Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What I did Last Weekend, Part V

At some point before I spoke, an older gentleman in a traditional headdress entered the house. I had no idea who he was, but everyone else seemed to. Quiet descended. One by one, he greeted each of us. It was only after he greeted me and moved on that I realized that everyone else was standing in respect as he shook their hands. Oh no. Not good. I leaned over to X and asked in a whisper: who is he? The answer: Jamal's father, and not just that, but apparently someone rather important. Who I had just (probably) offended. How utterly embarrassing, not to mention frightening. Did I really want to go around giving the proverbial finger to people who know people who could kill me? Later on, more out of dismay over my lack of manners than fear for my life, I made sure to apologize, and explain that I simply did not know the custom. The gentleman laughed it away.

Once I had finished speaking, the gentleman spoke. He talked of how his son, our host, had been seriously injured by Israeli soldiers during the Intifada—though I did not catch which one. The gentleman did not say in what context these injuries were sustained. Was his son an innocent bystander caught in the proverbial crossfire? A victim of some bored Israeli soldiers looking for action? Or perhaps he was caught with an explosive belt, lobbing rocks at soldiers or going after a soldier with a knife? I did not ask for details.

The gentleman finished his remarks with a wish that things will be more peaceful. Once he finished, the official, "let's all be friends" part of the evening came to an end and the gathering morphed into a normal dinner party complete with mingling and small talk. Jamal's wife and some of the other women retreated to the kitchen to put the finishing touches on dinner. The guests socialized. Some of them continued chatting while curled up in the comfortable couches in the living room. Everyone else converged on the on the patio in front of the house. Chairs were pulled into a circle and conversations flowed in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Jamal's children ran around. The older ones practiced their English on us and the younger ones, and in particular a beautiful seven year-old girl, enjoyed being the center of attention.

It is difficult for me to describe the atmosphere because I am not sure where the real atmosphere ends and my own opinion of such gatherings (my own mental atmosphere) begins. For instance, it is entirely possible that the others, who already knew each other rather well from previous events—including a week-long tour in Bosnia— were having a great time. But to me there was something contrived and forced about the evening. Everyone was on his best behavior. Everyone was smiling and laughing. Everyone was polite. It would be easy enough to give my feeling some sinister undertone—that I was sensing an undertone of hatred. But an alternative, and far more mundane, explanation is that the good cheer was real, resulting of people genuinely liking each other and enjoying each other's company, and that the negative vibes I was feeling stemmed to my dislike of large social gatherings in general, and in particular when said gathering is full of people I do not know. (I am the greatest of oddities—a Tel Avivit who avoids both bars and parties like the proverbial plague). Just because an event is politically correct is no reason for me to enjoy it.

Another reason for my confusion is that I may have been attributing my feelings to everyone else. It is possible that everyone else was sincere; I did feel as though I were acting. I bent over backwards to be polite. I smiled. I was agreeable. I complemented everyone on everything. I was diplomatic. I held the baby for a bit while he ate some yogurt, just to show that I am a nice person who likes children and that I hold no grudges against this cute little tyke. Well, I do like children and I do not hold grudges against the cute little tyke but still…where did the real me end and where did the politically correct, nervous, ill-at-ease, I-hope-they-do-not-kill-me me begin?

Your guess is as good as mine….

Eventually, our hostess called us in for dinner. Finally—something I can do! No need to say anything, just watch everyone else to pick up the accepted table manners and complement the hostess on the cooking, even if it is crap. Of course, the food was not crap, and in fact it was incredibly delicious and provided in huge quantities. After the dinner, playing the role of the perfect guest, I offered to help clean up. I went to the sink to do some dishes. I opened the tap. A slow trickle of water reluctantly plopped out. They had no water. The hostess, in a flurry, said something somewhat incomprehensible about the water running out.

My mind, which had been calming down during the relatively low-pressure eating segment of the evening, went back into overdrive. "Oh no—this can only mean that they are out of water because they are Arabs, in the West Bank and Oppressed and Occupied. Even now, the hostess is probably thinking 'you evil Zionist bitch…you always have water in your illegal settlement of Tel Aviv. Someday, we are going to kill you all and take your water and cappuccino! My children will ride your bike! We will spit on the ruins of Azrieli! Allah Akhbar!!!!!'"

