No Winning Side
When considering a conflict most people find it is easier to pick a side than to really consider the causes of the conflict; the role of each side in the conflict; and the harm caused by each side to the other. It comes down to a sports metaphor – my team against some other team. This is true of politics; it is true of rights issues; and it is especially true of wars.
No one, except profiteers, wins war. Every war involves bloodshed, destruction, displacement, and, of course, lies. When one side defeats the other that usually leads to the start of a path to the next war. The only way to avoid that is to promote reconciliation between the combatants and to remove causes for a new war.
The best-known example is how the Allies won WWI and then, at Versailles, created the conditions that led to the next war only 20 years later. The Allies also won WWII but the US had the wisdom to create the Marshall Plan and the vision to organize the UN. But then the US and USSR created the next war, the so-called Cold War, which engendered over four decades of proxy wars all over the globe before it burned itself out.
In the case of Israel-Gaza, what I see is both sides starting and pursuing war because of political considerations to the great harm of everyone involved. I love Israel but the demonization of Hamas has made for really bad policies by Israel. Hamas started as a faith-based social services provider (Israel even helped out at its founding) that then pursued a violent policy on the basis of demonizing Israel.
I have long criticized and worked against human rights violations by Israel against Palestinians, but I have not hesitated to criticize Palestinians, some times to their faces, for their human rights violations, often against their own people.
No one is blameless here and both sides are victimized by the other.
What is the path to peace? The only way I can see is for leaders to arise on both sides to say “enough,” and to acknowledge that their side has wrontged the other side. For me the example is South Africa where Mandela and de Klerk worked together to end Apartheid and to bring reconciliation through the Truth and Reconciliations hearings. Neither wars nor diplomacy will resolve this conflict. It must happen at the grassroots level. Both the Palestinians and Israel need the kind of charismatic leaders that will work to truly end the conflict. Those leaders might or might not be government leaders. Gandhi, King, and Mandela achieved great things by making it possible for governments to do what was right. Of these Mandela only came to political power.
When you read news or opinion about the current war, or any war, remember always that there are two sides and both are losing.