Tag Archives: conflict

27/12/2008 – 17/01/2009

I am mortified.

Just absolutely mortified.

The horror that is happening / has happened in Gaza haunts me all the time. I am quite sick with it. And beyond confused.

What I have been reading is too awful to even entertain as the daily reality of so many people. And my life has carried on, my daily walks, cooking, care of my darling child. I cannot wrap my head around this.

I have been thinking and thinking and thinking. And I have found myself quite bewildered. One the one hand I am devasted that so many women and children have been killed, maimed and traumatised. I do not understand how this can be explained. In my heart I cannot find an excuse that says it is what needed to happen. I cannot justify it. And then, I also wonder about how else this could all have played out *in the current situation*. I honestly do not know what other options Israel had to stop the rocket fire. Which is not a small detail. And so when my heart is aching for the unbeleivable suffering that is the daily reality of a people living not that far away from me, my head is trying to find another solution. How could this have been prevented.

And my answers take me back…. essentially back through the whole modern history of Israel and the struggle of the Palestinian People. Pretty much at each and every juncture where decisions were made, the conservative decsision was made, a decision that held no promise for peace.

And, as critical as I am of Israel, and as much as I demand of my husband to entertain leaving Israel – I have become Israeli in this conflict. An outcome I never would have imagined. The trauma and suffering of the people of Israel has ceased to be a detail for me. It is part of my story. And yet, I still feel able to critisize Israel and the IDF. I still erupt into spewing rage when I see injustice. I just no longer see it happening in a vacuum and I no longer fall into the trap of thinking if only Israel would stop it would all be better. If I follow that line of thought, it takes me down a road that could easily mean the end of Israel. Just as I am sure that if Israel continues down the current path – it will in the end not be sustainable and essentially threaten the very existance of Israel.

I have found myself falling into a specific group of people that critisize some of the actions of Israel.

It is a completely different protest when someone critisezes Israel, knowing the Jewish story and identifying with the Jewish story. When Gideon Levy critisizes Israel, he does so in context. When someone who lives outside of Israel and is not familiar with the broad and deep history cries ‘genocide’ – it freaks me out a little. I am not sure where that person is going with their desperate cry. Do they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, or does their cry come from a place of wishing Israel did not exist? It is not always possible to tell.

During this most horrific assault on the people of Gaza, I found myself wondering who was to blame. Could the blame be laid squarely at the feet of the IDF? When it is the ammunition of the IDF killing and maiming, and the technology of the IDF terrorising, can it be said that 100% of the blame lies with the IDF? I am not convinced. Obviously this would not be happening if the IDF were not there, but when the IDF is targeting Hamas and Hamas is deeply embedded in the civilian population, does Hamas not bear some responsibility for the death and destruction? What would I do as a mother if Hamas was launching rockets from near my home and I knew the IDF would retalliate? I think I would be spitting mad at both of them and terrified for my life and the life of my family and loved ones. I would feel so trapped, so angry, so desperate, so beyond hope. I would feel like the most unlucky person in the world. No one to defend me or mine.

In all this conflict I have to hope that somehow the international community will take it all a bit more seriously and take it upon themselves to put a stop to the violent bloodshed from both sides. I have to hope that both people can learn to see the humanity of the other and stop painting each other as the enemy. I am devasted that 92% of Israelis see what has happened as justified. This is not a topic of discussion for most people I know as I just cannot bear to hear the justification and moralising. The people in Gaza are human beings too, not some faceless enemy.

I hope that the Israelis see what has happened there and face what has been done. I am not too optimistic – but I am hopeful. I wish with all my heart that Jewish Israelis would stand up and say “not in my name”.

An honest critique is needed. And honest look at what happened. Not just the praise of a job well done. Although somehow critising Israel and the IDF became antisemitic and traitorous.


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My mind is swirling. There is so much going on and I just do not have the time or energy to keep up with it all.

I have been looking into some of the foundations of Epidemiology and the assumptions that have been made. I have not got all my ideas into a coherent structure yet – it is fascinating to see how certain assumptions are made. Modern Medicine has by no means thrown off the shackles of assumption and belief.

And of course there is the pressing situation in Gaza right now as I write. This has my head swirling in a BIG way. I do not think “Hamas bad – need to kill them” but neither do I think “Israel bad – need to kill them”. I just find that I do not know enough.

For me it is enough that there are mothers and children who are being used as pawns and who suffer. On both sides of the border. It breaks my heart that *any* child has to listen to war planes bombing.

And yet the context is so much broader than that. But I do not feel I have the tools to understand that context.

One the one hand you have rockets being fired into a civilian population for 8 years almost every day. Not many people have been killed or injured (relatively) – but that is 8 years of mothers and children suffering – whole families suffering.

And then you have a whole population deprived of basic commodities and now being bombed with civilian casualties. This population shares a land border with Israel and Egypt and has a coast line. I do not see much pressure on Egypt to assist. Why are women and children not being smuggled out? I do not have all the history and facts at my fingertips… but I am sure the answer is not an easy one as to why Egypt is keeping the border firmly closed.

And Hamas itself. I do not profess to understand Hamas. I am struck by the extreme position with regard to never making peace with Israel and driving the Jewish People out of Palestine in it’s entirety. This is not feasible or realistic. Does each person living in Gaza wish for the destruction of Israel? After the last 40 years I am sure there are many who do. But at the expense of their own lives? I can understand very religious people and  people of strong conviction perhaps making this case – but what about the mother wanting to feed her family and protect her children? Does this mother dream of the destruction of Israel or a peace that she can live in and enjoy with her family?

I know I am not highly committed to the destruction of Hamas. I want a peaceful country to raise my family. But I guess that is not enough. If the Israeli politicians are right, I will never have that peace until Hamas changes their approach to Israel and accepts that Israel is here to stay. And likewise I guess the mother living in Gaza would probably tell me that until Israel allows her country to be autonomous, there will never be peace.

Now we just need the Nelson Mandela of the Middle East.

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