Few things are more depressing than paying attention to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The carnage and mutual hatred seem infinite. The arguments are so repetitive and fruitless. As is true in all wars, including those depicted in pleasing good-vs-evil terms, atrocities end up being committed by all sides, leading one to want to disassociate oneself from all parties involved. It is just as untenable to defend the indiscriminate launching by Hamas of projectiles into Israeli neighborhoods as it is to defend the massive air bombing by Israel of what they have turned into an open-air prison that is designed to collectively punish hundreds of thousands of human beings.
Virtually everyone wishes the entire conflict would just go away. With the exception of extremists on both sides who benefit in various ways, nobody relishes having to become involved in any of this. It is exhausting, draining, soul-crushing, and miserable. Embracing “screw-both-sides” nihilism and doing nothing else is so tempting because it appears to provide relief from the burden of paying any further attention to the horrific violence or bearing responsibility for any of it.
But for two independent reasons, this reasoning, understandable though it may be, depends upon patent fictions, and is thus invalid.
November 25th, 2012