I’ve invited Andy Stunich, who takes a much more pro-Israel line than I, to discuss recent and current events in the Mideast on KHSU this Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. Originally we were going to discuss Iraq and maybe Libya, but I think the Gaza carnage will take up the hour.

It’s kind of hard to discuss the matter dispassionately as body parts are flying all over the Gaza, but we’ll make the effort.  I’m told that the average age in the Gaza is 19, that the population is crammed into a density of nearly 10,000 people per square mile, and that there really are no safe places for Gazans to escape to.  I’m also told that Gaza constructed very few bomb shelters over the years, but instead focused on tunnels.  That Hamas purchased rocket launchers with little or no military strategic value in lieu of shoulder-held rocket launchers which might have actually deterred Israeli airstrikes (but are useless for attacking Israel).  There are disturbing reports of Hamas executing Palestinian protesters today.  And the Israeli government has warned its citizens to expect an extended campaign to root out the tunnels, locate hidden rocket launchers, etc.  Not much good news of late, other than large anti-war demonstrations in Jerusalem and Haifa, but I fear the Peace Now movement of Israel is of very little political influence.  I’ve read lots of genocidal rhetoric from both sides of the conflict, including some scary stuff from an elected Israeli official.  Undisputed is the fact that Gazans are being killed by a hundred for every Israeli killed.  I will argue, and Andy will undoubtably dispute, my contention that Israel has more power to alter the course of history (Hamas can kill people, but it’s no threat to Israel).  But I’m not going to get into a discussion of which side is more or less morally culpable.  It’s a pointless discussion in times of war.

Unfortunately this is a polarized issue such that for many people you either support one side of the conflict or the other.  Not much room for nuance.  But we will find that room on Thursday, though ultimately there are only two groups of people who can bring these endless conflicts to an end.  Anyway, lots to talk about as the body count climbs.  It’s a pretty depressing topic, but at this point I think it’s callous to ignore whether or not we can actuhasally influence events.