The Israeli/Palestinian conflict has been going on as long as anyone on these boards can remember. It seems like a never ending humanitarian catastrophe. It is a subject that is as controversial as abortion, homsexuality, or any other number of issues commonly debated on these boards. Yet, in the United States, it is a subject the American media have largely chosen to ignore. There is no serious reporting on the conflict here, there is no serious debate or discussion. It is a huge component of our foreign policy yet it is something most Americans are completely in the dark about. What is particularly frustrating is that because there is no open discussion, information tends to be highly skewed towards one side or another. Israeli lobbying groups make sure that the only thing that is said is the mantra of "Israel has the right to defend itself." On the other side, there are many Anti-Israeli groups that seem to simply use Palestine as a sacrificial lamb to promote anti-Israeli propoganda. Depending on where your sympathies lie, if you are actually interested in the topic you only seem to get information from people with an agenda. Why isn't there any real substantive independent journalism exploring all sides of the issue? I believe Israel has the right to exist, and I believe it has a right to defend itself. Yet, in the United States, right or wrong, we at the very least openly criticize and discuss our policies. Our government seems to give a total pass to Israel, and we in this country do not question Israel's actions in any real substantive way. Why isn't the plight of the Palestinian people given more attention? Why isn't there an open dialogue? I think this latest round of violence is going to hurt Israel PR, as I think they overreacted. However, I will admit by opinion is based on limited information. I would like to learn more, and I am hoping to learn more about the perspectives of others in this country and especially those in other countries, where I imagine there is more detailed reporting on this conflict. My uneducated belief is that Israel should exist, and the U.S. should continue to give strong support to Israel. However, I think the U.S. should do more to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, because it seems the conditions they are being forced to live are truly deplorable. I don't know what the answer is, I just know there needs to be more dialogue so I am starting here with my Star Wars loving friends.