While it is terrible to see civilian casualties amass in Gaza, it’s not so clear what choice Israel has, and Hamas’s tactics have much to do with this, including the colocation of its attacks from sensitive locations. Gaza is a dense settlement led by terrorists that shoot rockets at Israeli territory regularly. Hamas has no interest in peace, yet Israel cannot for reasons of internal and external politics deliver a blow or expulsion that will permanently resolve this conflict. This cycle will continue for a very long time, and there is no end in sight.
I do find it dubious that the Europeans who are fully supporting Ukraine’s artillery shelling of large cities are so critical of Israel. Indeed, the US which supported a coup in Ukraine has opposed one in Egypt, and while we supported rebels in Libya we oppose them in Donetsk. I am starting to get very cynical about invocations of human rights in general. No one is really consistent, and everyone has realpolitik concerns behind these selective cries for justice. For the US and Europe, it is clear their concern is to weaken Russia’s influence on the world scene, and for Russia it is the opposite concern.
Obama also appears, as usual, like a moron. When the best course is silence, he speaks, and in this case he demanded a ceasefire, which Israel agreed to, only to have one of its soldiers kidnapped 90 minutes later. While we are in close contact with Israel and give them funds–a policy that should be revisited–there is no reason also to get involved and weigh in on things that only affect the US tangentially and where Israel has a pretty legitimate argument of self defense. Our funding hurts us and arguably hurts israel too. We feel obliged to question their tactics in the name of consistency and humanitarian concerns, but in the process we hurt our credibility by not doing so quickly or forcefully enough. And Israel is required to do things that we cannot stomach, but they hold their hand at times out of concern for US criticism. We should have more distance from one another and largely avoid this tar baby. But that also goes for Syria, ISIS in Iraq, Ukraine and who leads it, and much else. While the world appears to be going to hell in a handbasket, we must remember that is to some extent its natural condition. There are disputes, conflicts, rivalries, and fears the world over that Americans do not have the time or patience or life experience to understand or manage. The way to maintain our strength is to conserve it and not allow other, parochial, and local fights become our own. This should be particularly salient on the 100th Anniversary of World War I, where a too-enmeshed world and system of defensive alliances allowed a regional war in the Balkans to cascade into a bloody and pointless world conflict.