The most recent eruption of violence in Gaza and Israel is a tragic reminder of the human consequences of decades of oppression. The human toll – hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis killed so far – tells that appalling story. Many of the targets, and many of those killed, on both sides, were civilians.
And, as the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory noted about attacks on civilians, “whoever launches them (Palestinian armed groups or Israeli occupation forces) commits crimes that must be accounted for.”
But while it’s necessary, condemning attacks on civilians isn’t enough. If we are serious about ending this spiraling violence, we need to look at root causes. And that means – hard as it may be for some to acknowledge it – we must look at the context.