Monday, July 21, 2014

We Are At War & I Am Proud To Be Israeli

I've not written for a week as the situation here has deteriorated and so has my mood.

On a personal level I have a traumatised child here. I hesitate to even write this as families on the border with Gaza have been running from rocket attacks for the past 14 years. We have had 3 air raid sirens and coped with them admirably. However, I am not in control of what the other kids say at kindergarten. The kids with older brothers and sisters who have friends with even older brothers and sisters.... and so things trickle down to even the little ones.

DD, who was already sleeping in my bed, will not now go to sleep in the bedroom if I am not there. She wakes up in the night and tells me she's scared of the baddies but she won't tell me what exactly because, "it's too bad, I can't tell you." Twice this week she was supposed to go to a friend to play after day-camp and cried that she didn't want to go, so they brought her home instead. And the frequent questions about rockets, what they do, baddies, where they are, etc... For all my lighthearted carry on attitude events have not gone unnoticed.

I am no longer concerned about our own safety. Rockets to Jerusalem were obviously not cost effective and seem to have stopped (although they're still raining down all over the south and centre of the country). Now it is a far worse situation. We had hoped to avoid a ground invasion at all costs but after 3 cease fires where we cease and Hamas fires, terror tunnels found as far as 1.5km into Israel and even under a kibbutz dining hall, rockets found hidden in an UNWRA school which UNWRA handed back to Hamas, and Gazan citizens told to ignore Israel's warnings that they send before firing (we want to destroy weapon stores not kill people), there was no other choice.

So now our boys and our men, my students, my friends' sons, brothers, and husbands, fathers, colleagues, neighbours, are risking their lives for our safety. Over 20 families have so far been plunged into despair. I was too frightened to call one of my friends last night as 13 soldiers from her new son-in-law's brigade were killed yesterday.

This is a war against Hamas, a recognised terrorist organisation funded by Iran and no less dangerous than Al Quaeda funded by Iraq. When America was brought to its knees on 9/11 and London was attacked on 7/7 four years later, America, Britain, France and Germany invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. That was approximately 3,052 civilians killed in the US and UK. Since then:

Between 2001-2014, some 21,000 to 23,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan.

Between 2001-2014, 20,000 to 30,000 civilians were killed in Pakistan.

Between 2001-2014, 133,000 to 147,000 civilians were killed in Iraq.

All these civilians were killed by U.S., French, British and German forces.

data from http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-israel-could-do-more-to-prevent-civilian-deaths/2014/07/18/


So don't talk to me about disproportionate retaliation.

I read this in a DailyMail comment (serves me right for going there): "Hamas rockets don't actually hurt anyone." - They are metal missiles with sharp edges, about 1m long and packed with explosives. What do you mean they don't hurt?! Over 1,500 of these have been fired into Israel in the past three weeks.

About the poor Palestinians. I'm not being facetious. They are poor indeed. When Israel pulled out of Gaza 9 years ago, we left working agricultural farms and were offering to provide training for their continuation. We left hotels, houses, factories. All this, along with billions in financial aid from Europe and the US, could have gone toward building a Palestinian utopia. Instead everything was destroyed. They have a long Mediterranean coastline - beaches for tourism (look at Sharm El Sheik for example), a port for exports (Israel did not start sanctions on shipping from Gaza until it was used to import weapons for destroying Israel), a delsalination plant could have been built so that water shortages will never be an issue. There was money for all this and more to spare. It was all used by Hamas to buy weapons of destruction.

The Gaza-Egyptian border is permanently closed because Egypt is scared of Hamas. No one mentions the Egyptian border when Israel is accused of locking the Gazans in. This is doubly ironic when Israel sends daily supplies of food and medicine across the border and Gazans cross into Israel for work and medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

Now their homes, schools and hospitals are being used to store these weapons. Hamas knows it cannot win a weapons war against Israel with their unpredictable rockets, over 100 of which have fallen inside Gaza itself, but it can win the PR war if only thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians are killed. It was a coup for them when their own rockets destroyed the main electrical cables into Gaza - 70,000 civilians without electricity. The UN wasted no time announcing an impending humanitarian distaster. However, Israel fixed the cables so that we could continue supplying free electricity. Yes the Palestinians in Gaza are poor indeed.

We are fighting against terrorists and make no mistake, if they are allowed to continue operating they are not going to stop at destroying Israel. Israel is an easy target - it is a western outpost in the midst of hostile neighbours (some less hostile and we do 'enjoy' a cold peace with Jordan and Egypt, though not any actual support), it is small, and the world has a tendency to hate Jews and want to annihilate them every few hundred years.

9/11 and 7/7 followed by years of quagmire war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, should have taught the West who the baddies are. But still there are larger rallies protesting against Israel defending itself (and ultimately everyone) than there are rallies against the atrocities in Syria or Nigeria.

