}

The facts about Gaza that we’re not saying

Guest post by lizrael.

For the last few days I’ve had this lump in my throat, blocking me from saying something I feel but haven’t been able to articulate.

Do you know what I feel when the window’s been shut, the door is locked, and I’ve sat down on the floor of our safe room?

I feel incredibly lucky.

Lucky to have a roof over my head, lucky to have a government watching over my safety, as much as the means churn my guts. Lucky there are laws that buildings must be built with safe rooms now. Lucky that I can get to mine within single-digit seconds, let alone that I actually have 90 of them. Lucky that I know once the door is closed, chances are pretty much 100% – based on my location and building structure – that we will be totally fine.

It’s horrible that there are thousands of eighth and ninth graders in the south of Israel who have never known a different life than constant trauma. There are no words to adequately sum up that situation. It’s horrible they haven’t always been given proper support from our government – that they’ve had to push for it throughout the years. It’s horrible that things only get really serious when the rockets creep out towards the center.

Here’s the part I’m having the specific trouble with.

Israel – the entire Jewish world, in fact – is still pushing through a very low time. A roller coaster that ended up crashing after the highs and lows – when we found the bodies of the three kidnapped teens. We supposedly felt unified, we felt as one, we felt each other’s pain, and for just a few minutes, forgot the clothes we were wearing, the type of headgear we may or may not don, we let it go in order to cry together.

Then it got worse.

Our national pride – our infinite price on life- was stabbed right through its core, when at least three young individuals took an innocent Jerusalem Arab boy’s life in their hands, in a way unfathomable. We wrung our hands, we cried out in pain, we condemned and we distanced.

And now, now we’re combating Hamas in Gaza. Again. For the third time in six years. It’s complicated. Of course it’s complicated. In so many directions, it’s complicated. The rockets that are targeted over here, the rockets that are targeted over there. The history, the context, the instability.

The fact that to protect ourselves, we cause A LOT of collateral damage.

While I do believe the IDF embraces a military culture that tries harder than others to preserve life, to use intelligent targeting, to warn civilians, and I do believe Hamas puts its own people on the line to make its grisly point.

We’re just not acknowledging it enough. We are not ok with this. We are not ok with trying our best and it still causing loss of life. We must not be complacent about it. If murder is murder is murder, so too, life is life is life.

And as I watch the rocket reports happen live over social media among my peers – meaning those as lucky as I am, scattered across Israel, absorbing the terror and the sadness and the frustration in each individual’s own way- all I can think is, everything about this discussion is us, us, us.

Rockets explode over our homes. Debris is caught on Tel Aviv streets. Posting what we were doing when the siren sounded (again). Posting what our kids thought. Posting what other people should think. Posting with humor, a nationalistic characteristic to get through the pain. Posting repeated hasbara – what some might call, without irony,”truthful propaganda.”

Stats. Infographics. Diagrams of missiles. What the IDF is doing next. How much we all appreciate the Iron Dome technology. What we should be doing next. What we shouldn’t. What we feel. What we don’t feel.

I don’t think we have to take away from all of that – especially the stress and pain at watching our friends and family get called down to the front line – in order to recognize this next point.

Gazans, ordinary Gazans who do exist, Gazans, have none of it.

No Iron Dome.

No government that actually cares truly to make their nation function.

No safe rooms.

No privacy.

The fact is, no matter what propaganda, theories, or the truth we don’t know yet dictates –

Innocents are dying.

But Hamas takes its own citizens hostage!

Children are dying.

But Hamas uses them as human shields!

But an entire people – yes, a group that lives together and dies together deserves to be called, and very much is, a people – an entire people is being tortured by multiple forces, pulling at them this way and that.

And I’m not saying we have to spend hours arguing over whose fault that is. I’m not saying it’s one way or another. I’m not trying to get into a political shit swamp because if I cared for that, I might post hasbara after hasbara after hasbara on Twitter.

I’m saying in the name of our collective value for life, in the name of our fortunate circumstances that our leaders do care for our safety, in the name of existing as beings on this Earth,

that surely, surely among the infographics, the op/eds, the “fuck you Hamas”, the hashtags, the rocket outcry, we ought to take a moment or two or million and grieve over what’s become of our, of their, humanity.

