In the Washington Post and throughout the blogosphere, debates rage about the recent spate of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, each side condemning with righteous indignation the sins of the other and proclaiming their own side's innocence. In a recent Post letters section, for example, Yaffa Klugerman wrote, "I was shocked to read [the] assertion that the murder of eight students in a Jerusalem seminary ... was reminiscent of a 1994 attack by Baruch Goldstein, a Jew who shot a group of Palestinians at prayer" (killing 29 Muslims and wounding another 150).
Another writer decried the Post's lack of balance in putting the seminary killings on page one and having no mention at all of an attack a few days later in which Israelis killed five Gazans. (A short news item in the April issue of Sojourners magazine reported on Hamas rocket attacks that sparked reprisal raids into Gaza by Israeli Defense Forces, but the magazine went to print before the killings at the seminary.)
For those seeking to justify their next round of violence, there will always be another provocation to point to; revenge and retaliation will never end anything, but merely create the rationale for the next bloody attack. And both sides can legitimately condemn acts of inhumanity committed by the other. The only way to stop the deadly spiral is to stop