Right—so maybe it was time to leave the kitchen. I smiled politely and beat a retreat to the living room. Suleiman, Gadi's Palestinian equivalent called over to me. We started to chat. Suleiman is very proud of the group; he and Gadi are putting a lot of time, effort and passion into building it. To be more accurate, he and Gadi are pretty much dedicating their lives and a good portion of their waking hours towards bringing peace and convincing both sides that there has got to be a better, non-violent, non-destructive way of living. (At least when it comes to Gadi, use of the word “obsession” would not be inappropriate”). Of course, I admire and respect them, even if I do not necessarily share their optimism. A case in point—the following exchange:

Suleiman: (Referring to the collection of 20 and 30-something men at the meal) You most of these guys spent a lot of time in Israeli jails.

Me: Yes, I know.

Suleiman: Now they are trying to find a better way. They want peace.

Me: (Touched) Yes, we all do.

Suleiman: (With obvious pride). Some of them were part of terrorist organizations. Some of them just decided to join up with us recently. Some of them, just last month. Before that, they were part of Hamas!

Me: Oh, well, isn't that nice! (to myself) Gosh, I hope they don't change their minds again about terror until after I go home.

At this point, I excused myself yet again. The only place left to go was outside. Someone had broken out nargila's and Jamal’s wife had brought out trays of fruit and cake and decanters of strong Turkish coffee. Ahhh…there was the American—Gershon Baskin. English speaking. Similar cultural background. Jewish. He was sitting with X. I sat down next to them. Here and there, X translated the jokes made in Arabic. I laughed—and she laughed at my laugh (apparently it is amusing).

For the most part though, I just watched the people. In light of my conversation with Sulieman. I paid close attention to the collection of 20- and 30-something men with new eyes. I was not particularly concerned that they would kill me right then and there. From what I understand, that would be a violation of the rules of hospitality and would create some serious bad blood on their side. Nonetheless, it was odd, and more than a little uncomfortable, to sit with people who would have been willing, able and perhaps trying to murder me a mere 30 days before and who might try to murder me in the future. Their faces were closed. I wondered what was going on behind their faces. Who were these men? How solid were their conversions? Were they really rehabilitated? What would it take to push them off the path, for them to give up on this non-violence nonsense and to return to bombs and knives and guns? Another invasion? A change in the local power structure? A failed peace process? A particularly convincing Pallywood production?

What did these closed-face men see when they looked at me? Before, when they were terrorists, they would have had no qualms about killing me. They would not have seen a nice person or person at all. They would not have seen me, Gila. Instead, they would have seen an Israeli and a Zionist and a Jew. They would have seen another point, another notch in the belt. A thing to kill.

Last night, I thought about the scene again. Another picture came into my mind—a scene from Shark Tale, in which sharks who have become vegetarian participate in an addiction counseling meeting, a'la AA. I could see these men, sitting around in a circle, trying to convince themselves that they did not hate Jews, that they did not want to kill us…that they just wanted to be friends and live in peace.

But then, what do I know? I have never been Palestinian. I have never been a terrorist. I have never been a reformed terrorist. I have never seen the world through Palestinian eyes.

Eventually, Gershom broke into my thoughts. He asked me how I liked my first visit to an Arab village.

Me: Really eye-opening. And they did not eat me. That is good.

Gershon: Yes, luckily enough for you, there was enough chicken. They decided to go with that instead.

He was, of course, joking. But then, it is much easier to be peaceful when there is chicken and fruit and enough for everyone.

38 comments:

asher said...

I'm glad that the suspense about the chicken has resolved itself.
Hope other issues will as well.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

FINALLY. You got to the chicken. :)

Is this the final installment or will you be describing the ride back to Tel Aviv?

Anonymous said...

Gadi and Suleiman really have their work cut out for them. It is interesting that only after they become victims they decide that maybe there is a better way.