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5 Comments

  1. Mickey Oberman

    7/14/2014 at 8:01 am

    The best I can say for Arab/Gazan civilians is “TOO BAD”.

    You cheered when Hamas took power.
    You cheered while you destroyed your own infrastructures and business opportunities.
    You cheered while Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
    You cheered when three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered.
    You said not a word when your homes and schools and mosques and hospitals were turned into armouries and when your heroic fighters used your houses for cover. You supported and cheered them on.

    Now you are paying for all your cheer.
    Stop your damned whining and cheer why don’t you. Be full of good cheer.

    TOO BAD.

    Mickey Oberman

  2. A.F. Kaplan

    7/15/2014 at 5:02 pm

    Hamas is recognized throughout the civilized world as a terrorist organization. The Palestinians chose to elect them to run their “government.”

    What is happening to them now is something they brought upon themselves by choosing Hamas as their voice and for laying claim to land that does not belong them; NEVER HAS, NEVER WILL!

  3. Slumber

    7/22/2014 at 12:24 am

    Yes, Lizrael, children and innocents are dying in Gaza, and it’s heartbreaking.

    Hamas has basically given Israelis two choices.

    1) Sit back and let Israeli children and innocents get shot at indefinitely, hoping that luck and the Iron Dome perpetually stave off disaster.

    or

    2) Go through Gazan children and innocents in order to stop the terrorists in their midst who shoot at Israeli children and innocents.

    Both options are painful. But then this is the Middle East, a region where good options are few and far between. It is nothing short of horrific that we have been forced to choose between the safety of our children and theirs, but this is the paradigm that Hamas has forced on us.

    Israel has clearly chosen not to sit back and get shot at. No reasonable people with a healthy will to survive in a tortured region could have chosen otherwise.

  4. Mary

    7/27/2014 at 9:30 pm

    hi ,

    I am from Ireland and I don’t know why I landed on your page, but you are great to say what you feel about this. I think there are many more than you think like you but can’t speak up. Here a is a good Israeli you may want to listen to:

    youtu.be/TOaxA...

  5. Slumber

    7/28/2014 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Mary, I didn’t have time to watch the entirety of the video, but I did watch the first few minutes. From what I saw, the speaker did not impress me.

    His assertion that modern-day Jews are not descended from ancient Hebrews has been debunked by every single genetic study ever done on Jewish ancestry, all of which indicate common Middle Eastern Levantine ancestry for all Jews worldwide, save for the communities in Ethiopia and India. Interestingly enough, genetic studies indicate that Jews are closer to genetically to Palestinians and other Levantine peoples than they are to any other ethnic groups in the word (see en.wikipedia.o... – normally I don’t like citing Wikipedia, but this entry is well written and footnoted with links to most pertinent studies). The speaker in the video, meanwhile, introduces absolutely no scientific evidence to back-up his contrary claim.

    His treatment of the Palestinian right of return is likewise disingenuous, ignoring as it does the genocidal war aims of Palestinian militias and Arab states in 1948. Incidentally, Israel does accept that a future Palestinian state may apply a right of return within its own borders (i.e. within the borders of the Palestinian state). This too goes unmentioned by the presenter.

    The one statement he made that does have validity (from what I have seen) is his initial disclaimer that his presentation would not be balanced because, according to him, the facts so overwhelmingly favoured the Palestinian side (I am paraphrasing). Indeed, his presentation was not balanced. And yes, facts do overwhelmingly favour one side if one wilfully and systematically ignores facts that favour the other side.

    The speaker’s lineage as the son of an Israeli general is likewise of limited relevance. After all, there was the son of a Hamas founder who became very pro-Israel (en.wikipedia.o...…. Sigh, there I go citing Wikipedia again). I wonder, do his pro-Israel sentiments make him a “good Palestinian”?

    Speaking of which, I find that your reference to a “good Israeli” (as opposed to all us “bad Israelis”) carries marked overtones of paternalism.

    I may watch the rest of the video if I have sufficient free time, but what I have seen so far does not appear promising. I respectfully suggest that you learn more about Israel, Palestine and the Middle East from more varied and balanced sources.

    Otherwise, all the best.

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