I haven’t written for a while. Away in Israel during the month of June, and busy for the past two months with the last editing sequence of the Hebrew version of my memoir, I was too busy to write. That, in spite of the events that precipitated the current cycle of violence that is raging between Israel and Hamas. Then the war broke out and I was reluctant to write about it. Not only because much has been already written and spoken about the war, but also because I find it too hard emotionally. It brings me back to the day I was widowed during the 1967 war. As if time hasn’t passed. As if I haven’t successfully rebuilt a fulfilling life for myself.
But I can’t remain silent. Not after the odd ceasefire proposal that Secretary of State John Kerry submitted to the parties on Friday.
To be sure, there have been enough reasons to speak up, from the moment three innocent Jewish Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank on June 12, by two Palestinian terrorists disguised as religious Jews, and the Israeli government’s response to the kidnapping. I was in Israel then, affected by the grace of the missing children’s parents.
Two weeks after their abduction their slaughtered bodies were found. That followed by the horrific murder of a Palestinian boy by a few misguided avenging extremist Israeli Jews, and all hell broke loose.
Israeli cities have been bombarded by Hamas with thousands of rockets and missiles to which Israel had no choice but to respond. Additionally, Israel discovered over thirty underground tunnels Hamas had built in order to penetrate Israeli towns, for the purpose of abducting and killing Israelis. That discovery has suddenly posed a strategic challenge for Israel it hasn’t known before.
Israel is facing a cruel, stubborn, sardonic enemy that is gaining from the suffering of its own people. That is how terrorist organizations operate. They rely on political gains resulting from widespread sympathy after massive retaliation that is expected from the party they had harmed in the first place. You can read about such tactics in any introductory textbook on the subject of terrorism.
Still, no human being can be oblivious to the horrifying pictures that come out of Gaza. They are not helpful to American interests, nor to Israel’s. But American cities are not bombarded and hundreds, if not thousands of terrorists that could infiltrate US borders through underground tunnels do not threaten its citizens. Witness the outcry in Congress over the infiltration of undocumented youth through American borders. Can you imagine what the US would do if the infiltrators would be terrorists that openly call for your country’s destruction rather than undocumented immigrants?
That is why Israelis are so upset with Secretary Kerry’s ceasefire proposal. It took into account all of Hamas’s demands, neglecting Israel’s legitimate concerns, and it designated Qatar and Turkey, two countries that are extremely hostile to Israel, as emissaries.
You do not have to be a right wing Israeli to be shocked by such a proposal. No one who knows me can accuse me of being one.
The suffering needs to stop. The pictures of Israeli mothers and fathers burying their sons, and those of pregnant widows, like I was so many years ago, break my heart. So do the images that are coming out of Gaza. In spite of that there is no moral equivalency here.
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