By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
It’s difficult to imagine a so-called ‘peace process’ in greater agony. The world is watching a humanitarian and political crisis play out in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll exceeds 700, mostly civilian, and Israeli casualties are at 35, mostly military. This ratio alone is cause for horror, let alone the destruction of dozens of Gazan schools and mosques, plus several hospitals. Critics of Israel decry the brutality as a cruel and opportunistic way to debilitate the area, and in broader terms, a viable two-state solution. Supporters assert that Hamas’ deliberately uses ‘human shields’ in order to vilify Israel–this week the UN Relief and Works Agency discovered a stockpile of rockets in a school. They also point out that the Palestinian opposition would be wreaking just as much damage in Israel, if not more, if only it could. Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Defensive Edge, Hamas fired over 250 rockets at Israel. Though many nations are temporarily banning flights into Israel after a rocket hit near Ben Gurion International Airport, the truth it that most fired miss populated areas, and all of those that threaten urban centers get rendered ineffectual by Israel’s Iron Dome system. Regardless of political motives, the glaring imbalance in casualties corresponds to the radical difference in military and technological prowess.
Unfortunately, relief does not seem close at hand. Negotiations for a ceasefire, let alone the elusive two-state solution, are at a standstill. Israel condemns Hamas for rejecting offers of peace, while Hamas has declared its desire for a ceasefire but given strict conditions that Israel is unlikely to agree to. If this catastrophe demonstrates anything amidst the violent confusion and competing moral high grounds it is surely the desperate need for a lasting arrangement between the two parties. The recent status quo is far too volatile. For better or for worse, stability will have to be built upon a great deal of hatred.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
Script Supervisor – Matthew DeMello
with guest – John Knefel