ONE OF THE most misleading words in the recent explosion of violence between Israel and Hamas is “conflict.” There is no symmetry or equivalence between desperate rocket attacks, deplorable as they are, from Hamas and the massive, disproportionate blitzkrieg by the region’s dominant military power. And, as usual, the casualties in such attacks were disproportionate as well: More than 20 times as many Palestinians, including many children, were killed, most of them predictable deaths from Israeli air force strikes on population centers in the Gaza Strip.
The bloodshed has sparked renewed calls for the “two-state solution”—the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. But, as Palestinian-American Jonathan Kuttab and American-Israeli Oriel Eisner explain in this issue, Israeli settlements have made the two-state approach impossible, and thus made clear the need for a shift in our thinking. As Kuttab writes, new thinking “would require each group to sufficiently empathize with and understand the hopes, fears, interests, and aspirations of the other group.” This spring’s violence makes painfully evident why such new thinking is urgently needed.