That which militants in Gaza are doing, i.e., launching rockets into Israel, is utter stupidity and must be harshly condemned. That which the Israeli military is doing, i.e., taking an approach of collective punishment by bombing the people in Gaza is equally stupid and also ought to be summarily condemned. The murder of the three Israeli boys was horrendous, and so also was the murder of the Palestinian boy who was burned alive by his kidnapper. No mother should have to bury a child, and no one can imagine the pain and anguish of the Palestinian and Israeli parents of those boys? This culture of hate and violence that have evolved between Israelis and Palestinians must be brought to an end, and quickly, for the inevitable result will be their mutual destruction. Attributing blame to one or the other side will avail nothing, for that will go back and forth ad infinitum. More than anything, both sides must recognize that hate, violence, retaliation, and revenge killing will continue in an endless cycle and not do either side any good.
Those of us outside the conflict can help by speaking out against the violence (whether initiated or retaliatory) of both sides. Under no circumstance can violence be justified. Since the recent exchange of violence, I have seen several images circulating, one with the Statue of Liberty and rockets raining down around it, with the question, "What would you do?" The image seems to be implying that the appropriate response would be to retaliate, and I suppose justifying Israel's response to the rockets being fired into its territory. If the principle here is: "If you or one of yours is attacked then you ought to retaliate", then I beg to differ. I was faced with a similar situation at age 19 when my own father was burned alive by another man. I was filled with hate and anger, and I had the training, the means, and the opportunity to take revenge. Good sense prevailed, and I forgave my father's killer. Israel and the Palestinians must be held equally accountable for the hate, violence, and revenge killing that pervade their relationship. Taking sides with one or the other of them merely provides them with justification that does the resolution of the conflict no good. Condemning the actions of one and not the other does not help. Condemning them both equally and severely will help them get the message.
This cycle of hate and violence, if unabated, will eventually spread beyond the two people and will pull others into the conflict. Thus, this inveterate hate will become like a black hole devouring all in its event horizon. Once it grows and grows, there is no stopping it. Further, this hate will so consume Israelis and Palestinians alike, with the result that neither will any longer have moral ground to stand on, as hate will corrode the moral fabric of both societies. We are already seeing this occurring as both sides have exhibited a total disregard for human life. For its part, the United States (as the self-proclaimed world leader) must desist from its unconditional support of one belligerent, and the toothless United Nations must do more than just call for a cease-fire. CALL THE ISRAELI LEADERSHIP AND THEIR MILITARY ON THEIR SHIT! AND CALL THE PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP AND THEIR MILITANTS ON THEIR SHIT!