Michael Shine: As I sit here at my keyboard, quietly awaiting the next ear-splitting sirens to sound, I contemplate the disappointing fact that most of what I write will be read by sympathisers to the Israeli side of the conflict sagely nodding their heads in agreement, and maybe by one or two who only know how to criticize Israel. Wouldn’t it be good if those living beyond the seas of the Middle East and reliant upon the media for their information could also hear some truth sometime!
How many times can I, and many far better writers than me, repeat what we know, absolutely know, is the historical truth about the founding of the State of Israel, the fact that the Arabs living in the middle East categorically refused to share the land with the Jews and the hate that has been poured at Israel and the Jews since that time (and before, of course). One needs only to read what was written by an eminent Rabbi over 25 years ago, to know that it is Jew hatred, classic Anti-Semitism, that has been one of the main causes of the lack of any peace agreement ever coming into play – and probably the reason why it may well never do so. (http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2014/07/16/a-message-from-rav-kahane-ztl-to-the-world-in-1988-he-sums-up-my-feelings-perectly-today/)
In recent days, world leaders from the USA, Germany, Italy, Serbia and even Egypt (and others), have categorically stated that Hamas’s actions indiscriminately firing 1000s of rockets into civilian areas of Israel are despicable, that Israel has a right to defend itself (can any right-minded person actually deny this? – Apparently quite a few do) whilst deploring the casualties amongst the ‘innocent civilians’ of Gaza. There have been lots of numbers thrown out. There have, to date, been over 200 casualties in Gaza, and speculation that 60%, or 80% or 30% were innocents. And how do they define innocence – maybe the casualties were not wearing uniforms (very few of the Hamas terrorists have a uniform), or that they were in a civilian building. Obviously any children killed or injured were tragic accidents, regretted by the vast majority in Israel. Israelis, unlike the vast majority of Palestinians, do not celebrate the death of innocents; one thing for certain, you will not see Israelis out in the streets handing out sweets to celebrate these tragic events.
So how does the average person distinguish between the terrorists… and the innocents? Are they really innocent? Who is really guilty? Or is there no innocence and guilt, just circumstance? I live in Israel, a democratic country that elected democratically its government. If I don’t like the government and its actions then it is my responsibility to endeavour to change it. If however, the majority of the population disagrees with me, then I have to suck it up and accept the decisions made by our rulers. Similarly the Gazan population (that’s right, the ones who give out sweets to celebrate tragedies such as 9/11 or the kidnapping and murder recently of three Israeli teenagers) voted in a terrorist organization, Hamas, to be their leaders.
Maybe I am naive, but if the Gazan population is really innocent, surely it is their responsibility to first rid themselves of Hamas? If they are not willing to make the effort to rid themselves of Hamas, then they, the people living in Gaza, must accept that they are paying the price for what is being done in their name. I am not trying to advocate the killing of innocents, far from it. I am hurt by the killing and wounding of innocents on both sides of this seemingly unending conflict but let us be clear about one thing. The Israeli air force makes every effort to try not to harm non-combatants; the Hamas terrorists do just the opposite.
Recently I have been repeatedly told by well meaning, clear thinking, rational and intelligent people that all peoples really want peace. All peoples want their children to grow up unharmed and to live, hopefully a better future than they have had. That war and killing are wrong, irrespective of the reasons for it. These rational people honestly believe that all people think as they do; only circumstances are different. If only that were true. Those who repeatedly say that all of the world’s contretemps could be sorted out by just speaking to each other would possibly be true – except for one thing. Not all peoples are rational. Not all peoples are peace loving. The world’s ‘Religion of Peace’, Islam, has 2.4 billion co-religionists. Many of them are peace loving and want nothing more than to live in peace with their neighbours. However a growing percentage of Muslims have become fundamentalist jihadists who obviously have misunderstood the writings in their own Holy Book, The Koran, and do not agree. What they want,(Hamas and the Moslem brotherhood included), deny it if you can, but current events throughout Europe, The Americas and the Middle East prove you wrong, is an Islamic Caliphate across the world. When the world finally understands this, and takes some sort of action to control and stop it, only then will there be a chance of peace in this tiny part of the middle-east called Israel.
By the way, apart from a few brief hours of cessation, agreed to by Israel for humanitarian purpose, the sirens have been continuous, all day, all over Israel (predominantly , as usual in the south).