It's amazing how much of the discussion of the Gaza war is based on the supposition that it is still 1979. It's based on the supposition that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a self-contained struggle being run by the two parties most directly involved. It's based on the supposition that the horror could be ended if only deft negotiators could achieve a "breakthrough" and a path toward a two-state agreement.
But it is not 1979. People's mental categories may be stuck in the past, but reality has moved on. The violence between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, may look superficially like past campaigns, but the surrounding context is transformed.
What's happened, of course, is that the Middle East has begun what Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations has called its 30 Years War-- an overlapping series of clashes and proxy wars that could go on for decades and transform identities, maps and the political contours of the region.
It no longer makes sense to look at the Israeli-Palestinian contest as an independent struggle. It, like every conflict in the region, has to be seen as a piece of the larger 30 Years' War.
Brook's article is well worth the time to read in its entirety. Once again, we see illustrated in how many understand the conflict in the Middle East is the binary thinking of either/or, right/wrong analysis that fails to capture the complicated situation in what is still referred to as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Complicated situations call for sophisticated thinking that refuses to resort to simplistic solutions while primarily blaming only one side or the other. Palestinians and Israelis are suffering and dying. Witty Facebook memes will not help them.
And speaking of Facebook, I have noticed when scrolling down my social media wall how those who side primarily with the Palestinians are linking into news stories that only show the Israelis in a negative light while those siding basically with Israel are doing the same negative information sharing in reference to the Palestinians and Hamas. Unfortunately, the echo chamber will get us nowhere.
In the midst of a heated argument we sometimes wish that cooler heads will prevail. In the midst of this very complex situation may the sophisticated heads prevail on all sides.
The lives of too many depend upon it
The inspiration for this brief post came from a comment made on social media by Bishop Ken Carter.