Tension mounts in Gaza

The genuinely most important story of today is, of course, the increasingly tense situation in Gaza:

GAZA CITY, June 28 — Israeli ground troops pushed into the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in a military operation aimed at freeing a captured soldier whose fate has transfixed much of the country. The incursion was the military’s first major move into Gaza since the Israeli government withdrew all troops and settlers from the enclave nine months ago.

An undisclosed number of troops reportedly entered the strip at its southern end, near the city of Rafah on the Egyptian border. Hours earlier, Israeli military officials said, military aircraft bombed two bridges in central Gaza to prevent the gunmen who abducted Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19, during a Sunday attack on an army post at the strip’s southeastern edge from moving him around Gaza or into Egypt.

Another airstrike hit Gaza’s power station, knocking out electricity throughout the strip and igniting a huge fire that lit the pre-dawn sky. A third bridge was also reported hit.

There’s a lot in this story that saddens me. First, of course, is the prospect that it’s growing ever more likely that people will be killed and injured, both Palestinians and Israelis. And then there’s the fact that both sides, rather than taking a strictly day-forward approach in resolving their differences, are arguing from historic claims and grievances. As should have been apparent from previous posts here I hate it when current political disagreements are couched in historic terms, particularly when the history is as mythologized as that in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Finally, it saddens me that both the Israelis and the Palestinians are being exploited as proxies by the West and Islamists, respectively. History, religion, and global politics are just too much to cope with in an area the size of a U. S. county.

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