A reader sums up the frustration and ennui of many about the latest Israeli-Arab conflict:
Fuck ‘em both. I’m 50 years old, and we’ve been doing this dance for as long as I can remember reading newspapers, and it never changes much. Israel might give Sinai back to Egypt, or Gaza and the West Bank might get some form of Palestinian political control. And then. . . the same old shit. Terrorist attacks on Israel, reprisals by Israel, a cease-fire. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Illegal settlements spread, American politicians protest, Israeli politicians waffle a bit or stand their ground, nothing changes. Repeat. PLO or Hamas or Hezbollah, whichever Israeli PM, each accuses the other of being the impediment to “lasting peace.” Repeat. The details shift, but the fundamentals do not change. It just goes on and on.
So most Americans who are not Millennialist Christians or hard-core Zionists really do just tune it out. Speeds up reading the paper every day, as I can just skip the details about the latest iteration of the same old shit. On my most extreme days, I shamefully hope for some kind of nuclear catastrophe, and we’ll deal with the environmental catastrophe entailed by such a thing. But at least we’ll be done with this endless fight, which you recently pointed out is insoluble: religion plus politics plus territory cannot be negotiated.
I know that this sort of feeling is deeply flawed, but I honestly have felt this way since the late 1980s. And I feel it more strongly now, and many people I know express similar emotions. Here We Go Again. Why Bother?
That's why it's called the audacity of hope, I guess.