An Eye For An Eye Makes The Whole World Blind

From the NYT:

“Israeli aircraft pounded Gaza for a second day on Sunday, increasing the death toll to nearly 300, as Israeli troops and tanks massed along the border and the government said it had called up reserves for a possible ground operation.

The continued strikes, which Israel said were in retaliation for sustained rocket fire from Gaza into its territory, unleashed a furious reaction across the Arab world, raising fears of greater instability in the region. (…)

In Gaza on Sunday, officials said medical services, stretched to the breaking point after 18 months of Israeli sanctions, were on the verge of collapse as they struggled to care for the more than 600 people wounded in two days. (…)

Israel made a strong push to justify the attacks, saying it was forced into military action to defend its citizens. At the same time, heated statements from the supreme religious leader of Iran and the leader of Hezbollah expressed strong support for Hamas.”

From an earlier article:

“There was a shocking quality to Saturday’s attacks, which began in broad daylight as police cadets were graduating, women were shopping at the outdoor market, and children were emerging from school.

The center of Gaza City was a scene of chaotic horror, with rubble everywhere, sirens wailing, and women shrieking as dozens of mutilated bodies were laid out on the pavement and in the lobby of Shifa Hospital so that family members could identify them. The dead included civilians, including several construction workers and at least two children in school uniforms.

By afternoon, shops were shuttered, funerals began and mourning tents were visible on nearly every major street of this densely populated city.”

One of the many things that makes the Israeli/Palestinian conflict so utterly dispiriting is that it’s impossible to think of anything good coming of any of this. Worse than that, it’s hard to imagine that even the people involved think anything good will come of it.

What, exactly, do the Palestinians lobbing rockets into Sderot think they will accomplish? That the Israelis will look about them and say: Holy Moly, I had no idea this place was so dangerous!, and leave? Do the Israelis think: even though we’ve bombed the Palestinians a whole lot, and it’s never done much good before, maybe this time it will be different! Maybe Hamas will say: heavens, this is a pretty serious round of attacks; maybe we should just sue for peace — ? Or what?

I imagine what people on both sides are thinking is something more like: do you expect us to just sit here and take it? Do you expect us to do nothing? To which my answer is: no, I expect you to try to figure out what has some prospect of actually making things better. Killing people out of anger, frustration, and the sense that you have to do something is just wrong. For both sides. And its actual results are numbingly predictable:

Hamas lacks the technology to aim its rockets. They’re taking potshots. In response, the Israeli government launched air strikes that have now killed more than 280 Palestinians, injured hundreds beyond that, and further radicalized thousands in the Occupied Territories and millions in the region. The response will not come today, of course. It will come in months, or even in years, when an angry orphan detonates a belt filled with shrapnel, killing himself and 25 Israelis. At which point the Israelis will launch air strikes killing another 70 Palestinians, radicalizing thousands more, leading to more bombings, and so the cycle continues.

Cernig is right:

“Indiscriminate unguided rocket attacks on civilians and indiscriminate but deliberately targeted airstrikes on civilian infrastructure are both wrong. Collective punishment is collective punishment and is morally wrong no matter the relative intensity by which both sides pursue it or what has gone before in the way of provocation. Wrong (Strength 2) + Wrong (Strength 5) cannot ever = Right (Strength 7). All you can say is that one is less wrong but still ultimately morally reprehensible.”

As is Spencer:

“Do you believe for a moment that leveling Gaza will stop the rockets? Well, then you’ve lost your right to call the peaceniks naive. You want the cycle broken? Then you can start by breaking your own.”

As was Gandhi, who gave me the title for my post.

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