Can we talk about a "Palestinian state" that is capable of being recognized? Or is it rather an artifice destined to become a new failed state in a region where there are already too many? Will it become another state where the most extreme ideologies would be funded and legitimized? A new site for soldiers to travel to on international missions?
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.
I write this with great sorrow for civilians hurt on both sides. Sorrow for our soldiers who have fallen in this operation, and sorrow for the future of my country and the entire region. I know that as I write, soldiers like me have fired shells into Gaza. They had no way of knowing who or what they would hit. Faced with so many innocent casualties, it is time for us to state very clearly: this use of artillery fire is a deadly game of Russian roulette. The statistics, on which such firepower relies, mean that in densely populated areas such as Gaza, civilians will inevitably be hit as well. The IDF knows this, and as long as it continues to use such weaponry, it will be hard to believe when it claims to be minimizing civilian deaths. As a former soldier and an Israeli citizen, I feel compelled to ask today: have we not crossed a line?
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.