For most civilians, wars are simply something to survive. They endure the violence and the self-congratulatory propaganda, and move on with the job of trying to rebuild their lives when it is over. This is true in both Israel and Gaza.
But it isn’t just the civilians who have something in common. Hawks defending the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have been vocal for years, with a predictable narrative about their right to preemption that Western leaders eagerly lap up. That narrative is finding currency among Gaza’s hawks too.
“The Palestinian people are fed up with Israeli aggression and massacres of civilians and innocents in Gaza,” insisted one such hawk, an English Lit major named Sarah Salibi who insists that only armed resistance can ever work.
Salibi and others could practically take their talking points out of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s own propaganda manual, just substituting the two nations in the specifics, and insisting they have an inherent “right to self defense” that extends to launching rocket attacks instead of air strikes.
Hamas leadership, though not the ones in the Gaza Strip, are also reveling in their high hopes for the current war, with Khaled Meshal “daring” Israel to invade the Strip, while the bulk of deaths in the conflict are of course not Hamas fighters, but civilian bystanders.
On both sides this boundless optimism among combatants and bandwagon jumpers ensures that the calls for a ceasefire aren’t taken to seriously, and leave the civilians waiting for the hostile factions to tire themselves out, hoping they will survive until that happens.