John Seven: New views emerge amid Gaza conflict



Surprise -- another week has passed and the situation in Gaza has not only not been solved, but has continued along at such a fury that the discussion around it has started to reflect the same fiery impasses more and more. And yet there are some reasonable, thoughtful voices out there that go beyond the typical Palestine says/Israel says arguments.

Though prefaced by a frantic and emotional letter from musician Brian Eno, futurist Peter Schwartz, via David Byrne's website, offers this complicated analysis of the situation ( that folds in the history of the region and the reasons behind American cultural support of Israel, with the reality of Israel's position as a nation against the backdrop of the rest of the world, whether you support Israel or not.

In the Huffington Post, Canadian writer Ali A Rizvi takes a point-by-point approach (, spelling out the unfortunate realities on all sides of the situations and attempts to come to a well-supported middle ground for those who don't feel comfortable taking sides in this situation.

German news website Deutsche Welle features this intense, invigorating interview with Israeli author Amos Oz ( and his views on the possible solutions that require work and sacrifice on the parts of both sides of the conflict.

I'd also ask that you consider those points of view alongside this analysis (, which is consistent with everything I have noticed over the past several years. People 20, 30 years younger than me are less inclined to give total support to Israel and right now we are witnessing their formative political years. Another 20 years, this generation shall be entering into government leadership positions more and more, crafting a policy toward Israel that may not be so friendly.

Some observations of my own. Supporters of the current actions, and the Israeli government itself, must accept that there is no possible way to spin the deaths of children to the world outside Israel. The charges of human shields doesn't really help. To many people, there is always that point of decision for Israel, which well knows that any given attack from it has a huge potential to kill children. Making Israel take the blame for these killings seems to be part of their enemy's strategy. You have to wonder why they keep playing into that.

At the same time, defenders of the Palestinians need to tread carefully. They need to differentiate defending innocent citizens from defending Hamas. They also need to ask themselves, beyond our country's own culpability, why they rush to attack Israel's actions but not, say, Isis, which has killed four times more innocent Arabs this year than Israel. I understand we are not funding Isis, but the death of innocents is the death of innocents, regardless of who bankrolls the slaughter. Let us not pretend that Israel is the only one culpable in killing Arabs.

This past week I've seen plenty of debate among ordinary citizens on, of all places, Facebook. These are people who might not meet otherwise but have a Facebook friend in common and are hashing out their thoughts. Some get vitriolic, some sarcastic, even passive-aggressive, but then I have seen some beautiful moments in which people who are not immediately on the same side of the issue end up discussing it intelligently, resulting in unexpected common ground.

I figure that's the best we can really hope for on any level -- understanding by proxy. Who can possibly know when the real players in the conflict will achieve that? I don't know that they've come close yet, but a lot of us are hoping they eventually do.

John Seven, a writer, lives in North Adams. He can be reached at or at


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