How about a meeting between the residents of Sderot and those who are aiming the rockets at them on a daily basis.

Thanks for sharing your story, we see reports of the bombings but don't see the personal side of it.
Sharon (friend of Baila's from New York)

Gila said...

Ride back to Tel Aviv was pretty uneventful....

Gadi was not injured, actually.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the honesty. It would be so easy to write how you loved them and they loved you and everyone sang kum-ba-yah. (Not that I would have believed it.)
Reading this actually gives me hope. You and the newly reformed Hamas activists all went despite misgivings. Hopefully it was eye opening for everyone.

Chedva

TalTalK said...

Say hi to Suleiman for me - he was so sweet!

As for your laugh, yes, Gila, you have a really cute laugh. I tell you every time you laugh. It makes everyone smile.

(And people make fun of mine too, don't worry!)

Debra said...

"...it is much easier to be peaceful when there is chicken and fruit and enough for everyone."

I think you've said it all with this last comment.

Anonymous said...

Well the best that can be said about that experience is it is good that you don't have to go through it again.

It was certainly a travel through the looking glass, seeing the enemy from the other side of the line.

But at the end of the day it was pointless. Nothing changed. Was it really worth the lost of your life to do this? Probably not.

At the end of the day nothing really changed. You found out that bad guys have families. But then again you could have found that out by watching the Sopranos or the Godfather.

Yes, even bad guys can be gracious hosts. Even bad guys can be fun at parties. I know some of us want to believe that if someone is evil that means that every aspect of them must be evil. Perhaps it is easier for us to believe that way. But the truth is less clear. Bad guys can have good qualities just like good guys can have bad. But it doesn't change the fact that they are indeed bad. It just confuses people.

Anonymous said...

"...it is much easier to be peaceful when there is chicken and fruit and enough for everyone."

But when there isn't one has to choose sides. And most often it isn't really a choice but assigned by birth.

You found out the enemy is human. Well I could have told you that. But it is best not to focus on that truth. It is far better to think they are not human. After all your survival is at stake.

The Germans were human beings too. They had families, children, could be great hosts at dinners. But look at what they did to your People.

Don't let your humanity or there's stand in the way of your survival.

Ahuva said...

I really like the way you're describing what must have been an incredibly complex and confusing situation. It always amazes me how ready you are to reach outside your own comfort zone. I would have been paralyzed with fear.

I really hope this group is for real. I *want* it to be real and not some sort of fake propaganda. I want there to be some hope.

Steve said...

"A victim of some bored Israeli soldiers looking for action?"

I am actually shocked and offended that you would think that one of your People would hurt someone because he was "bored".

That isn't what Israelis do. Not even Israeli soldiers. If anything they are not quick enough on the trigger these days.

I know it isn't intentional but it does seem like some of the Palestinian propaganda has rubbed off on you.

Sometimes Israeli soldiers must engage in necessary cruelty, and sometimes due to the fog of conflict, accidents happen, people get caught in the crossfire,threats get misinterpreted but the Israelis never harm because they are "bored".

What kind of people do you think your fellow citizens are?

Gila said...

Yes, all of the stories that come out about abusive soldiers are lies and propoganda. Just like all the stories we hear about corrupt politicians and political parties are lies and propoganda. And all of the stories about violent left-wing demonstrations are lies and propoganda. And all the stories about attacks of Palestinians by settlers are lies and propoganda. And all of the stories of abuse and discrimination of the religious by "anti'im" are lies and propoganda. And all of the stories of violence and coercion in the relgious communities are lies and propoganda.

I do not know in what country you are living in, but I know where I am...or least where I want to be. In a country that often does well, but sometimes screws up...but that understands the concept "the buck stops here" and makes a serious effort to cure offenses without excuses and without trying to shirk responsibility.

I would say more, but the linked article says it better than I do.

http://www.shovrimshtika.org/article_e.asp?id=16

Baila said...

I like what anon 6:22 said:

"Don't let your humanity or theirs stand in the way of your survival."

