I understand the difference between unintentionally and intentionally killing someone, I do.
I understand that Hamas fires off rockets with the intention of killing Israelis, military & civilian alike, and I understand that the Israeli Defense Force fires missiles into Gaza with the intention of killing Hamas fighters, and in so doing, unintentionally kills civilians.
I get it: the purposes are not the same.
When you are aware that your intentional actions will lead to large numbers of unintentional deaths, well, then it’s hard to see how much that lack of intention matters to the unintentionally dead, or to the families of the unintentionally dead.
Or to those of us witnessing the bodies of the unintentionally dead.
If the Malaysian airliner was shot down unintentionally, accidentally, does that make it okay?
I understand, really I do, the thinking behind the statement that Hamas are responsible for the civilian dead in Gaza: were they not to insist upon firing rockets into Israel, it would not be necessary for Israel to fire missiles into Gaza.
But the fact remains: Israel fires missiles into Gaza.
The fact remains: Israelis missiles killed those boys on the beach.
You may argue, if you wish, both that Israel is morally responsible in its attempts to limit civilian casualties and that Hamas is completely responsible for civilian casualties.
You may argue that, if you wish.
But if Israel is not responsible, then how is it responsible?
I don’t know what I would do, how I would think, if I lived in Tel Aviv, Gaza, Hebron, or Jerusalem, if it were me, transplanted from my junior one-bedroom in Brooklyn to an apartment in Israel or the Occupied Territories.
If it were me, would I call those territories occupied, which they are, or would I call them Palestine, which is what some want them to become?
(Judea & Samaria? No: it is still me.)
How would I understand Israelis, Palestinians? the soldiers, the militants, the terrorists? the politicians? the underpaid academics, the cafe-goers and olive farmers and scientists and tour guides and those for whom the land is their home, their everything?
The kids, the families, anyone at a beach in July: that I understand.
From where I sit, in my junior one-bedroom in Brooklyn, it is clear: this must stop!
But of course. How obvious is that observation. How useless it is.
How many people disagree, by agreeing to its extremes; who seek for it to continue, without end, until it all can be finally ended.
Who don’t care what it takes to get to that final end, how much and how many will be destroyed.