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A sliver of hope

Even when our leaders engage in the type of demonization that educates our children to believe the other side isn’t even worthy of speaking to, they still see the value in talking — even while they kill each other. Some thoughts about Gaza.

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 4, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 4, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

By the time you read this there’s a pretty good chance a war will have broken out between Israel and any number of militant groups in Gaza. By the time I wrote this, too many people had already been killed. And yet it can stop. It must stop.

I’m not talking about the broader conflict. Clearly the siege must be lifted and the people of Gaza must be given the same freedoms, security, rights, and opportunities as every Israeli or anyone else in the world.

Today, it is the more immediate context of this killing that gives me a tiny sliver of hope to mitigate the immense sadness and anger that accompany seeing photos and videos of dead children, bombed out homes, guided missiles and unguided rockets flying toward homes, Israelis running to bomb shelters and Gazans just running because they have no shelters.

That hope comes from the fact that Israel and Hamas have been engaged in cease-fire talks for months now and that this shooting and killing — again, without forgetting the ever-present context of occupation and siege and humanitarian disaster — is the result of those talks breaking down.

That hope is drawn from the fact that Israel and Hamas are talking about not killing each other — even while they’re killing each other.

I can’t repeat enough that even a multi-year cease fire would not be enough. It would not absolve a single one of us from doing whatever we can to ensure that millions of people aren’t subject to collective punishment and the whims of foreign politicians and military commanders for access to potable water, electricity, food, medical supplies, and the right to move within one’s own country let alone travel abroad. It doesn’t absolve us of righting historic wrongs, seeking equitable solutions, and demanding security, equality, and full civil and human rights for all. It doesn’t mean we can pretend like there is anything remotely close to an equal distribution of responsibility for the situation, for all of the power lies in the hands of one side and one side alone.

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But it does mean that talking is still possible. It means that even when our leaders engage in the type of demonization of the other that educates our children to believe the other side isn’t even worthy of speaking to, they still see the value in talking. It means that there is at least a small sliver of hope for change that doesn’t involve another round of unthinkable violence.

That said, by the time you are reading this there’s a decent chance that war will have broken out, or will simply be a matter of time. And in that case, hope lies in our hands alone — in making sure the world hears our demands that the violence end, that the bombings and rockets stop, the fighter jets stay grounded, and that the people of Gaza be freed.

There is, of course, one more sliver of hope, perhaps the most cynical: that Israel doesn’t want the Eurovision competition to be marred or canceled by a war, and will therefore find a way to back down, at least for now. When bombs are falling, for now is enough.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Lewis from Afula

      Free Aza
      Free it from 7th Century Barbarians who hang Gays, butcher Apostates and oppress women.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        “Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It”

        This isn’t a conspiracy theory. Listen to former Israeli officials such as Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s. Segev later told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”)…“The Israeli government gave me a budget,” the retired brigadier general confessed, “and the military government gives to the mosques.”

        https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/hamas-israel-palestine-conflict/

        How about freeing the Palestinians from all Israeli meddling in their affairs?

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        You buddy Netanyahu doesn’t WANT to free Aza. That is the last thing he wants.

        Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen: “I have to say the truth: Netanyahu’s strategy is preventing the 2-state solution, and so he turned Hamas (the PA’s rival) into his closest partner. Outwardly, Hamas is the enemy, covertly it’s an ally.”

        Edo Konrad: Everything you’re told about Israel’s relationship with Hamas is wrong.

        Chemi Shalev: Gaza Flare-up Imperils Netanyahu’s Cynical Policy of Cohabitation With Hamas
        The prime minister’s ‘contain, maintain and complain’ approach is meant to undercut Palestinian statehood, even at the expense of Israeli security
        May 05, 2019 7:03 PM
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-gaza-flare-up-imperils-netanyahu-s-cynical-policy-of-cohabitation-with-hamas-1.7206683

        Reply to Comment

        Reply to Comment
    2. Israel (and every country) has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. Launching missiles at civilians isn’t the answer. This isn’t the first time Israel had to defend itself against attacks from Gaza. It’s been like this for the past 70 years. It’s been like this also 3000 years ago! check out “Israel History Maps” (available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946575984 ) which clearly describes 3000 Years of Geographic Chronology of Jewish Sovereignty in Israel. King David and King Saul before him had to go against the Philistines in Gaza! Only by having a strong and forceful response were they able to maintain peace and quiet.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “Israel (and every country) has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks.”

        This is a mere slogan, not “history.” Do the Palestinians have the right to resist occupation and creeping annexation?
        Why, if “defense” is really it’s concern, is Israel always, always going in, not coming out?

        Yehuda Shaul – Breaking the Silence – Seattle, Nov 14, 2013
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JxHE4KrLvj0

        For the central point, watch minutes 21:00-25:00. Israel tells itself and others it’s playing defense but it’s really playing offense. It always says it’s on the way out but it’s really always on the way in. Before 21:00 he describes Breaking the Silence’s purpose: to show Israelis: “This is what we in the military really do in your name.” From 25:00 on he describes what he means by “offense.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “…able to maintain peace and quiet.”

        Yes, of course. This is Bibi’s game. This is Israel’s game. Give us “peace and quiet” while we “manage the conflict” and take ever more land at your expense for fifty more years. “Be quiet about it so the Israeli Jewish populace can forget about you and sleep peacefully and watch TV and enjoy it’s leisure pursuits. And so the outside world will leave us alone. Occupation? What occupation?”

        “a strong and forceful response”

        This is double speak for incessant brutal subjugation, situation normal in the occupied territories.

        Israel always wants “peace and quiet” because the truth is it doesn’t want to listen and it only listens to violence. ALL forms of protest, violent and non-violent, are swiftly shut down, by all means violent and covert and overt. And when there is “quiet” the Israeli public quickly forgets what is being done in their name in the territories ==>

        By Noam Sheizaf | March 11, 2016
        Why do we only listen to violence?
        https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

        Reply to Comment
    3. Eduardo H Resnichenco

      How come you call yourself a reporter. Reporter is supposed to be neutral and not blindsided and ignorant as you are. Is not point to interact with you when the only thing you see is the Palestinian drama and DONT SEE PROVOCATIONS FROM PALESTINIANS, NO WILLING TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL RIGHT TO BE AND HAVE A CONSTRUCTIVE EXCHANGE OF IDEAS TO WORK TOGETHER AND IMPROVE TOGETHER. You dont see positive of Israel, just negatives. Well it is not worth to communicate with you if being stubborn as palestinians are, IS YOUR WAY TO DO JOURNALISM.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        I think you can clear up your bewilderment by reading the remarks of Hacohen, Konrad, and Shalev, posted above on 6th May, and educating yourself on the facts that undergird their remarks.

        Reply to Comment