For me this is the bottom line. I do believe that good Palestinians exist who want peace. Unfortunately, not enough of them, and they are not the ones in control.

I think this was a great, eye-opening experience for you, but for now at least, I don't think the group is going to amount to anything.

I wish I was wrong.

asher said...

there seems to be more than one "anonymous" here which is a bit confusing. One even signs her name, so that is a bit easier on me.
Will the real Anonymous please stand up?

I really think that you deserve full credit for taking part in all the events relaeted in all five parts of this trilogy (apologies to Douglas Adams)

asher said...

Not getting up when the "elder" walked in probably was a breach of ettiquette as well as what the bible says

<< Leviticus 19:32 >>


Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head and honour the face of the old man and fear thy G-d I am the L-RD

Thou shalt rise up
quwm (koom)
to rise (in various applications, literal, figurative, intensive and causative)


before
paniym (paw-neem')
the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.)

the hoary head
seybah (say-baw')
old age -- (be) gray (grey hoar,-y) hairs (head,-ed), old age.

and honour
hadar (haw-dar')
to swell up (literally or figuratively, active or passive); by implication, to favor or honour, be high or proud -- countenance, crooked place, glorious, honour, put forth.

the face
paniym (paw-neem')
the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.)

of the old man
zaqen (zaw-kane')
old -- aged, ancient (man), elder(-est), old (man, men and...women), senator

Nobody said...

The anon of 06.22 is Steve of 08.50.

RivkA with a capital A said...

It is true that accidents do happen, sometimes Arabs get hurt unintentionally, and sometimes a soldiers use excessive force (sometimes on purpose, sometimes due to an error of judgement).

That said, statistically, most Arabs who are injured by Israeli soldiers are involved, in one way or another, in some act against Israel.

Most Arabs who are wounded, are not simply "innocent" bystanders.

Sometimes it can be hard to imagine.

Once, when my child was hospitalized in the children's ward of a local hospital, I became friendly with the mother of a young Arab boy, around 10 years old.

We were both the same - concerned mothers of children.

Eventually, I learned that her son was in the hospital because he was wounded by Israeli soldiers.... while throwing rocks during a violent demonstration.

The mother seemed so nice. How could she have such a violent young son? How could this young boy already be my enemy?

My sympathy for the boy evaporated.

I do not have sympathy for a child who throws rocks, with the intent to hurt and destroy.

Rocks kill. Rocks maim.

There is a reason our parents
taught us not to throw stones.

That mother and I, we are not the same.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Gila,

I followed that link and found a lot of bombastic statements, with no documentation.

Why believe that article?

Such serious accusations must be backed up with documented evidence. If not, then, at best, those opinions are based upon annecdotal evidence, and not reliable. At worst, the author is inventing "facts" to suit his/her political agenda.

Gila said...

RivkA, thank you for proving my point about my point about the need for our country to start developing some moral background, acknowledgeing our faults, acknowledging our weaknesses (without any of this bullshit "but he did this") and fixing them.

Other readers--this is the problem. We see this phenomenon on both sides.

Each person accepts every story he or she reads which supports his/her position as the gospel truth. (Lack of evidence? No problem). Any story which contradicts his or her side, no matter what, is denied as bombast and propoganda. (There is evidence? Fake!)

This is how you end up with left-wingers furiously denying that Palestinians would ever use medical permits and ambulances for terror, despite testimony in respect to the same being given by soldiers and police officers. It is also how you end up with right-wingers furiously denying that reports of abuses by Israelis of Palestinians, despite testimony in respect to the same given by soldiers and police officers.

In short, each side will believe only what it wants to believe, and nothing, not even reality, not even testimony from men who served in the army, testimony from the police, from British diplomats who were attacked by settler, from Jewish farmers whose fields were burned, from eyewitnesses, will sway anyone from their view. Because,anyone who says something he or she does not want to hear is CLEARLY lying.

Folks, we are not going to get anywhere so long as we choose to be blind.

Oh, and another thing--we are responsible for our own behavior. We are not responsible for Arab/Palestinian behavior but we also cannot use them as an excuse.

