The Israeli-Hamas war is a loss all-around

By Arlene Violet
Posted 12/5/23

It’s almost crass to write about the Israeli-Hamas war in the abstract. Whether it is a father searching for his children under rubble that had been his home in Gaza or a parent and child bound …

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The Israeli-Hamas war is a loss all-around


It’s almost crass to write about the Israeli-Hamas war in the abstract. Whether it is a father searching for his children under rubble that had been his home in Gaza or a parent and child bound and burned together by Hamas, it is a horror that shouldn’t be papered over by pontifications of “just war” principles.

But, alas, those principles seem to have been ignored by all parties, including the United States, so somebody ought to talk about them.

As David Marchese recently wrote in the New York Times “War, understandably and probably necessarily in some ways, flattens thinking. But trying to hold onto a morally expansive perspective on war, one in which multiple things can be true at the same time – that the Hamas attack on October 7 was an undeniable atrocity and also that Israel’s military response has been cruelly disproportionate – also seems necessary.”

Far too many people feel like you cannot acknowledge too many horrors that are not ideologically convenient. Media coverage is blamed if it stresses the murder of Israeli noncombatants or the widespread deaths of Palestinian civilians as though neither is a legitimate story. It is one sided narratives that have to be challenged, if you are not to conclude erroneously that one combatant is on the side of the angels.

This war and perhaps one that is undeclared on the West Bank did not just begin on Oct. 7, 2023. Amnesty International in its 2022 report found that Israel has continued an oppressive and discriminatory system of governing Palestinians and have committed the crime of apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) .This 280 page report predicted that Israel has an institutionalized regime of oppression against Palestinian citizens of Israel and through massive seizures of land and property, unlawful killings and arbitrary restrictions on freedom.

On the Gaza Strip, the Israeli blockade has entered its 16th year before the recent conflagration. The power plant was forced to shut down in August because of Israeli closure of crossings, which prevented the delivery of fuel.

The announcement by Benjamin Netanyahu that he will “govern” Gaza, at least temporarily after cleansing it of Hamas fighters, should send chills through the international community. It plays into the very narrative of Israeli overreaching and eclipses the real fear of parents who can look over to Gaza and see militants out to kill their families, particularly now with the added stress that Hamas has the power to do so.

The temporary truce needs to be extended, and this country along with the global community, has got to be resourceful, including the denial of armaments, to prevent mutual genocide if they are used indiscriminately against noncombatants. The world has been looking the other way as these mutual hatreds have festered and poured out into mass murder.

The United States has embarrassed itself by its betrayal of Afghans, particularly the women there, when we didn’t do enough to bring them to safety, but it needs to reestablish itself as an agent of change for the better.

Perhaps it is quixotic to think that Hamas ,which has been trying to kill Israelis for a very long time, or that the Netanyahu government, which is devoid of competence and morals, can come to the table, but the world community should try.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

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