What a depressing start to the new year with all the usual suspects putting a dampener on the festivities.
It's hard not to be moved by the suffering in Gaza, but it is hardly new news. The really depressing part is that extremists on both sides are actually benefitting from all that blood and guts fest.
It brings out the cynic in you when thinking about how electoral campaigns are fought in supposedly the only democracy in the Middle East: Tzipi and Ehud only have to make sure that they drop the biggest bombs to show Bibi they have bigger swinging balls than he has, to make the electorate come running to their banner.
Perhaps if Helen Clark had started bombing Tama Iti's hideout in the Ureweras, or built a wall around South Auckland and sent in some tanks until the local criminal classes promise to stop burgling Epsom homes, she'd still be Prime Minister!
And it's also depressing that the other side is a bunch of fundamentalist maniacs who would rather shoot me (or hang me Iran-style), so I can't feel sorry for them either.
And to make you reach for another anti-depressant (or a good Waiheke wine) a new president in America won't make a jot of difference. Obama's appearance before AIPAC during the campaign made it more than clear that nuancing America's backing for Israel is one change he can't even believe in.
It just means that the Israeli elections are actually far more relevant and important in future Middle East (and world affairs) than an administration change in Washington. Tzipi is busy writing Hillary's future speeches.
The only solution is to secularize the whole area, get rid of fundamentalist Jewish and Islamist Governments and turn them into two civilised, non-sectarian, non-religious democracies, like they did eventually in Europe after the religious wars. Mixing religion and politics is constantly being proven to always be a lethal cocktail.
If you want to support peace movements, here's one: Peace Now.