Thursday, May 24, 2007

Voices from Gaza

Deb left a comment here a few days ago with a link to a blog by Dr Mona El Farra. I have been reading her blog (and commenting! I can't keep my mouth shut, as some may have noticed...). I think that many Israelis, myself included, are hungry for communications with the people living in Gaza. Gaza has become this black hole for Israelis, from which rockets are being fired and no one understands why. For peace seeking Israelis, Gaza was supposed to be some sort of a test case to the mantra we kept chanting all these years. To borrow from singer David Broza: "It's going to be ok, just get out of the occupied territories". Well, we got out of part of the occupied territories and it's not really ok, is it? Sigh. A blow to the peace process, a blow to the Israeli left wing, and Israelis can't even see why.

Having spent a while discussing this with Arabs (mostly online), I can see some different perspectives now. None of them really explains to me why the Palestinians are lobbing rockets at us. I sense a lot of anger, born out of sheer despair, at the horrible living conditions of hundreds of thousands of civilians crowded together. They blame Israel with a blockade, while at the same time constantly striving and succeeding even, in importing arms into Gaza.

What bothers me most, is the implicit support of the Kassam attacks by ordinary Palestinians living in Gaza. I hope I'm wrong there and that they don't support it, but I don't see any outright condemnation either. The Kassams are bad for Palestinians - not for Israelis. True, only a few causalities in Israeli from over 4,500 rockets lobbed into our territory. Why throw them then? You get zero military achievement, in terms of causalities (if this is even a military acheivement in its own...). You won't get Israel to stop any undesired policy that way, will you? How is that going to convince Israel to lift the blockade? As an Israeli, a mother, a human being, shuddering at the living conditions in Gaza, let me tell you, I do not want my government to allow Gaza open borders and trade. Convince me first that you won't be using the first opportunity given to get yourselves armed to the teeth with much more advanced rockets that will cause my country much more damage.

Personally, I advocate carefully monitored shipments into Gaza, from any side. Yes, call me patronizing, but I want either the Israeli Navy or some very thorough and effective international force to monitor any shipment going into Gaza. Food and medicine should be allowed in but I want to keep long-range rockets out. Will the Palestinians accept that? or will we get jumped on for "humiliating" them again? Too many issues of national pride involved I'm afraid...

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