Post 1,003


I need your great idea. Israelis and Palestinians need it more and the world is demanding it.

An example of that demand is in an October 18 op-ed from Charles M. Blow in the New York Times, An Evolving Moral High Ground in the Israel-Gaza War. Blow says of the Hamas attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis, butchered babies, took hostages and more that it, “.  .  . was horrid, barbaric and inexcusable. Israel has a right to defend itself and pursue the perpetrators.”

Then he says “.  .  . evacuation orders [to Palestinians] are imposed, electricity and basic supplies are cut off — is also horrid and not a justifiable response to the terrorist attacks.” Many are expressing similar views, including in massive street demonstrations around the world. They are especially calling for Israel to stop all attacks in Gaza. Understandable. Got it. Just one thing.

Hamas isn’t done trying to kill Israelis. In fact it has continued to fire rockets into Israel. If Israel stops attacking Hamas, they’ll do yet more killing of Israelis. If Israel backs off all military pressure, it will be jump starting the next large scale wave of Hamas terrorists killing Israelis.

On October 19, speaking from the Oval Office, President Biden said,

“[H]istory has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction. They keep going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world keep rising.”

Substitute “Israel” for “America” in his words and you have the problem Israel faces right now.

We all understand the humanitarian imperative to avoid harming non-combatant Palestinians. But the “just one thing” part is the answer to the question of what Israel should do. We can ask it another way: After a cease fire, what comes next to accomplish these goals:

  1. Minimal harm to civilians.
  2. Safe and secure borders.
  3. An end to Hamas – because if they exist at all they will continue to kill Israelis, which would negate points 1 and 2

Did I get that right? What am I missing?

Hamas has two purposes for existing: to eliminate the state of Israel and to kill Jews. It’s in their charter. It’s hard to find a solution to end the violence when one party is absolutely dedicated to the elimination of its adversary as a state and the killing of all of its people. They leave no room for negotiation, much less any path to peace.

It looks to me that if Israel continues attacking Hamas sites in Gaza that the collateral damage will be dead and wounded Palestinians. If they back off, the dead and wounded will be Israelis. Either way, the world will blame Israel and Jews for civilian deaths. I’m at the tipping point to “I don’t care what the world thinks or who it blames.” But that’s just me.

Blow says that “Israel has a right to defend itself and pursue the perpetrators.” How should they do that in a way that protects non-combatants? Once we get past the Kumbaya recommendations, the practical requirement – the imperative – for protection remains. What should Israel do to defend itself and to pursue the perps?

Please don’t offer an “Everyone deserves to live in safety and freedom” solution, because that isn’t a solution, as Hamas won’t abide by it. And bombardment back to the stone age is unacceptable on its face, even though that has been the solution of choice for thousands of years. In the present day it’s called “ethnic cleansing” or whatever is Putin’s phony justification for what he’s doing to the people of Ukraine.

There are a lot of very smart people who have worked to find an answer to this so-far intractable problem. We need your great idea, something that can work for everyone.

Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
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One Response to Intractable
  1. Kirk Landers Reply

    Most of all, I think it’s pointless to frame the Israeli-Hamas conflict in moral terms, just as it’s pointless to view the immigration problems in countries like ours in moral terms. There are no moral answers to these issues, as you’ve pointed out. The best the Israelis can do (and the US with its immigrant problems) is seek a practical, long term solution and hope the path they take turns out to lead to a positive outcome.

    I understand the emotional need for retribution that Israelis are feeling right now, and as a practical matter, they certainly need to strike back in some way. But reducing the entire Gaza strip to rubble and letting people starve and freeze to death will only make the problem worse. I hope Netanyahu pursues something surgical in the short term, and invests heavily in espionage in the long term. Israel has proven very adept at assassinating individual leaders of terror groups in the past, and that seems like a vital strategy here. It took years to de-fang ISIS, and it will take years to neutralize Hamas. That’s just how it is.

    The problems with starving, desperate immigrants stacking up at the borders of wealthy European and North American countries is an equally vexing problem. We literally cannot afford to absorb all the people knocking on the door, and yet sending these people home or making them languish in horrid camps indefinitely is subhuman, even for so-called Evangelical Christians. And as troubling as the problem is now, it will only get worse as climate change pushes marginal communities and agricultural area over the edge.