The individual stories are tragically too many to recount in one short article. Those lucky enough to survive this latest assault on Gaza have returned to rubble; the loss of loved ones compounded by the destruction of homes, family heirlooms, photographs and memories. Israel has the power to put an end to its occupation of Palestinian land. Only then can Palestinians and Israelis live side by side in peace and security.
Unlike the victims of the Gaza conflict, whose charred bodies fill the feeds of social media in Western countries, these dead are part of a war you don't see. Whether it's anti-Hamas protesters shot in Gaza or Israeli peace activists beaten by right-wing thugs in Tel Aviv, nonviolent protest is a dangerous business in Israel/Palestine. And nowhere is this felt more acutely than in the West Bank.
It's hard to shake away the utterly depressing feeling that comes with news coverage these days. IDF and Hamas are at it again, a vicious cycle of violence, but this time it feels much more intense. While war rages on the ground in Gaza and across Israeli skies, there's an all-out information war unraveling in social networked spaces.
Contrary to what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu believes, the main existential threat facing the country is not a nuclear-armed Iran. The real peril is to be found at home: the corrosive effect of the Palestinian problem on Israel's international standing. The devastation caused by Israel's periodic asymmetrical confrontations, combined with the continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and the ever-growing expansion of settlements, has fueled a growing campaign to undermine Israel's legitimacy.
It is neither in Israel's nor in Hamas' interest to start a new war. The latter now has the means to strike Tel Aviv, and Netanyahu would struggle to survive politically if the heart of the Jewish state were badly hit. As for Hamas, it is already in dire straits. Gaza has been subjected to an Israeli blockade for seven years, and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's Egypt tightened the grip further by destroying the hundreds of smuggling tunnels that were the economical lifeline for the 1.7 million Gazans.