I mean...we are claiming this land because we are Jews. So shouldn't we be acting like Jews?

RivkA with a capital A said...

Gila -- you missed my point.

My point: if you have a political position, you should be able to back it up by documented evidence.

The link you posted does not have even one link to evidence supporting his position.

I can back up my right-wing position, with countless articles from left-wing newspapers.

Gila said...

OOOOOOOOHHHHH, so you believe the left wing newspapers when they print stuff you want to hear (in support of the right wing) but not when they print stuff you don't want to hear (documenting settler abuses)?

Listen--we are going to have to agree to disagree. In any event, I will be in touch with you about setting up a weekend in Hebron so I can at least start to see for myself.

Anonymous said...

Say, just for the sake of argument, that occasionally, just occasionally an Israeli Soldier due to pressure goes crazy and just "shoots people for fun".

Why would you want to arrest such a soldier? Obviously you would want to give the soldier treatment just like if he lost an arm or a leg.

You need to show more respect towards the Israeli soldier. Even when he does wrong you need to show more respect for him. After all what he does he does for your sake.

That said, I do think such cases are exaggerated. And as for victims? When you see some kind of disturbance, some kind of ruckus do you commonly run towards or away from it?

Well, most of us run away from it. Those who run towards it makes a decision to become part of it. I could see myself running towards the disturbance but only if I supported what the ruckus was about.

Point is, if someone is in a position where he or she gets harmed, it is because he or she puts himself into such a position.

Of course I am referring to being harmed by Israeli soldiers. They, unlike the person who harmed you, don't disguise themselves and go to bus stops to do their killing. If you are harmed by an Israeli soldier, you put yourself into the area of conflict. Not vis versa

Sue said...

"Oh, and another thing--we are responsible for our own behavior. We are not responsible for Arab/Palestinian behavior but we also cannot use them as an excuse."

I honestly have no idea what you mean. My behavior is commonly dependent on the behavior of others.

Someone sells me some cookies, I give that person money. I wouldn't have given that person money had that person not sold me the cookies so my behavior was dependent upon the behavior of another and vis-versa.

So, one's behavior can be the reason, the excuse will you for the behavior of another.

And when it comes to survival your behavior must be as such to discourage the other from harming you.

Just remember that to survive you have to do things in that context that in other contexts might seem unimaginable.

Either you have to do it or by proxy have another do it on your behalf (ie. the Israeli solider you seem so quick to criticize).

Anonymous said...

"I mean...we are claiming this land because we are Jews. So shouldn't we be acting like Jews?"

I don't see how silently queuing up and boarding cattle cars is going to help anything.

Personally I think you should be acting like Israelis. You know the people who won the 1948–49 War, the 1956 War, the 1967 War (The Six-Day War) and the 1973–74 War (The Yom Kippur War) against all odds and with the active participation of G-d.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you have seen this yet but I thought this might interest you.

http://www.israellycool.com/2008/08/17/artistic-terrorist-photo-of-the-day/

Anonymous said...

"So shouldn't we be acting like Jews?"

The problem is THAT YOU ARE acting like Jews.

It reminds me of another blog I recently read.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/20642


Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, which starts filming momentarily, looks interesting:

Inglorious Bastards, in a nutshell, focuses on the escapades of eight Jewish-American soldiers who are parachuted behind enemy lines and ordered by their commanding officer to “git me 100 Nazi scalps”.

Of course, this would have to be made by a Gentile. A Jewish filmmaker would have the soldiers scalp some Nazis and then agonize over the moral implications of their actions for six hours, rather than getting on with the important business of scalping more Nazis.

Anonymous said...

"I don't approve of your methods"

"Well, you are not from Chicago".

I know there are more famous lines in that movie but that's my favorite because it summed up what that movie was about.

What movie am I talking about? The Untouchables, perhaps Kevin Costner's best movie, with of course an unforgettable performance by Sir Sean Connery.

Perhaps you have seen that movie before Gila, but you really need to see it, again. With a new eye. And pay particular attention to the first part. That's not just filer. That is the most important part of the movie that sets the stage for everything else.

