The Middle East conflict is the world’s infected, open sore. You can put a bandage on it, but ultimately, the pathogen can’t be ignored; and while the impact is most acute in a small, localized region, the impacts of the disease can be felt throughout the global body politic. There is no easy remedy for the latest incarnation of this deadly disease. There is no spoonful of sugar with the medicine. There is no solution to dull the pain. There is no way to attack the disease without damaging the healthy tissue that surrounds it. Any suggestion of a miracle cure is a hallucination; a mirage in a desert once more deserted by hope. Yes, the horrific, ISIS-like terror must be answered with a forceful response. If you imagine some justification for rape, murder, baby killing, and hostage taking, you’ve lost your way. As Helen Lewis asks in The Atlantic (Gift Article): “Can you condemn the slaughter of civilians, in massacres that now appear to have been calculatedly sadistic and outrageous, without equivocation or whataboutism? Can you lay down, for a moment, your legitimate criticisms of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, West Bank settlements, and the conditions in Gaza, and express horror at the mass murder of civilians?” And yes, the ensuing loss of life among innocent Palestinians in Gaza is heartbreaking. If you can’t feel that, you’ve lost your humanity and there’s really not much left to fight for. Even hardened soldiers can be conflicted by the conflict. Here are some thoughts from Nir Avishai Cohen, an IDF reservist, as he headed from Austin, Texas, to the front line. NYT (Gift Article): I’m Going to War for Israel. Palestinians Are Not My Enemy. “I am now going to defend my country against enemies who want to kill my people. Our enemies are the deadly terrorist organizations that are being controlled by Islamic extremists. Palestinians aren’t the enemy. The millions of Palestinians who live right here next to us, between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan, are not our enemy. Just like the majority of Israelis want to live a calm, peaceful and dignified life, so do Palestinians.” To that, let’s say, Amen.

+ Roger Cohen in the NYT: A Shaken Israel Is Forced Back to Its Eternal Dilemma. Cohen gave an interview to Lawrence O’Donnell that’s worth a watch.

+ Rachel Goldberg’s son Hersh was named after relatives killed in the Holocaust. My son carries the same name with the same weighty legacy. But for Rachel’s Hersh, the dark history has come full circle. “Terrorists attacked the shelter, blowing off Hersh’s arm from the elbow down by machine gun fire or a grenade or both. According to witnesses, Hersh, a 23-year-old American-born U.S. citizen, was then ordered into a pickup truck by armed Hamas terrorists and driven toward the Gaza border. The police told us the last known location of his mobile phone was on the Gaza border early Saturday afternoon. I don’t know if he is dead or alive or if I will ever see him again.” NYT (Gift Article): I Hope Someone Somewhere Is Being Kind to My Boy.

+ Noam Bardin, former CEO of Waze and founder of Post News, is providing updates from Israel. He does a good job of illustrating how many Israelis have come together for their country, in spite of the leadership that has been letting them down for years.

+ One of the goals of Hamas is working, at least for now. Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia has paused diplomacy to normalize ties with Israel amid the violence between Hamas militants and Israeli forces. Here’s the latest from CNN, BBC, and AP.