I think the most recent Gaza-Israel violence is depressing and abhorrent. However, this is not terribly surprising, as I think all the Palestinian-Israeli violence has been depressing and abhorrent. Heck, I'll go so far as to say the Kashmir conflict is depressing and abhorrent, seriously, India, Pakistan, it sounds like a very nice valley, but no sweater is worth all this bloodshed. Actually, perhaps even more abhorrent is some of the stuff that goes on in sub-Saharan Africa, fortunately this doesn't make the news as much, since it would be even more depressing. In summation, I find violence as a problem solving technique depressing and abhorrent.
So, why am I picking on Israel? Well, partially, as I alluded to above, it gets a lot of media exposure. Which is probably a good thing, since Amercans, we are killing Palestinians. Do not mistake me, I think both sides are behaving incredibly poorly; I cannot help but feel sorry for the Palestinians, who suddenly found a new nation of Israel right in the middle of what they used to call by the quaint term "home." On the other hand, it isn't as though the future Israelis decided to invade the land, at least not initially. Victorious Europeans after World War II decided there should be a Jewish homeland, which made a fair amount of sense in the contingent context, and decided the Middle East, being the beacon of stability and mature conflict resolution that it was, was the logical place to put it... In hindsight, that might be where they went wrong, is it too late to cede New Jersey and establish the homeland there? Or maybe a snippet of Texas, similar climate, more oil, but I was hoping for a history of mature conflict resolution...
Anyway, since the Western Powers basically created Israel whole cloth, they felt a certain amount of obligation to the nation. Mix in some Byzantine Cold War politics, and perhaps just a hint of Islamophobia, and Israel is the largest recipient of foreign US military aid of any country we didn't conquer... I mean... liberate. This would be all fine and dandy if it weren't for the fact that Israel tends to use that military aid to do unconscionable things to the Palestinians, who, to be far, are doing unconscionable things to the Israelis, and probably would do more without this aid. So, by giving them this aid we are basically saying we would rather bad things happen to Palestinians than Israelis, and while I am perfectly ok with Israelis preferring bad things to happen to Palestinians than Israelis, I personally have nothing against either group, so I am not a fan of picking sides. Why can't Israel be more like Poland, they hardly ever use their military aid to go out and beat the snot out of people groups with less military? Then again, that might be why they get so little military aid.
This post has been leavened by a fair amount of humor, please know that this is because I think that what is going on is too horrible to take entirely seriously, and must therefore be accompanied with some levity so that we can continue to consider it. Personally, I think the US should stop sending weapons abroad, given our stellar track record of supporting some of the most violent sociopaths around, even ignoring the frequency with which these same people come back and launch attacks against US interests. Why is it that the people who ask for mass quantities of weapons so often turn out to be violent sociopaths? But we should definitely reconsider our aid to Israel, helping to perpetuate a cycle of misery and oppression that, ultimately, is extremely damaging to both sides in the conflict. I don't think that this is a solution, and I don't think that by simply stopping supplying weapons to a conflict we very much helped create we can turn away and wipe the blood from our own hands, but I do believe that the only solution is to be found through negotiation, and as long as Israel has such a position of military superiority I don't see why they would desire to come to a negotiation table that is likely to require great compromises from both sides.