Andrew Sullivan just asked me (live, not on e-mail; bloggers at the Atlantic actually talk to each other) why I haven't been posting more on Gaza. The simple answer is that I'm busy reporting, and I hope to head to the Middle East soon, to personally broker a cease-fire, or at least get some writing done, and see some friends.
The more complicated answer was provided by Marc Ambinder, who analyzed my personal situation correctly: Gaza has overdetermined me into paralysis. His point: I actually feel too close to this problem, a problem that symbolizes all problems. It's true: I have friends in Gaza about whom I worry a great deal; I've seen many people killed in Gaza; I've served in the Israeli Army in Gaza; I've been kidnapped in Gaza; I've reported for years from Gaza; I hope my former army doesn't kill the wrong people in Gaza; I hope Israeli soldiers all leave Gaza alive; I know they'll be back in Gaza; I think this operation will work; and I have no actual hope that it will work for very long, because nothing works for very long in the Middle East. Gaza is where dreams of reconciliation go to die. Gaza is where the dream of Palestinian statehood goes to die; Gaza is where the Zionist dream might yet die. Or, more to the point, might be murdered. I'm not a J Street moral-equivalence sort of guy. Yes, Israel makes constant mistakes, which I note rather frequently, but this conflict reminds me once again that Israel is up against an implacable force, namely, an interpretation of Islam that disallows the idea of Jewish national equality.
My paralysis isn't an analytical paralysis. It's the paralysis that comes from thinking that maybe there's no way out. Not out of Gaza, out of the whole thing.
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