At the beginning of the fighting, Rowan wrote of the equal stupidity of the Israelis and Palestinians in the current conflict between the two parties. He’s got a good point – both Israel and Hamas have proven a boggling ability to repeat bloody mistakes over and over.
However, the damage in the conflict has not been at all equal. Israel has inflicted an amount of death, injury and destruction many times that of the Palestinians. Among the Israeli attacks has been the bombing of a United Nations school within a refugee camp. The United Nations had provided Israel with the coordinates of the school so that it would not be bombed, but the Israelis attacked it anyway.
That’s not to say that Israel is solely in the wrong and Palestine in the right. Being the loser in a fight conveys no more moral status than being the winner.
However, the attack against the UN school does reveal the ineptitude inherent in war. Israel claims that it is not targeting civilians, although it has killed many. Perhaps Israeli leaders genuinely believe that they are not targeting civilians as they bomb areas where they know civilians live. Even if that’s the case, Israel has shown that it is unable, with all the supposed sophistication of its military’s techniques and technology, to avoid attacking a civilian humanitarian outpost.
To a clear mind, it should be obvious that no good can come of the bombing of a United Nations school in a refugee camp. Even if the three people killed at the school were among the most wicked Hamas fighters, the public relations damage done by the attack was surely not worth their destruction.
However, the minds of Israel’s leaders are not clear. When they ought to be apologizing for the attack, and pausing their military operations in order to take stock of their strategic blunder, they are continuing along the same path that led to the school bombing, and even justifying the attack as a necessary consequence of a just cause.
The Palestinians do the same, of course, with Hamas leaders saying that the harm they inflict upon Israeli civilians is a regrettable consequence of a just cause. That’s the illogic of war – the idea that committing unjust acts is an unavoidable part of the pursuit of justice.
Let’s not think that it’s just the Israelis and Palestinians who have fallen for this idiotic line of thinking, though. Our own nation, after all, has been starting wars under the pretext of trying to contain weapons of mass destruction, while at the same time hatching plans for developing new generations of weapons of mass destruction to use in those wars.
The violence continues in Iraq. It spreads in Afghanistan. War continues wherever and whenever people believe that they can fight to end fighting.