When philosopher Hannah Arendt witnessed the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, she was struck by his ‘unthinking’ nature in the way that he went about the ordinary business of carrying out the holocaust.
He was not only following orders, he was following procedures, normal ways of acting in a complex, but deadly, organization. That ordinary people can carry out evil deeds led Professor Arendt to suggest that the “banality of evil” was a critical problem that had to be recognized as a modern condition.
The Israeli war with Gaza provided riveting visuals of the bombardment of homes, shops, hospitals, schools, several of which served as United Nations’ “safe havens,” that killed and wounded thousands. Israel responded to Hamas’ rain of rockets by bombing and invading Gaza, attacking urban living areas where Hamas fighters were alleged to be operating with a network of tunnels. The Palestinian death toll in Gaza stands at more than 2,000 with nearly 10,000 wounded.
More than 300 children have died. Included in the carnage were 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed in a single strike. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians have died. When U.N. observers denied that there were any weapons in their smashed shelters, the Israeli reply was that they would investigate the shelling.