Alex Massie Alex Massie

Hopeless in Gaza; Israel’s tragically futile war

Travelling back from holiday yesterday we had Jeremy Vine’s show on the car radio and the Radio 2 man was talking about the fighting in Gaza and as is often the case with such matters how the subject is framed is at least as interesting as anything that is subsequently said during the discussion.

In this instance, the debate was pitched on the premise that there was something unfair about the fighting. Even something grotesque. Israel, after all, is so very strong and Gaza’s Palestinians so terribly weak. What’s more even if you accept – and not everyone does! – that Israel has been sorely provoked there’s still the question of the proportionality of its response. I mean, aren’t they just flying off the handle just a teensy wee bit? Aren’t Hamas’s rockets little more than glorified fireworks anyway? And, lordy, who thinks it’s fair for a heavyweight to fight a featherweight?

You get the idea.

I did my best to suppress the suspicion some people think this would be a better, fairer struggle if, like, more jews were killed but I don’t think I quite succeeded.

Don’t we know by now that weakness is often strength disguised and apparent strength actually weakness? Have we learned so little from this century’s wars?

But perhaps this is part of the problem too. We spend so much time arguing about responsibility and blame, so much effort constructing excuses for this or that or reasons to explain why such and such an action is, if viewed in the correct context, understandable to the point of being legitimate that we lose sight of the greater truth that none of it helps and none of it really matters.

All that really matters is that time is running out. Everyone ‘knows’ what a two-state solution would look like; no-one knows how to get there.

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