Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are We At War Yet?

Tonight air raid sirens have sounded throughout the south of Israel and even as far north as Jerusalem, although the Jerusalem sirens are now said to have been a false alarm.

Four weeks ago, three Jewish Israeli teenagers were abducted on their way home from school. They were killed almost immediately it turns out, although we weren't told that at the time. We were led to believe that there was hope of them coming back alive.

What did this false hope do? What was it for? How did it shape events? I have no answers, only questions...

1. The kindest theory is that the Israeli authorities did not want to give up hope on the strength of gunshots heard on the telephone call from one of the boys, followed by cheering from the abductors, before the phone was disconnected. A weak theory but still a theory.

2. Another, harsher, theory is that under the guise of searching for our boys we had carte blanche to go into Arab areas and arrest 500 suspected (or known - depending on who you hear it from) terrorists.

3. It certainly brought the Jewish world together in a unity unseen for many years. We prayed together, we lit candles, sang at midnight vigils, wrote blogs, signed petitions, wrote letters, we cried together, we tore our hearts out. Is this a unity that was manipulated in order for the necessary support if we decided to destroy Hamas once and for all?

4. Is this justified? If we go to war we have to win. If we lose one war there will be no more Israel and we will become millions of refugees or dead people, again. Though I feel manipulated I would certainly want any measures to be taken that would save all our lives.

5. Is going to war justified? If we do it's not because three boys were murdered. This tragic event could be the catalist but the war will be because of constant rocket attacks fired from Gaza onto civilians in Israel over the nine years since we pulled all Jewish presence out of there. (Though we had to withdraw, there was no choice.)

One week ago Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a 16yo Palestinian boy was abducted and murdered. Another senseless and tragic loss for his family and friends. I'm writing his name this time. (See this post from Sunday and the comments from Caz below.) We hoped that it was not a revenge attack but it was. Six Jewish Israelis were arrested and charged.

Am I crying and breaking my heart over Muhammad's death. No I'm not. I abhor it and feel sad and angry for him and his family in the way you feel for any senseless and brutal murder that you read about in the news. I did not 'know' him like I 'knew' Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal.

Rioting has erupted in Arab (Israeli and Palestinian) towns and villages throughout the country in protest. Millions of dollars of damage has been done that will take months to repair. vehicles have been stoned, more people, including more teenagers, have been hurt.

There are are number of Jewish responses to Muhammad's murder. They range from guilt ridden apologies to the Palestinians, to breast thumping in anguish over how Jews could be so brutal and callous, to racially listing the ways we are still morally superior and they are still animals, to anger at the f***ing stupidity of a revenge murder.

To the apologists I sympathise. There were also Palestinians who came to comfort the families of the three Jewish boys and there are many who yearn for peace as much as we do, who just want to live a quiet life in safety and prosperity.

To the breast thumpers I say, 'grow up. We have Jewish murderers and extremists too, have you never read the news?'

To the morally superior I don't know what to say. There is certainly a difference in the reactions of those on either side who seek publicity. And even then, it is usually a core of leaders who shape public reaction and a load of followers who, well, just follow. Though this is no excuse, some of the followers are very young, and I too have been a follower in my time. However, I wouldn't paint everyone with the same brush. We prayed together except for the six who went out and murdered a child. They celebrated the three Jewish murders except for the ones who came to cry with their grieving families. Maybe we can all unite against extremists everywhere? And also, there is a time and a place and this wasn't it.

To the angry, I am with you 100%.

To the six Jewish murderers I say, 'how is another young death going to change anything for anyone on either side? All you have done is bring the whole country down with you.' I'm not one to use foul language as a rule but I'll say it again, 'as well as being animals of the lowest order you are f***ing stupid morons who deserve the worst punishment there is.'

These are my personal thoughts on a Monday night in Jerusalem. I am not a politician, a journalist, a political analyst, an historian, a mover and shaker, or someone with any influence. I am one of the people just going with the flow because I have no choice and hoping for the best.


  1. I have been thinking of you all week, it's a desperate situation xx

    1. It is but we believe in miracles and atm we are the stronger side. In some ways I feel it's more desperate for the Gazan Palestinians who have been living under the control of Hamas for the past years.