Danny Finkelstein concisely makes the key points. What he sadly (and inaccurately) calls "liberal opinion" is asking Israel to "make peace" with people who will not be satisfied (at present) with anything less than its annihilation. The government of a democratic state could not achieve a mandate to accept that, even it if wanted to. Israel's military objective is not the annihilation of the Palestinians. It is to soften them up, so that they will make peace. It is not an easy objective, as the history of the region has shown, but it is achievable, given time and courage.
The Palestinians' worst enemy is not Israel. It is the rest of the Muslim world that has left them twisting in the wind for so long. The Iranians and the Arabs prevent a peace settlement because they don't accept Israel's right to exist. Yet they are no longer willing (after repeated military humiliations) to put their armies into the field to conquer it. Hence a pathetic nation reduced to using its women and children as weapons, as its wealthy and well-armed "supporters" cheer them on from a safe distance. Someone should give the Muslim leaders a copy of Sun Tzu's Art of War. The wise old Chinese general would explain to them that - even if you have the courage (as they do not) to deploy your armies - it is a mistake to set a war goal that involves your enemy's destruction. You need to leave him an exit so he has the possibility to retreat, building him a golden bridge if necessary so he is not forced to turn and fight.
The feminist, pro-gay, secular left in Britain (i.e. Danny's "liberal opinion") is now siding unequivocally with misogynist, homophobic religious fanatics. I can understand (all too well) why Neanderthal elements of the socially-conservative blogosphere are anti-Israel, but what is the left's excuse?
Perhaps Israel has simply become too closely associated with their real enemy, the United States of America? It is amusing to watch the leftist British media breathlessly anticipate, in this context, the coming of "the One." I suspect they are in for a disappointment. President-elect Obama is the most left-wing leader the United States is ever likely to have. As his un-American policies are put into practice, I predict a wave of revulsion will sweep him from office after a single term. Until then, however, he will support Israel as his party requires. How will the left handle that? Will they just ignore it, as they are now conveniently ignoring Tony Blair's comprehensive failure as a peace envoy? When you are a pretty, charming bearer of the left's grim standard, it seems that much may be forgiven you. Nonetheless, the ideological contortions will be fun to watch.