Israel Gaza fighting: What’s it’s like to be in Jerusalem as the conflict escalates. – Slate Magazine

So many posts address the debate over policy–and the Middle East is in the news again.  This is not your typical post.  It delves into the experience of living in Israel, with an eye to the complexities and nuances.

It also hits on a really important diplomatic skill–the art of listening, really listening.  I can’t post enough on that one because its easy to explain, harder to internalize and practice.

Required reading before you start arguing about rockets, military intervention, alliances and historical claims.

I don’t know how to talk about what is happening here but it’s probably less about writers’ block than readers’ block. It says so much about the state of our discourse that the surest way to enrage everyone is to tweet about peace in the Middle East. We should be doing better because, much as I hate to say it, the harrowing accounts of burnt-out basements and baby shoes on each side of this conflict don’t constitute a conversation. Counting and photographing and tweeting injured children on each side isn’t dialogue. Scoring your own side’s suffering is a powerful way to avoid fixing the real problems, and trust me when I tell you that everyone—absolutely everyone—is suffering and sad and yet being sad is not fixing the problems either.

One good lesson I am learning this week is to shut up and listen. Because the only way to cut through the mutual agony here is to find people who have solutions and to hear what they have to say. Bombing the other side into oblivion is no more a solution than counting your dead children in public. The best thing about shutting up and listening? You eventually lose the impulse to speak.

Please don’t judge. Work toward solutions. Because everyone on every side of this is desperate. This isn’t a way to live and we all know it. Last night I was at a study session with a group of women in Jerusalem. A teenage girl was crying and I assumed it was over a guy. It’s always a guy. But it wasn’t. She was headed to the army today.

via Israel Gaza fighting: What’s it’s like to be in Jerusalem as the conflict escalates. – Slate Magazine.


5 thoughts on “Israel Gaza fighting: What’s it’s like to be in Jerusalem as the conflict escalates. – Slate Magazine”

  1. I feel that photographs are particularly poignant in portraying what’s really going on:

    It’s so easy to be detached. The number of casualties listed in the news to us may be just a figure, but to someone else, it’s someone lost. A lot of the UN is talking of policy and representing a nation’s positions on issues. It’s easy to remember how Israel feels about Palestine, what courses of action Palestine may use, and how many rockets the two are sending each other. But like the article and photos attempt to show is beyond the sphere of a UN conference room. We are dealing with real people.

  2. I agree with Kennerley that it is very easy to be detached from the issue. Look at the NYtimes today. Gaza still on the front page, but then the other news filters in. Gaza and Israel have become old news. On the other hand, I love what Lithwick had to say about the matter. Us, tweeting and status posting pictures does not solve the problem. There is sadness and despair on both sides, but reiterating that fact does not change it. But maybe there is hope.

  3. For Palestinians the conflict is an answer to anger, they pay with their lands and with their families. While I was looking for information regarding the conflict, I found an interesting video that states the important events in the conflict. It is incredible how many innocent people have died. I think that if Palestine had its own country accepted by the United Nations conflicts of this level could have been prevented. I am aware that there would probably be a lot of pressure in both countries but there is the possibility that the conflict would have not escalated.

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