I started to get upset by the ignorance of many internet users, even though I have had wonderfully supportive and kind messages from my blogging friends. I watched incredulously as British politicians bashed Israel - where were they on 7/7/2005? I don't begin to understand the motives of non-Moslem moderates who in every other area of their lives enjoy the fruits of Israeli innovation and technology - laptops, mobile phones, medical innovations, kindles... watch the video below and see if you can realistically boycott Israel.

I started to get upset but then I rose above it. I am proud to be Israeli. I will continue to try to educate those who don't get it and pray that their ignorance does not in the end allow us all to be destroyed.


22 comments:

  1. Well said. Very, very well said.

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  2. For the most part unmitigated BS I think, but frankly I'm too weary of this parade of self-justifying half truths and lies being trotted out by 'poor us. we are being victimised by the Palestinians' to summon up the energy to contest it point by point.
    I'm Brit too, so the idea that you emigrated to Israel fully knowing how dangerous that was and the likely responses to the continued occupation by Israel of a subject people doesn't fill me with sympathy that it now causes you anxiety.

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  3. Anonymous....I see you're not even brave enough to put a name to your totally wrong comment......Not surprised really......ho hum!!

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  4. Excellent piece.

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  5. Thank you Rachel for an outstanding piece. Here's to peace...

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  6. I wonder if you have different access to news than we do here? And of course we all choose what we read to some extent...we discussed before a little the way you distinguished between Isreali deaths and Palestinian deaths in a way that makes me wonder how such things are reported....as of 3 hours ago there have been 548 civilian deaths in Palestine in this conflict - that's children and families in their homes, in their hospitals and playing on those lovely beaches you refer to. 25 members of one family. Many, many children and many, many mothers, as well as those sons and fathers you talk about. Not invading soldiers, families in their homes. Maybe that's the information that is giving your daughter nightmares? It is me. And as I said before, and it still sincerely stands...what do I know, I'm not there, I read this blog through choice because I am interested in the perspective of somebody in your situation etc etc but...but...I also read it because it gives a human perspective on a complex situation, and I am worried the humanity is getting lost.

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    1. I made a decision not to reply to comments on this post as I've said everything I want to say in the post itself. However, I feel your valid questions warrant a reply.
      We are aware and desperately sorry about the civilian deaths of Palestinians in Gaza, as opposed to Hamas deaths which tbh, I don't care about. We have avoided this level of retaliation for 9 years precisely because there is no way of stopping Hamas without a large number of civilian casualties. We have brokered cease fire after cease fire (3 in the past week alone) where we stop fighting and Hamas use the time to recoup and restock their weapons, and still fire rockets into Israel.
      Hamas expected Tel Aviv to be destroyed by now - they had not counted on the success of the Iron Dome. There are a network of terror tunnels whereby they infiltrate residential areas with a mind to kidnapping, bombing, and killing as many Israelis as possible. This is not a war against a band of amateurs with few defenses. This is a highly organised operation funded by Iran to destroy our country. They don't have military defences like we do but hey defend themselves by hiding behind and among the civilian population. Btw - the heads of Hamas are safely in bunkers underground and do not risk their own lives.
      If there were any other way of defending ourselves we would do this. No one has come up with a viable alternative. Look at every other war since battles took to the skies and see if any of them didn't kill vast numbers of innocent civilians. It is a tragic fact of war and that's why war stinks.
      Israel has done more to minimize civilian casualties than ever other army ever - we give warnings before firing so that people can evacuate, we have set up a field hospital on the border to treat Palestinian casualties, we target only known weapon stores or known Hamas militants, we have agreed to 3 cease fires so far and have not fired until fired upon. No other country at war had done that much for the civilians of the other side ever in history.
      What would you suggest we do instead of this war?

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    2. Firstly, thank you so much for responding - I appreciate it, really. And, as I've said I don't have your understanding and we all choose what we read and believe, but...as for an alternative to war, I understand that there has been consistent Palestinian support for a two state solution, but that the continued extensions of settlements by Israel mean that Palestinians access to land and resources have made this unsustainable. The tunnels, the rockets - it seems to me that Palestine is acting as you might expect an occupied state to act. And Iran finance Hammas; America finance Israel...Iran and America both have their own moral and financial agendas. Is one absolutely right and one wrong?
      I hope you and your daughter are safe. I hope this ends soon.

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    3. We have a working relationship with Palestinians in the West bank and there is continued cooperation and expansion of Palestinian interests. There is much work to be done but we are obviously not going to just pull out because of our experience with Gaza. Hamas are not Palestinians and do not have Palestinian interests at heart. A Gaza run by Palestinians could become a thriving and prosperous place to live - we all want that and we have always been prepared to help that happen. Gaza want only to destroy Israel and will destroy any quality of life for the Palestinians while thery're at it. We have not had any presence in Gaza for 9 years so it's not occupied is it?

