One of the many things that makes the Israeli/Palestinian conflict so utterly dispiriting is that it’s impossible to think of anything good coming of any of this. Worse than that, it’s hard to imagine that even the people involved think anything good will come of it.
What, exactly, do the Palestinians lobbing rockets into Sderot think they will accomplish? That the Israelis will look about them and say: Holy Moly, I had no idea this place was so dangerous!, and leave? Do the Israelis think: even though we’ve bombed the Palestinians a whole lot, and it’s never done much good before, maybe this time it will be different! Maybe Hamas will say: heavens, this is a pretty serious round of attacks; maybe we should just sue for peace — ? Or what?
Any form of peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Palestine and Israel has been blocked for a long time by a range of factors – including but not limited to internal Israeli politics and the decomposition of its party system, the legacy of past atrocities, an effective economic blockade of Palestine, the power balance in the Middle East and the hypocritical and empty promises of the Bush administration. If there is a “peace process”, its outlines were frozen in time long ago. Unfortunately, I think it’s probably too much to hope for that there’ll be any sort of progress under the Obama administration, particularly with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
Elsewhere: An interesting book review post from SocProf on violence around the world, and how it’s viewed according to essentially domestic priorities:
Virgil Hawkins’s Stealth Conflicts – How The World’s Worst Violence is Ignored is a necessary book that dispels quite a few myths regarding the current world’s conflicts.
While the world is currently focused on the collective punishment Israel is inflicting on the Gaza strip, and as 2008 draws to an end, there is not much mention that we are entering the 11th year of the conflict in the DRC, a conflict, that ,as of January 2008, had caused the death of 5.4 million people, mostly of disease and starvation. This is currently the deadliest conflict in the world, and there is not much of a fuss about it, not about many African conflicts either (with the exception of Sudan, and that came eight years into the conflict).
Read on here.
Elsewhere: Jeff Sparrow at Overland. I think this post is a useful corrective to “official narratives” of what’s occurring, but still needs insertion into a broader analysis of the entire dynamic, of the sort I’ve been arguing we need.
Update: The latest news via Firedoglake:
Overnight, the BBC is reporting that Israel has declared the region around Gaza “a closed military zone” which is seen as sign that a ground invasion is about to begin (no link available yet). The Gaza death toll (at 1:25 PST) is 307, there are unconfirmed reports that kidnapped Israeli soldier Shalit was amongst those wounded by the Israeli attack on Gaza, and the Israeli Navy has now joined the attack.
Update: The comments thread continues on this post.