In the first part of the movie a little crippled girl gets killed in a bombing during the violence that was going on in Chicago with Al Capone's illegal alcohol business.

And throughout the movie that was what it really was all about. The Elliott Ness of the movie (don't know about the real Elliott Ness) wasn't a real fan of prohibition but he rightly saw Al Capone as the cause of the type of violence going on at the time in Chicago that would cause the death of a poor crippled girl. That violence had to be stopped at all cost. And that is what he meant "you aren't from Chicago". You aren't from a city where a girl could die like that. If you were you would understand why such methods were necessary in this case.

I will not quote the most famous quote from the movie, although it is very, very relevant to Israel's current situation. I also implore you to pay close attention to the speech Costner's Ness character gives to the judge.

So, I really recommend that you rent the Untouchables on DvD Gila, and then after that go to the theater and watch The Dark Knight. Two movies made decades apart with the same message, for the truth never changes.

Oh, and pay particular attention to the story Alfred tells Bruce Wayne.

Especially the "punchline"!

Do you want to know how to beat the Joker, I mean do you really want to know?

...

Naked force has settled more issues in history than any other factor.

The contrary opinion "violence never solves anything" is wishful thinking at its worst.

People who forget that always pay...

They pay with their lives and their freedom.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if you are a fan of the original Star Trek but if you ever get a chance to watch the episode called "the Savage Curtain" I totally recommend it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708477/

http://www.memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/The_Savage_Curtain



Lincoln: One matter further, gentlemen. We fight on their level. With trickery, brutality, finality. We match their evil. I know, James. I was reputed to be a gentle man. But I was commander in chief during the four bloodiest years of my country's history. I gave orders that sent a hundred thousand men to their death. at the hands of their brothers. There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except its ending. And you are fighting for the lives of your crew.

-----

For Captain Kirk it was the lives of his crew. For Israel it is the survival of the Jewish people!

So, yeah, you need to "match their evil".

Or as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, "it is better to do evil than be evil".

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250264/

Anonymous said...

Elliott Ness, Abraham Lincoln, Batman, and Bonhoeffer himself all showed what Bonhoeffer meant when he said "it is better to do evil than be evil".

So stop with this stupid "Jewish Guilt" and fight for the right to survive!

For the other side really doesn't have the amount of guilt that you think they do about what they did to you!

Dave said...

I am taking a Marine Biology class and asked him if a Shark could, if it had to survive without fish but instead consume vegetation, could it in fact survive.

She laughed and said, No, the shark would die.

Sharks eat fish. That's the way it is.

Gila said...

"Say, just for the sake of argument, that occasionally, just occasionally an Israeli Soldier due to pressure goes crazy and just "shoots people for fun".

Why would you want to arrest such a soldier? Obviously you would want to give the soldier treatment just like if he lost an arm or a leg."

I could not agree more! In such an instance, the soldier has lost his moral compass. The proper treatment for such conditions called "prison". Admittedly, in certain cases, extended time in a psychiatric ward might be warranted and might be substituted for the prison time.

There is a difference between defending ourselves (including as per "the best defense is a strong offense" and protecting our borders and needless brutality "just because we can". There is a difference between protecting settlers, and allowing settlers to harrass and attack Palestinians, activists and diplomats without fear of recourse. For that matter, there is a difference between having the right to demonstrate and the right to free speech...and the right to demonstrate your views and to "speak" by lobbing rocks at the other side.

BBJ said...

Actually, the non-fish-eating sharks are in Finding Nemo.

"Fish are friends, not food."

Jerusalem Artichoke said...

"Say, just for the sake of argument, that occasionally, just occasionally an Israeli Soldier due to pressure goes crazy and just "shoots people for fun".

Why would you want to arrest such a soldier? Obviously you would want to give the soldier treatment just like if he lost an arm or a leg."

Why would I want to arrest a soldier like that? Because that soldier has broken the norms, rules, and by the way, laws that govern the IDF.

Not being able to see the criminality of such an act indicates to me that one has completely lost the moral compass.