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    4. *Hamas want only to destroy Israel.... (not Gaza)

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    5. Caz, I decided not to publish your comment from yesterday as it will only lead to more backwards and forwards about who is right and who is wrong. My opinion about this war is that Hamas are wrong, Israel is right, and there are many innocent (or less innocent) civilians on both sides caught in the middle. I know you think differently but I don't need to publish what you've heard here as we can see this opinion all over the media. I will continue to write a personal account of the war as I see, feel, and understand it. I am happy to answer your questions but an ongoing defense of my country would be pointless here and boring and no one else would read it anyway. If you want more on this I suggest you log into The Times of Israel.

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    6. Fair enough, you've been very patient. I don't think I was trying to prove one point wrong or right, just trying to understand the justifications....I look forward to future posts. Take care.

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  7. Thinking of you and hope that this can be sorted out quickly, C xx

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  8. I have been thinking about you and your daughter all week and wondering how you were doing. It is not a good situation for anyone. I have to be honest and say that my over all sympathies would be with Palestine although I despise how they store their weapons. But your posts give me a whole new perspective and I welcome the opportunity to open my mind. I have resisted in commenting or joining in with social media threads as the reported news can always be disjointed, or slanted. I was annoyed that Hamas broke the ceasefire brokered by Egypt .... but then it was reported that they ignored it because they weren't included in the talks about it. The loss of lives on both sides is wholly regrettable.... wiping out whole families is truly awful, wherever arms are stored. I don't know the answer I just hope it all ends soon, for both sides.

    Keep safe my friend xxxx

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    1. I appreciate your honesty Jazzy and thank you for your good wishes. As of today everything has changed and I'm debating whether to blog about it. I was thinking that I've overstepped my brief and should get back to some parenting stuff before I alienate everbody. But on the other hand maybe I'm committed to follow this though. I expect I'll blog about it.

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  9. I had to pop back over to ensure \i hadn't upset you with my comment.
    It's your blog and you are living in the middle of this, we are not! I do think things have changed with yesterday's bombing alright. Still hoping that a workable ceasefire can be found to stop this fighting... stay safe :-) xx

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    1. Don't worry, I know that any comment from you comes with love and sincerity. I don't think a ceasefire is an option until all the tunnels under Israel have been destroyed. With the discovery of the tunnels and the plans Hamas had for them, this isn't about just the rockets any more. I will blog about it probably but I'm waiting until I have proper information. Atm there are a lot of rumours and 'stories' filtering down but nothing official.

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  10. I cant believe this is basically all coming from religion, all of those poor children, you mention civilians in your posts but we are talking children and babies exactly like your child except with different coloured skin, maimed for life, emotionally scarred and DEAD, You should know that the media are not on sides and are showing us what you as a country are doing to those poor people.That is not a religion that I would like to be any part of and I think to comment on your blog that you don't care says a lot about you and your fellow Israelis. I thought you were meant to be Christian, God loving people.You seem to blame the Palestinians for uprising against Israel but lets face it, would you like to live in the slums and the squalor of the Gaza that you booted them out too, at the end of the war and then continued to rule and lord over them with an iron fist for decades. This war and what it stands for strangely smells a bit like what Mr H did to the jewish during the 2nd world war, this is the message coming across to many people by the media and television and is leaving people angry at your nation after all the support that millions have given your people over the years

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    1. The Media may not be on sides (or they may be) but they are certainly NOT showing you what is really happening in Gaza. Journalists have reported on their return that they were bullied and threatened by Hamas when they tried to report any military action from the Gazan side.

      You history and your facts are all over the place. Arab children do not have different coloured skin from my daughter. I can't find anywhere where i say i don't care - probably because I absolutely do care. (Maybe you are referring to the bit where I say I have risen above getting upset by ignorant criticism?) I am absolutely not meant to be Christian in any way, shape or form. We do not blame the Palestinians as much as we blame Hamas who are finded by Iran and Qatar. Have you seen the shopping malls and country clubs in Gaza - the slums are no worse than slums anywhere and without war Gaza could become a Palestinian paradise. Most Gazan families have lived there for generations, we didn't boot them there. We have had no rule in Gaza for almost 10 years! Hitler killed 6 million Jews with a goal to kill all Jews because they awere Jews. Sadly about 500 Gazan civilians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza whilst targeting weapon stores. Your media and television are being bullied not to show the whole story. I hope I've answered all your inacuracies.

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  11. I am very ashamed to say that I know nothing about the war, politics or religion and the effect it has on those involved directly or indirectly which is why I've never commented on these important posts before. It's even worse given my proximity to you but having no English language news channels and coming to it so late to try and work out what is happening to who and why online is very difficult. I often think of you and your daughter though and hope you are ok.

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    1. Why should you know all the ins and outs of it. I have very little grasp of what is going on in Syria and Iraq atm and I'm so WARn out that I have no inclination to read up on it and find out. I also don't have English news which would be an easy way to have it explained to me. I completely understand and thank you for your kind thoughts. xx

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