nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Suppose that everyone in the Middle East is a human being...

A longish essay looking at all the major players in the Israel/Palestine/Lebanon conflict as though they have comprehensible motivations and aren't going to be willing to curl up and die because the other side is so obviously in the right. You'd think this would be the obvious way to think about the situation, but osewalrus is the first account I've seen which does a really thorough job of it. It's harder than it looks when there's so much anger and fear and everyone is trying to grab the moral high ground.

I'll throw in one more category. I expect that there are any number of Arabs who are pretty much like me--more interested in living well than in ultimate right and wrong. I think that if I were living there, it would be obvious to me that Israel is quite willing to screw up my life or end it at any time because of terrorist behavior I have no chance of controlling, and I'd be more inclined to blame the Israelis (who are operating on a much larger scale) than the terrorists.

More generally, I think a major problem is that all the major players think they have a right to punish with impunity. However, none of them have the sort of relationship (which is more like parent/child or government/citizen) which makes using punishment a completely safe strategy. I don't mean that punishment is never appropriate under those circumstances, but thinking you're entitled to punish without the other side hitting back guarantees that the conflict won't end.

I'm quite concerned that the current attack on Lebanon could be the inspiration for Arab governments to pull their acts together. Arab military incompetence has been a contingent fact. It isn't a law of nature.

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