a phrase we’ve become used to in recent years. What it usually means is non-combatants getting killed or wounded ‘accidentally’; as if we didn’t know the effect being in the way of a rocket might have.
Thre has been increased military activity in the Sinai-Gaza area since an attack on a bus some days ago. The reporting suggests, because we are so easily distracted, that not much has been happening there until this event. That’s not the experience of the families who have lost loved ones as ‘collateral damage’ of a conflict that has continued, with troughs and peaks for over 80 years. No, I have not mis-counted. Those who believe that the conflict in Palestine started in 1948 (or even 1947) need to acquaint themselves with history. 1946/7 is certainly key to what has happened subsequently but the action and, noitably, the planning were being set in place in the 1930’s.
What has this got to do with collateral damage?
Consider the malign influence this conflict has had on western, and on Christian, relations with the Arab and Islamic worlds. The ‘clash of cultures’ is a post 9/11 invention. Left to our politicians there is little hope of progress. People of faith and people of goodwill have a shared interest. Can we work cooperatively to repair some of the damage?