07/21/2014 01:00 EDT | Updated 09/20/2014 05:59 EDT

We Need To Do More Than Just Sound Off About the Gaza Attacks


When there is no ''Right Answer'', we must labour to find imperfect answers.

For the past six months we have seen ongoing violent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Russia and Ukraine in parts of the latter country.

We have seen brutal attacks in Gaza and in Israel: Four children were killed on a Gaza beach and a civilian was blown apart by a mortar round in Israel. We have seen a passenger jet filled with innocent citizens shot down over Ukraine.

These conflicts continue; the world outside provides background noises of shock and horror, but makes no real effort to change the fundamental causes of the conflicts. The protagonists see themselves as fighting not just for their own freedom, but for their survival. So, as the conflicts are prolonged, there is less and less caution about collateral damage.

Israel is a lonely democratic star surrounded by a sea of autocratic darkness, intolerant and dysfunctional states that see it as a threat to their comfortable status quo. They do everything they can to undermine the Jewish state's existence, funding revolt, instability and terrorist groups.

Since the creation of the State of Israel, there has been no solution for the Palestinian people who were disenfranchised. The proposals to integrate them into the Israeli state have not proven practical, nor have the proposals for dual statehood. Another solution must be found, but no one, among the powers that be, is making the effort. So an ever more bitter conflict continues to rage, and both sides, with their survival at stake, feels perfectly justified.

Ukraine had been, since the fall of the Soviet Union, nominally independent, but through the real economy of corruption, effectively a satellite state of Russia. Thanks to economic change, and the growth of the middle class in the country, this was changing.

There was an effort to move the country in the direction of the European Union -- clearly there had to be a reaction from those elements of the population who enjoyed the benefits of the Russian influence and from Russia itself that has seen too many invading forces bridge into its lands threw Ukraine.

Again, there is a battle for survival and self-interest. Some have argued that the detachment of the Crimea to Russia is actually a realistic development, as the region is wholly dominated by Russian interests. But the attacks in the east of the country pit the two interest groups in the population against each other.

There is no fundamental difference between the conflict in Ukraine and that between Israel and Hamas. Each group in question sees itself as having its back to the wall. Each has had the bitter experience of trusting allies who let it down. This does not justify shooting down a plane filled with innocent people, but the fear of destruction that drives people to such exigencies is a terrible thing.

It is easy enough to side with one group or another, and to claim the moral high ground, particularly since we don't have to fight for our survival as we do so. What is much more difficult is to do more than sound off about it all. As we deliver ourselves of our opinions, these people go on fighting. The brutal collateral damage gets worse and worse. For now, we remain relatively unscathed spectators.

There is no right answer to conflict. Yet for the sake of all that we hold dear and true, we must continue to labour and find, even if they are imperfect, answers.


Israel Invades Gaza