Sorry, but my tank got stuck on the Golan Heights.
First, I had been on holiday, and when I don’t have at least a few hours every day to read and analyze the news, then I prefer not to write at all. But then I notice that other commentators are less slow and immediately have a full understanding of everything as soon as they have seen a photo of a dead child (which might well have been killed in a completely different conflict).
Second, I don’t expect any meaningful debate. The same arguments like two years, five years or ten years ago will be exchanged. Two firmly hardened camps will attack each other with the same slogans that I have heard in all other discussions on Israel and Palestine since 1948. The particularly dim-witted one will seek attention by making Nazi comparisons. Nobody will change their mind just because they learn new facts. Nobody will pause and think.
Most of the current debates are so intellectually undemanding and unsatisfying, that war might indeed seem as the better alternative to settle disputes. At least there will be a victor in the end, and then there will be calm for another two years again.
These short Gaza wars are really only useful for one purpose: thanks to them, it’s easy to tell whom you don’t need to take seriously as a conversationalist, journalist or Middle East expert anymore. If someone ignores that a few hundred missiles have been fired from Gaza into Israel since mid-June 2014 but then screams “genocide” and “war crimes” upon the first response by Israel, he is a very selective pacifist. If someone ignores that Hamas hide their missiles in school and private houses and that Palestinians remain in their houses after the Israeli air force asked them to leave, she can’t very credibly discuss the responsibility for killed civilians. Those who use any normal military conflict to start a tirade against “Zionism” put themselves in the far right corner. And I still wait for the person who will provide me with the historical example of a state who didn’t try to defend itself militarily against a continuing missile barrage on its civilian population.