A piece by the indispensable JJ Goldberg
points out how much the current war in Gaza resulted from missed cues, miscommunication, bluster, fear, nationalism run rampant, and suppressed differences between Israel's civilian leadership and its more cautious military, not to mention wounds, everywhere, primed to reopen.
Cold comfort all that is.
This is not the first war to originate that way. (Are we not, for example, marking the centenary of that most horrendous of all misbegotten, vaguely avoidable, modern conflicts, World War I?)
It doesn't take much to tip Israel/Palestine back into the cycle of violence that has been operative since the 1920s. Of course, back then, the Yishuv (as the Jewish settlement in Palestine was known) was an embattled minority, and, make no mistake, Arab leaders — headed up by Haj Amin el-Husseini, who met and sought common ground with Hitler — wanted nothing more than to utterly destroy it.
It's different today.
The British, who could be counted on to play Jews against Arabs, if for no other reason than that they lacked a more coherent strategy, a way to fulfill the contradictory promises they had issued to both people, are long gone. And there is a Jewish state, backed by one of the most powerful militaries on earth.
It's different today. These differences are substantial and not about to melt away. But if you study the history you might conclude, with me, it's just not different enough.