Of course we love our sons and husbands, wives and daughters, and want so support them through their military service, but I'm shocked that the first reaction to such a scenario would be, "Poor baby."

How many people commenting have served in the IDF? How many have done reserve duty at a checkpoint or in Gaza? Shooting "just for fun" is an unlikely overstatement. Shootings out of boredom, frustration, or a situation spinning out of control are not.

Anonymous said...

How many people commenting have served in the IDF? How many have done reserve duty at a checkpoint or in Gaza?

I for one have never served and risked my life for the sake of my country.

This is somewhat something of shame for me.

I don't begin to presume to know the risks of combat or what the pressures of combat can do to the human psyche.

That is precisely why I am not willing to condemn someone who succumbs to such pressures. They put themselves in a position to experience the hardest pressures imaginable. No I take that back, the pressures are unimaginable for those of us who haven't "been there". And he did it for me. He did it for me and the rest of the citizens of my county.

And for then for me to condemn him for suffering a combat injury. A combat injury that might be not as visible as losing an arm or a leg, but a combat injury just as real, after he did this all this for me, that is the lowest of the low.

Treatment certainly. We owe it to him. But jail time - ABSOLUTELY NOT!

aliyah06 said...

I think we're a little off track, here. I don't believe a lot of anything I read in the MSM because everyone has an agenda. That said, if one reads enough, and checks enough sources, one can usually find something approximating the truth. Arabs aren't all hapless, helpless victims of Zionist racism; Jews aren't all steadfast, heroic, always-ethical-in-the-tight-spots chaluztim reclaiming an 'abandoned' land.

I think almost everyone is, on some level or another, afraid: afraid of war, afraid of peace, afraid of confrontation, afraid of compromise, afraid of extermination of people and/or culture.....and Hate feeds on Fear.

I've often wondered if we all just sat down and had dinner together (even lamb or waffles, if not chicken), could we make peace without our leaders and their various agendas?

Anonymous said...

If those people over at shovrim shtika did what they say they did, they should turn themselves in and stand trial. If they saw others doing those horrible things, they should report those others to the proper authorities.
I have read some of the testimonies, some in Hebrew, others in English. I remember reading things like - "despite the fact that our officers forbade it" or "in spite of the orders" we did this or that. Well then, shouldn't they pay for what they did? Apparently not, they should be rewarded by having their exploits glorified and by being allowed to tarnish the good name of Israeli soldiers. They should also be invited on speaking tours to America and Canada and allowed to besmirch Israel.
Is it fair to claim such horrible things on condition of anonymity?
(I know, I am anonymous as well, even though I have no horrible crimes to confess.)
I think Israeli society is mature enough and the judicial system is fair enough to deal with these unwanted phenomena. There is no glory in these individuals' anonymous confessions, just cowardice. They did what they should not have done, and others are paying the price, among them you yourself, Gila, along with people I personally know, who were murdered or severly wounded in suicide bombings. Because, believe it or not, they only help fan the flames of unwarranted violence directed against all Jews, not only Israelis. Or those connected with Israel. BTW, Arabs also fall victim to suicide bombings (not the perpetrator, obviously), innocent bystanders. Romanian guest workers were killed in the suicide bombings that followed the Oslo Accords, in 1996, if I'm not mistaken. Foreign students were hurt in the Mount-Scopus cafeteria bombing. But I'm digressing.
So you see, in my opinion the shovrim shtika lot are no glorious secret society working for the benefit of mankind, they are just a bunch of undisciplined soldiers who should at least be investigated as seriously as those involved in the various Naalin incidents.

Let me wish you refuah shlema u mehira, Gila.
Oh, contrary to what you might believe, I do not think a person's political orientation justifies terror.

yet another anonymous

Mo-ha-med said...

First visit to your blog and I started with this entry...

Wow. Confusing, unsettling, optimistic, even more confusing --
I love it!
Can't wait to explore the rest of the blog!

(on a sidenote: some of the comments here are completely off-kilter! Wow!!)

Gila said...

Off-kilter does not begin to desribe it. And you are only seeing the ones I did not delete....