My disgust with the Israeli government is so deep that I don’t trust myself with words.
But really, two articles in today’s New York Times say it all.
In the first, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is quoted advocating the Israeli invasion of Gaza in order to ensure “a normal summer vacation for our kids” (the quote is way down in the 14th paragraph of the story).
In the second, we see what appears to be Lieberman’s idea of a kids’ summer vacation in Gaza: four boys, ages 9, 10, and 11, killed by Israeli bombs while playing soccer on the beach. It’s accompanied by this photo by the award-winning Tyler Hicks:
Reports from eyewitness foreign journalists here.
This is really too, too sad. There’s a silly movie called “Groundhog Day” whereby the main actor (Bill Murray) wakes up to the same day, again and again and again, and it becomes a nightmare. Every few years I wake up to see almost the same news, the same hatred, the same anger, the same rockets, the same out-of-proportion Israeli response with high-tech militaria, hundreds of homes demolished in the Gaza strip, and the photos…of limp bodies of children, tear-streaked faces of Palestinian women grieving, smug-looking Israeli tanks commanders and also the frightened faces of Israeli conscripts who would rather be in their homes in Tel Aviv or elsewhere…
And I think to myself, Will there ever be peace in that part of the world? (sigh..)
This reminds me of Tom Friedman’s recent column on arsonists vs firefighters. The thrust was that the leadership in Mid-East countries are the arsonists, fanning the flames for short term political gain. If left alone, however, the general populace is quite capable of living peacefully with various factions intermingled. But I begin to wonder whether there are any “firefighters” among Israelies and Palestinians.
Do you find any reason for hope in this dysfunctional place? Any chance of a grass roots uprising? A growing chorus of “Enough”?
Reason for hope? I hate to say it, but no, not right now. After the massacre of kindergarteners in Sandy Hook, Long Island, for instance, I thought “maybe now” there’d finally be a move toward serious gun control in the US. I mean, a whole room of five-year-olds gunned down? How much worse could it get? But no. After seeing these boys blown up in Gaza, it’s tempting to again think “maybe now,” but everything tells me not. After 47 years, the ugly mentality of occupation is deeply institutionalized, and the thuggish dehumanization and demonization of the “other” seems only to be worsening, from the top on down.
Do I hope nonetheless? Clearly, despite everything, and reason be damned. The fact that I cannot see something happening does not mean that it can’t happen. Human beings may be infinitely manipulable, but we can also be defiantly unpredictable.
Re “firefighters,” they’re there, of course, but we hear little about most of them because as always with the news, the adage is “flames lead.” They need support more now than ever. Inflammatory leadership and biased reporting on both sides means that those who advocate dialogue instead of violence are branded “traitors” and then attacked by thuggish extremists on “their own side” as “worse than the enemy.” I have huge admiration for all those, Palestinian and Israeli, who continue this advocacy nonetheless. It takes no courage to speak out against violence from afar; it takes real courage to do so when you know that a death threat awaits you and your family.
And I should add this from Nick Kristof in today’s NYT, starting with the families of both Naftali Fraenkel and Muhammad abu Khdeir calling for an end to violence, but to no avail — as I wrote the reply above, the ground invasion of Gaza began.
Since Israel started bombardment of Gazza I became unhappiest person on the earth, their arrogance, justifying their aggressions, not caring about safety of Plastenian women, children, elderly, sick, not respecting their life’s and property is despicable. Their heart became like a stone, no mercy, no compassion left in their hearts. If Moses was alive he would be a shamed by Israeli government and he would help Palestinians because they are oppressed by Israel. He would lead them to freedom. Instead of searching the murderer of 3 Jewish boys at West Bank they are bombing 2 million people at Gazza. They needed an excuse to attact Gazza and used this crime. It is Ramadan and they ruined 1,8 Billion Muslims Ramadan with their attack. We can no longer watch news, read news. We are fed up with them. Since US behind them all muslim world is afraid and helpless:(