10 July 2014
That's what I'm feeling right now, during the latest round of rocket launches and air strikes between Israel and the Hamas administration in Gaza. I'd better clarify my position: Palestinians have every right to irredentist sentiments and no historical obligation to defer to Zionism. But what good does doing what they do do them? They are not going to destroy Israel on their own, especially not with their pissant coup-counting rockets, and most of the rest of the Muslim Middle East is fighting amongst themselves. No anti-Zionist jihad is likely to unite the region anytime soon. Meanwhile, the argument that dismantling the Jewish State and dispersing its people would be a war crime greater than any Israel has perpetrated against Palestine remains compelling. There's no reason to believe that Israelis and Arabs can share land and power amicably any more than Sunnis and Shiites can. Nor does any Gandhi or Dr. King figure seem likely to arise in Palestine, and in any event such a figure is unlikely to have a like effect on Zionists. By now it seems like the only way the Palestinians, in Gaza at least, can feel a sense of identity is through resistance. Their actions have an existential rather than strategic quality. What else can it mean if, as some reports indicate, Palestinians are volunteering to be human shields for Hamas rocket positions? That'd be fine if they actually kept Israelis from firing on those positions, but the Netanyahu government has made it pretty plain that Hamas will be to blame for all such deaths for promoting the idea of human shields and embedding their launchers in civilian areas. This sort of martyrdom will have no practical effect; it may galvanize global opinion but the west has a veto on that. So if someone becomes a human shield hoping only for personal martyrdom without caring whether there are any positive consequences in this world, that's a pretty selfish act -- but again, it tells you what these poor idiots are up against in their part of the world. The futility of it all -- of the perpetuation of it -- disgusts me. But you can't stop them and you can't stop Israel in the current global political climate. The really sad part is that humanitarian considerations only ensure that the cycle of violence will keep on cycling. We hope that all conflicts can be resolved without all-out war, but it may be that in some cases only all-out war can resolve them. Unfortunately for the Palestinians of Gaza, only one side is really equipped to wage all-out war, and it isn't theirs. Do they expect a miracle to save them? If so, I'm tempted to say they deserve whatever they get instead. I'm tempted to add that both sides deserve worse than they're suffering now. but deserve's got nothing to do with history.