Thursday, January 8, 2009

This is actually a hard question. In situations such as that unfolding in the sad land of Gaza there is always more than enough blame to go around. the question revolves around the word "MOST". Most responsible is NOT the same thing as most brutal. With a death toll of about 100/1 of Palestinians versus Israelis it is obvious who is the "most brutal". The events of today in which the Israeli army opened fire on an UN relief truck, killing at least one person have led to at least a temporary suspension of the UN relief effort in Gaza. Israel seems to have the unique ability to get away with such things. During the Lebanese invasion a few years back they destroyed an UN observation post, killing soldiers from several different countries, including Canada. There were no consequences for this action that was probably quite deliberate. The firing on the relief truck today did take place during an agreed 3 hour ceasefire. It is as hard to imagine this as a "mistake" as it is to imagine the destruction of the UN post in Lebanon as a "mistake". The idea of "craziness" as a "strategy" is an old one in human history, and its modern expression as an Israeli "tactic" has actually been expressed by the Israeli state itself. The basic idea is that you have to prove yourself to be more than a little irrational so that this sort of viciousness acts as a deterrent to your enemies or rivals. Most members of street gangs know of this tactic. For a state that possesses nuclear weapons, such as Israel, which cannot be used except in a suicidal manner projecting the image of being "out of control" is a great way to magnify the deterrent force of such weapons.
But the question is one of "responsibility" rather than brutality. Molly is not an ideologue, and she doesn't think that every Palestinian is born with a set of angel's wings either. I have added some more abstract options to this poll to give respondents something to choose from besides the two parties to the conflict. No doubt I have missed some options. Feel free to mention them as comments. "Responsibility", by the way, is also not a reliable guide to the solution of a problem. One may feel a given party to a conflict is more "responsible" than another, but one shouldn't let abstract justice determine what is a sensible solution in the real world of politics, especially when there are elements of both parties to a conflict who are legitimately crazy and not just pretending to be. As for myself I have no solution to the Arab Israeli conflict that can fit in your back pocket. I am content to muddle along, and merely make comments of common sense on it. Common sense says that Israel should stop in slaughter.
Feel free to leave your own comments about the general situation here as well.


  1. I think Hitler was to blame, and Britains partition.

  2. In one way you're probably right, but tracing things back historically can get out of hand. In this case one could go all the way back to St. Paul.