It is very clear that there are people on this site who have very impassioned opinions about the Israelis and the Palestinians. There always are, every time any violence breaks out.
I am Jewish, progressive, and I was the kid who told my relatives (with no subtlety) that the Israelis were treating the Palestinians as badly as the Germans treated Jews during World War II. But - of course - being Jewish, I completely understand the cultural mentality left in the wake of the Holocaust.
That was 35 years ago. Nothing has changed. And why? Because both sides are to blame.
Here's what I know:
1. Hamas sucks. Regardless of their reasons, their's is a record of terrorist attacks, missiles fired against civilian Israelis, and a refusal to publically accept the right of the country they are fighting to exist.
They do hide missiles where innocent people live. And it must be nice to be the head of Hamas, living in Qatar, away from the danger and squalor.
2. Frankly, the other Arab nations have a mixed record on the Palestinians. If you recall, long before the territories came into existence. The Palestinians were refugees in camps. Some still are in Jordan and Syria. Nobody cared about them at all. It only occurred to some Arab leaders to bother when it was convenient in terms of their internal politics or diplomacy for the broader Middle East.
60+ years of this and life for the Palestinian people is no better than it was. And that is not Israel's burden alone: Hamas, the other Arab states, all have a piece of the blame.
3. Israel's response to the aggression that the Palestinians foist against them is shameful. The blockade is noxious, and their military response is responsible for the deaths of thousands, when they lose dozens. While it would certainly be advantageous to create a lasting peace for loads of practical reasons (beyond the lives it saves), the domestic politics that requires multi-party alliances, means that a move toward peace would topple the Likud government. How is that more important than saving lives? As much as Hamas needs to accept the right of Israel to exist, Israel has to accept the right of the Palestinians to live - and live with the same rights to trade, improve their infrastructure and society, as Israel has. But they won't. The result - just like Hamas' extreme refusal to admit Israel has a right to exist is Israel's extreme ideology that any attack is an excuse for any military response, no matter how strong.
4. So all the players here are awful. And the innocents on both sides are caught in the middle - more Palestinians than Israelis, but that's just because Israel has a great missile defense system. There was a time when the casualties from rockets and terrorist bombings in Israel were far worse.
5. Regardless of how they got there (and that is certainly complicated but important), Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank live in a ghetto. They are hemmed in, densely packed and therefore overly doomed in a battle. Hamas can say they are hiding their missiles without purposely using their people as human shields, but I suspect that topographically there is no choice in the matter. Too many people. And Israel can say they call and text people to get out of their homes before they blow them up, but honestly, where can they go, while staying in Gaza, that doesn't continue to pose a risk?
5. History tells us that warring parties don't stop fighting until they are ready to. Most recent case in point: Northern Ireland. They negotiated peace because all sides were sick and tired of fighting. Clearly the military on both sides in this conflict isn't tired of it yet. So really, why compromise?
So, before anybody here rights another diary about how awful one side is and how righteous the other one is, how about this: How about we all (the left, the side that hates war and killing) try reaching out to both sides in this conflict and tell them that the world has had enough. And for the sake of the dead and injured - regardless of which side of the border they started on - maybe all should beat their swords into plowshares (or whatever metaphor is apt for you), and make the future mean something worthwhile on their behalf.
11:53 AM PT: This diary has clearly touched some people who are very concerned with the overwhelming use of force by the Israeli's in this latest military action. I agree. The comments also seem to indicate that I said these two sides were "equally" to blame. I'm not assigning a value to each side's participation in the conflict. Clearly, both sides feel completely justified in their own egregious behavior. I'm saying there is blame on both sides, and beyond - and it won't end until both sides stop.