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There are a lot of careful, detailed and informative commentaries appearing around the world about the state of war between the Israelis and the Palestinians in Gaza. This will not be one of them. At least, it will not be deeply detailed with clear eyed analysis of who is doing what to whom and who expects to win by killing and watching other people die.

My own personal reaction to this latest deadly round of conflict is personal disgust. With both sides, with all factions. I am an American. We put aside centuries old hatreds when this country was formed, or at least we thought we did. This is a nation built on the idea of religious and ethnic tolerance and even though we fall far short of the ideal many times, we still believe in it. So, for me to have something truly worthwhile and insightful, it would be necessary for me to dive head first into the middle east or become some sort of scholar in the history of the region to have something constructive to say and I intend to do neither. I will let those who have devoted decades to the subject fill in the critical details.

I have been to the middle east, spending a bit of time in Jordan and landing in Damascus, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. Just a brief visit is truly eye opening and I can see how people get attracted to the complications of the region and make it their lifes work, or a major part of their lives. I was interested, but not that fascinated. These kinds of ancient hatreds, handed down generation by generation, are repulsive to me on a personal level. I dont understand, and never will, how people are born hating others almost from the moment of their births.

In any case, if I were to condemn anyone, it would be everyone involved in this conflict. I cant see any clear justifiable reason for Israel to be bombing residential areas from the air and with missiles. Likewise, Hamas continuing to send largely ineffective missiles into Israel, missiles that almost always are intercepted by Israels Iron Dome. What is being accomplished? What is being gained?

War seems to be the normal state in the middle-east, peace the exceptional event. Israel, the Palestinians and their neighbors in the middle east have been locked in deadly conflict for three generations now, at least since Israel was created in 1948. In fact, the wars and near wars go back a few thousand years. The United States plays a vital role in allowing the deadly nature of this conflict to move forward, sending billions of dollars every year to Israel and, just last week, voting to send 225 million to the Israelis to rearm in the middle of this new war.

President Obama sounded very reasonable last week when he told the White House news corps that the US does not control every situation around the world and cant simply order nations to do what we want. What was wrong with that answer is fairly straight forward: Israel is a virtual client state of the US and if we cant get them to do what we want, or some of what we want, how can we get any nation to respond, short of war itself? America owns what Israel does and this is what feeds hatred of our country throughout the Muslim world. Why, oh why, are we so deeply in bed with Israel? It sometimes seem that they own us, rather than the other way around.

It is clear that Hamas is an enemy of the people in Gaza, building tunnels at the cost of multiple millions of dollars while ignoring the needs of its citizens and keeping the war going, in part, to try to gain from Israel losing face around the world with its bombing. Many millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, will have to be spent to rebuild Gaza when this is over. All of the buildings that have been blown up over the last three weeks will have to be rebuilt. No one who has been killed will ever be brought back to life and thats the tragedy. Israel is in the process of transforming itself from a nation with considerable sympathy to one with very little. Hamas never had any to start with, as far as most people are concerned.

I am sympathetic to the problems Israel faces and to its need to respond to missiles being aimed at its people. Then what? The response has to be measured, proportional. Instead, Israel has used this eruption to try to get what it couldnt get any other way. The same for Hamas. Both sides are leveraging war and the killing of innocents to try to settle their problems rather than coming to terms with the stark reality that they have to live with each other on narrow pieces of land and these facts are not going to change. They know very well how to make  war, no one seems to know how to make peace or have much invested in that idea. Stop this ship, I want to get off.

Doug Terry, 8.7.14

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to go to recent posts, nearly 300 pages of news and comments filed during the first nine months of 2013 and during the critical election year of 2012.

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