Dahlia Lithwick: “What it’s like to be in Jerusalem as the conflict escalates”
It says so much about the state of our discourse that the surest way to enrage everyone is to tweet about peace in the Middle East. We should be doing better because, much as I hate to say it, the harrowing accounts of burnt-out basements and baby shoes on each side of this conflict don’t constitute a conversation. Counting and photographing and tweeting injured children on each side isn’t dialogue. Scoring your own side’s suffering is a powerful way to avoid fixing the real problems, and trust me when I tell you that everyone — absolutely everyone — is suffering and sad and yet being sad is not fixing the problems either.
One good lesson I am learning this week is to shut up and listen. Because the only way to cut through the mutual agony here is to find people who have solutions and to hear what they have to say. Bombing the other side into oblivion is no more a solution than counting your dead children in public. The best thing about shutting up and listening? You eventually lose the impulse to speak.
… You want to hear about what it’s like here? It’s fucking sad. Everyone I know is sad. My kids don’t care who started it and the little boys in Issawiya, the Arab village I see out my window, don’t care much either. I haven’t met a single Israeli who is happy about this. They know this fixes nothing. The one thing we learned this week is how quickly humans can come to normalize anything. But the hopelessness seeps right into your bones as well.
Each day here lays bare the ugliness of war, and for my siblings and me, each scene of our movie starts the same: we are trapped. And that is where our story begins and ends.
Robert Wright: “Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?”
So in Israel the question was how to respond to aggression from Gaza, and in Gaza the question was how to respond to aggression from Israel. And each side considered its own use of force — what the other side called provocation — a response to provocation.
Patrick S. O’Donnell has a collection of informative links on Israel & Gaza at Religious Left Law. So does Daniel Nexon at Duck of Minerva.
• Juan Cole: “Top Ten Myths About Israeli Attack on Gaza”
• Ruth Everhart: “Is Peace Hopeless? Pray Anyway”