News coverage since Hamas’ terrorist targeting of Israeli civilians has steadily shifted to the horrifying retaliation from Israel.

APTOPIX Israel Palestinians

Palestinians look for survivors following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Mohammed Dahman/Associated Press

The daily media cycle begins with rising Palestinian body counts, especially of children, the annihilation of all infrastructure and the increasing humanitarian crisis. Then it’s the hostage situation and Israeli self-defense via the war crime of all-out collective punishment. Next comes reportage of protest and support taking to the streets worldwide and fears of a widening conflict.

Reporting 24-7 with its usual sensationalized coverage, the news itself has become a major factor in shaping this historical moment, compounding its complexity even while attempting to clarify its narrative. Rarely has the vital importance of journalistic integrity been so conspicuously self-examined. Suddenly, Israel’s usual moral free pass no longer musters much mojo.

Now, Palestinian lives do matter, even in Washington. Congressional staff members and State Department workers have publicly opposed Israel’s brutal reprisal against Gaza. Even President Biden cautioned against 9/11-like vengeance. Here and abroad, huge outpourings of demonstrators, often of opposing camps, are apparently pretty much up to speed on Middle East geopolitics, despite all accusations of mainstream media’s Israeli bias.

What’s interesting about this unexpected broad activist awareness is that it’s likely just as competently informed about Ukraine and Russia, and yet there has been no similar public outpouring of divided support on that conflict; rather overwhelming solidarity with Ukrainians.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu continue choosing the wrong side of history, and humanity, while Biden keeps threading a very dangerous geopolitical needle in stitching together U.S. condemnation of one and not the other.

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Whether engaging or enraging, one really doesn’t need endlessly argued analysis to ascertain the important real-time takeaways of either tragedy. Russia brutally invaded its neighbor, an act of openly criminal aggression no provocation can justify. Hamas similarly attacked Israel in a heinous genocidal act meant to assure Israel’s own war crime retribution against the people of Palestine. Ukrainians and Palestinians do not deserve this fate. Many Russians and Israelis abhor the reprehensible acts of their repressive governance and have no malice towards their purported enemies. The rightful answer to ending these endless conflicts doesn’t lie in rhetorical gamesmanship of historical wokeness.

The answer will more likely come by somehow escaping the here-and-now tribal hatred that religion all too often nurtures, rather than surmounts, and politics re-brands as patriotism. Fanning hatred of Israel and the U.S., or Russia and Hamas, just fuels more hatred, no better or worse or more productive than any other hatred but an equally unlikely path towards peace.

Unpacking the current chaos in Gaza only underscores the pointlessness of historical right and wrong arguments regarding Russia’s attack on Ukraine. History’s important if it indeed provides clarity. Otherwise, it’s just another stumbling stone to truth. Religions further complicate matters with the believed inarguable historical truth of divine territorial entitlement.

Turning the other cheek is a difficult thing to do because essentially it ultimately requires that one put the sanctity of life above one’s own life’s safety, or the safety of one’s family and community. The conflict between Palestine and Israel is a totally Old Testament mindset. Tragically, even Christianity still prefers the teaching of an eye for an eye. Tragically, Hamas and Putin will only be appeased when Israel and Ukraine cease to exist.

David has become Goliath. One needn’t know which was historically righteous, or why any history fueled hatred is believed justified by apologist observers. Unpardonable wrongness is evident in its truly incomprehensible inhumanity. Terrorism has no righteousness.

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