A major flare-up in the fighting is another factor that could torpedo the talks.
A torpedo aimed at the hull of the Bush legacy doesn't exactly seem like a White House playing defense.
Hamas is playing an active role in trying to torpedo the peace process.
1520s, "electric ray," from Latin torpedo, originally "numbness" (from the effect of being jolted by the ray's electric discharges), from torpere "be numb" (see torpor). The sense of "explosive device used to blow up enemy ships" is first recorded 1776, as a floating mine; the self-propelled version is from 1860s.
1873, from torpedo (n.). Figurative sense attested from 1895. Related: Torpedoed; torpedoing.