A huge problem I have negotiating the very rough waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is trust.
Both sides have such a problem seeing and understanding the other that the views pouring out of that miasma are convoluted and stained with assumption. The pro-Palestine side seems to think a rain of rockets is a mild annoyance, and the pro-Israel side follows the act of American conservative who think civilian deaths are “sad but necessary”.
It gets worse when I talk to friends and family, who share very believable stories about atrocities committed by either side. Then the digging starts. Into the past, to reveal the UN’s historical animosity towards Israel. Into news stories, where single-witness accounts are considered foul-proof evidence of deliberate civilian-targeting in some publications and others ignore the massive pile up of evidence that Israel is using chemical warfare.
I’m finally understanding why Palestinians fire rockets, and why Israelis resort to whatever means “will hurt them most”. But I find myself in a place where every post from my super liberal friend decrying “Zionists” and every QassamCount status update from my more conservative friend both leave angry. That pro-Palestine friend is using the language of the insane and the violent.
So in the end I find cause to trust neither side, though in most cases I trust the people espousing one or the other. I fall back into my old and reassuring thought pattern that violence is without intelligence or justification. And I look upon my people (which, with an honest look at my history, coming from that region means both sides of this stupid conflict) with disgust and pity. Their leaders and their fighters are choosing blood even as their supporters choose blindness.