A simplistic view of the Israel/Palestine conflict

…but somehow kinda poignant. A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog sets up a scenario:

Imagine this. I’m your neighbour. We’ve got a property dispute. My way of dealing with this is to throw small stones at your house. Occasionally I break a window, mostly I just chip the paint. Nothing you can’t afford to fix. Every now and then, though, I catch you in the open and hit you with a stone. Sometimes at night I sneak onto your property and kick your dog or beat him with a stick. A few times  I’ve snuck into your house and punched your husband in the face while he slept. I publicly and repeatedly threaten to kill all three of you. When you’ve responded angrily, whether physically or verbally, I complain to all of our neighbours and the police of your ‘roid rage’, so none of them intervenes. You don’t want to move because this is the only house you’ve ever owned; everywhere you’ve rented you’ve been kicked out or abused for being gay. Anyway, why should you compromise with a maniac? How long before you beat the living shit out of me? Does it take seven years?

The letter was in response to the recent Gaza war, of course, and did a good job of putting me in a place to rethink Israel’s “disproportionate” response to Hamas’ constant rocket fusillade into southern Israel. I’m no fan of Hamas; I wrote previously about how their targeting of civilian areas with albeit amateurish rocket squads was an actual war crime way before Israel did anything, confirmed or unconfirmed, in Gaza this year. But the shear magnitude of Israel’s attack on Gaza

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories

is still staggering: war crimes or no, Hamas’ rockets have killed a few people over the last several years, and caused little property damage; on the other hand, Israel’s bombs and ground campaign claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians, among them many children, and basically destroyed what little existed of Gaza’s infrastructure. 


This little scenario illustrates the need of active and even-handed participation by the international community with regard to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. When the world allows the “neighbor” to throw stones, and commit petty vandalism and violence, bad things happen. When the world allows “Andrew Sullivan” to grab a 2×4 and take a walk through his neighbor’s house, bad things happen.


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