Israel? Palestine?

My social media feeds these days filled with two kinds of horror.

I see pictures of bleeding, injured and dead Palestinians and I see pictures of bombed synagogues in Europe and burning Israeli flags.

Rockets from Gaza, Artillery from Israel, the extremes of hate and violence are breathtakingly sad regardless of where you land on the spectrum.

People calling for death on both sides. Violent protests everywhere.

In the midst of all of this complex violence, hatred,  and rhetoric one thing is certain – violence is not going to resolve the issue. Violence on the part of those who hold power and violence on the part of the oppressed will only serve to further to conflict.

It is interesting how when a circumstance as complex as Israel-Palestine is met with calls for non-violent action the responses become radically simple –

“Should we do nothing while we are attacked?” by which is meant “should we not meet violence with violence and power with power?” and not “nothing”.

How can I even begin to answer? I, a person who lives outside of the conflict? Any suggestion I give will no doubt be met with spoken and unspoken responses of “You have no right to an opinion? You have not lived what we live?” and this is true…but it does not negate the truth of a statement, and that statement is:

Violence met with violence solves nothing. It never has. It never will.

But is this true? What about WW2? The Allies met the Axis countries violence with violence to the point of ending the war. Are there not times when violence should be met with violence toward a just end? This is the question that Augustine and others have attempted to answer.

The greatest frustration I have seen is there are no simple answers. Every answer is met with a “yes but…” response which negates the answer in the first place.

This is frustrating because people are literally dying in this conflict and have been dying for decades while politicians and power brokers argue back and forth about a solution.

The recent American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has caused frustration because it signifies that the U.S. is not interested in the pre-1967 war U.N. designed boundaries which set Jerusalem apart from both Israel and Palestine.

It suggests that Palestinians must accept the current reality given the decades long presence of Israels Supreme Court and the Knesset in Jerusalem.

Israel responds in part by saying “well perhaps if Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon had not attacked Israel in 1967 in what is now known variously as the Six-Day War or the Arab-Israeli War then we could have avoided the current circumstances. As it stands these territories are our rightful spoils of war.”

Palestine on the other hand points to brutal, apartheid-like treatment of Gaza and the West Bank as evidence of oppression designed to strangle and ultimately destroy Palestinians and the idea of Palestine to which Israel responds “stop sending rockets, suicide bombers and violent attackers into Israel and we can talk” to which Palestine responds stop building settlements on Palestinian land…to which Israel responds “we need these to guarantee the peace and security of Israel” to which Palestine responds…and forever onward it goes with no end in sight and the beginnings increasingly lost to the past and muddied with present obfuscation by all parties.

In the mean time Palestinians are dying. Israelis are dying. Jews are being subjected to increased antisemitism globally. Palestinians are being subjected to increased racism globally.

In my own simple mind the original U.N. boundary plan for a two-state solution is still the best option…but what do I know…it’s complicated.

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