Beginnings matter. Questions about culpability and responsibility, about the narrow cynicism that defines so much of life in the Gaza Strip, sequence and motive -- they all go to beginnings.
This is the fifth major assault in nine years. When and how it will end is unclear, but here's what we know for certain: No good will come from this madness; there will be no winners; and when the dust settles and the tears dry, Palestinians and Israelis will be more embittered and will feel less secure.
Enough is enough. Every party in this conflict must ask themselves: Have we so lost our humanity that we would rather leave these people in a living hell for our own selfish gain? For the sake of those innocent civilians suffering on both sides of the conflict, let's pray the answer does not take too much longer.
One night, at a beach resort, I got into a heated "Israel and the Palestinians" discussion with a Peace Corps guy. I countered with all the usual responses: the Holocaust, Israel must live, worldwide anti-Semitism, Palestinian terrorism. But the Peace Corps guy threw me a curve: "Your problem," he said, "is that you never met a Palestinian. You should go to Gaza."
Have you ever paused and asked the simple question: Where do we go from here? None of you -- Bennett, Haniyeh, Netanyahu, Meshal, and Abbas -- know what will be the fate of Israel and Palestine in five or 10 years should you continue to pursue your bankrupt policy.
Israelis living in the southern portion of the nation -- where some of the nation's most populous cities are located -- are living and sleeping in bomb shelters. Missiles are falling upon them, exploding around them.
Recent statements from Israeli officials indicate that this is war, and that it will not end soon. Yet wars of "self-defense" against the Gaza strip to weaken Hamas -- in 2008 and again in 2012 -- have proven futile again and again.
The dehumanization of Palestinians, the denial of their positions as victims -- as the occupied, as the underclass in an apartheid system -- is the standard narrative parroted by mainstream media. Sawyer's blunder is indicative of a far more noxious bias that stealthily creeps into all reporting on the Palestinian people.
The current phase is not convenient for the Islamic Republic of Iran: nuclear negotiations with the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) have stalled and the desired agreement may not be reached by the deadline set on July 20.
How is it possible for us to allow for a whole nation of Israeli and Palestinian children living in the south of Israel and Gaza to be in a state of permanent fear? What sort of adults will they become? We have a responsibility for their future and for the trauma that they suffer.
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.
A just war must have a just end, and the just end must be sufficiently good to more than compensate for all injustices caused by the war. There is no plausible story that Netanyahu's war is a just war.
War is often created in the public space and in closed rooms. Having created a major public campaign against Hamas, albeit on false charges, the debate for war moved to the war council.
Lately commentators have spent time reflecting on the prominence of hate in Palestine/Israel. They write that we're approaching the "Point of no retur...
The U.S., Egypt, the U.N., Qatar, and the rest of the Arab world will all try to calm the situation in Gaza to ensure that the lives of Israelis and Palestinians are protected, but ultimately, it's up to the main players of the game to act like responsible adults for the sake of their people.
The relevant question for those of us among the 5 percent of the world's population with U.S. citizenship is: What will the people and policymakers in the United States do to help stop the killing in Israel/Palestine?