Thoughts on Gaza

Thinking aloud: I am blessed with friends on the Right and on the Left. Nearly everything I see posted on Facebook tonight about the current IDF vs. Hamas situation is either saying a) "look at all the suffering that these murderers are causing" or b) "let's just have peace/love each other" (and though I have an open and feeling heart and have learned to breath in and out slowly I am still 
not sure what that really means when people are in fear of their lives because all around them they hear explosions) or c) "this is all part of some geo-political military master plan." Here is my "d" -

This is a unique situation with complex histories on both sides and both societies are lead by political leaders who have their own ideas about how to handle the situation (often separate from the people that they represent) and those ideas are a combination of their love for their people, their read of the external and internal forces impacting national security, and their own desire to stay in power. This is a war between two men and two very different types of armies and they both have major outside supporters who may or may not get involved. And those major outside supporters have the capability to destroy the entire region.

On a personal level, I care deeply about my friends and family in Israel and I salute those who have the difficult job of protecting the State. I hope that their surveillance will lead them to weapons caches and that taking out hundreds of buildings and vehicles will be a major setback for the Hamas rocket program. I cried while reading a report from an Israeli radiologist who looked at scans of shrapnel in children's bodies and I mourn for the three innocent Israelis whose lives have been violently taken away by the hands of those bent on revenge or rage and I wish for healing for all those who have been injured. And, at the same time, with the same heart and head, I grieve for those Gazans and residents of Gaza who have been caught in the crossfire. While I am not an endless font of compassion and I do not grieve for those who shoot rockets at civilian targets, the photos I saw and the tweets I read this evening from Gaza have reminded me of the unintended results of an urban operation with hundreds of targets.

Surfing the web conversation, I also stumble into a world of anger. At times I want to scream out:

Those who accuse Israel of genocide - your hyperbolic attitude is one of the factors that is escalating the conflict!

Those who deny the suffering of Gazans - your hard-heartedness and snide attitude are soul-crushing!

But I have little energy for screaming at people whose voices are already speaking through bullhorns.

So I return to the simple belief that we can all play a helpful role in this conflict by being honest about the complexities of the situation, having an open heart towards the panic and suffering on both sides of the border (and around the world for that matter), and by advocating for a long-term vision for the region which envisions safe borders, mutual recognition, and government cooperation. Such a vision is, on a day like today, hard to imagine. But sometimes sworn enemies learn to get along.

As a Jew, I want people to know that my people are going through a really difficult time and that we are all reading news from friends and family in Israel and that the fear of escalation from other powers in the region is very real.

As a human, I want people to know that I am willing to hear all perspectives, and to work for a world where there are fewer injustices and where different peoples can co-exist and live freely.

Tonight my prayer is for a boring and pragmatic end to the conflict.