There is no moral equation that offers a satisfactory calculus to enable us
to accept the death of innocents as warranted.
You know what happened next, don’t you? The quotation that starts this post is from David Rothkopf in Foreign Policy.
Nations act as though the careful plans of their militaries and intelligence operations can harness the chaos of combat and guide it to advance their interests. And then the unplanned happens, collateral damage occurs, and it has a bigger impact on politics and the position of combatants than all the calculated elements of the conflict added up.
We need look no further than the headlines of this week — to the four dead Palestinian boys on the beach in Gaza or to the scattered wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight allegedly shot down over Ukraine.
On Gaza I have posted before, ranging from 2012’s Gaza… What the f***!!! and other posts on that archive through an earlier archive. I note a 2009 post A rabbi on Gaza which impressed me at the time. Checking his latest I note Rabbi Rosen has posted Tragedy in Gaza: Reckoning with Root Causes.
Those who are ready and willing to reckon with root causes must not be content to simply accept these bi-annual military onslaughts as simply the price of Jewish nationhood. Israel will never become, as its national anthem would have it, “a free people in its own land” until it deals squarely with the injustices that led to its birth – and have tragically continued until this very day.
In this regard we can take heart in the small but intrepid cadre of Israelis who have the courage to shine a bright light on this larger context. Take a look at the clip from the modest, yet courageous rally in Tel Aviv, in which protesters stood down angry motorists while holding up a large banner that read “The Occupation Murders Us All.” Read this powerful post by Israeli blogger Noam Sheizaf entitled “Why I Object to This Military Campaign, Even as Missiles Fall on My City,” in which he compares the West Bank to a “minimum security facility” and Gaza to “a maximum security prison.”
But horrible as all that has been and continues to be, for a number of reasons we have all been transfixed by:
Surely some of the most horrendous lines I have heard lately have been from the eyewitnesses:
ROZSYPNE, July 18 — First came the loud explosion that made buildings rattle: then it started raining bodies.
One of the corpses fell through the rickety roof of Irina Tipunova’s house in this sleepy village, just after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 exploded high over eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting government forces.
“There was a howling noise and everything started to rattle. Then objects started falling out of the sky,” the 65-year-old pensioner said in front of her grey-brick home.
“And then I heard a roar and she landed in the kitchen, the roof was broken,” she said, showing the gaping hole made by the body when it came through the ceiling of the kitchen in an extension to the house….
What a week it has been!