Egypt is no longer the supine neighbour that it was under Hosni Mubarak and the tensions between Palestine's secular Fatah and Islamist Hamas are the subject of reconciliation talks.
However, the Syrian civil war has given Israel a new pretext it has not been slow in seizing.
It launched an air strike inside Syria on Tuesday, targeting either a convoy believed to contain anti-aircraft weapons bound for Lebanon or a military research establishment, depending on which report you believe.
Either way, it was a vicious provocation in an already flammable situation
The head of the Israeli air force said only hours before the attack that his corps was involved in a covert "campaign between wars."
Major-General Amir Eshel said: "We are taking action to reduce the immediate threats, to create better conditions in which we will be able to win the wars when they happen."
No perspective for peace there, just the prospect of endless war - and yet more time for Israel to continue to strangle hopes of Palestinian statehood.
Israel is raising tensions in the region yet again, but it cannot be allowed to continue.
The stakes for the Palestinians and for all of us are too high to allow such unprincipled adventurism to succeed.
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