Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaza

"How do you feel about this whole thing?", asked the woman on the other side of the phone. "This whole thing being the operation in Gaza and "the woman on the other side of the phone" being someone in the UK that I know through work.

I thought about it for a minute. Poked around a bit in my brain to see what feelings might be lurking about. Ahhh...that is what I want. I grab it and present it to the woman on the other side of the phone, like a gift.

"Frustrated", I reply.

There is no other word.

Well, of course that is a bit of an exaggeration. There are plenty of other words. For example, there is "worry", as in:

"I am worried about our soldiers".

There is "shock", as in:

"I am shocked beyond measure that our government may have actually done something without completely fucking it up. Granted, it still may fuck it up, fucking things up being the one thing our leaders--of all of the political denominations--do so incredibly well. Nonetheless, one does have to admit that the element of surprise thing was well done. And that is shocking. "

(As an aside, I would love to say "קטן אליכם" to our fearless leaders...but sadly, that would not be all that accurate).

There is "guilt", as in:


"I feel guilty because my life is going along so normally, while half the country is living in bomb shelters. And there is not a whole lot I can do for them".

There is pride. There is anxiety. There is disgust. There is hope.

(Interestingly enough, there is no fear.)

But most of all, there is frustration. And that is what I offer up to the woman on the other side of the phone. There is the frustration involved in seeing the world’s reaction. What, because Hamas has either bad luck or lousy aim, the missiles they have been lobbing over for the last ten years do not count? There is the frustration in hearing that old, worn-out canard “disproportional response”. This is war, not a high-school judo match. Besides which, a proportional response would be to respond to each missile fired at us with an identical missile, sent with an equal level of concern for civilian populations. A proportional response would be to respond to each suicide bomber on a bus with an identical bomb (sans the bomber) on one of their buses. I could be wrong, but I suspect that such a policy would go over like a lead zeppelin at the UN.

There is the frustration in seeing the reactions of the left-wing and Arabs here in Israel. Where was your rage and where were your demonstrations when we were not attacking, and yet Hamas was sending missile after missile? You think that Hamas is so harmless? That their missiles are just homemade playthings? Put your money where your mouth is—go demonstrate in Sderot for a day or two.

There is the frustration in listening to a news report. Hamas has been broadcasting messages in Hebrew. “We are not afraid. We have lots of missiles”. Which they will continue to send from civilian areas. Because they prefer for more civilians to die. It makes for better propaganda. There is the frustration in reading the reports of bombs hidden in school grounds and mosques and of Hamas leaders sending their wives and children up to the roofs as human shields...and having that sick feeling that the far right may be on to something in its assertion that the language Arabs understand is force .

(Oh, please G-d, do not let it be so. If it is so, there will never be peace. )

There is the frustration in reading and hearing the world’s reaction…and knowing that the world is right. What is happening in Gaza is terrible. And there is the frustration of knowing that the world is right, but we are more right. The rockets have to stop. And really, the world does not give a rats’ ass about rockets falling on Sderot and the Negev.

There is the frustration involved in wishing, desperately, that there was another way…and not seeing one. Not when the other side is only interested in conflict.

The other day, I was witness to a conversation. Two men—both of whom did army service and still do miluim– were debating the merits of a ground operation. One held that it was the right thing to do. Go in, and get the job done. Even if the losses are high—it would be worth it. The other disagreed. Such high casualties…not worth it. The first man’s response: but is that not what an army is for? To fight?

He is right. And if we do not fight now, when will we fight? When the bombs start to hit Tel Aviv? This fight cannot be avoided, merely delayed. And why assume that a delay is in our interests?

(But then, I did not serve, and I have no one who did serve, so who am I to have an opinion either way? What is my opinion based on? This is also frustrating).

I am frustrated. I am angry. I am hopeful. I am worried. I am proud.

Most of all—and I do not say this to the woman on the other side of the phone— I am very, very sad.

19 comments:

cba said...

Gila, thanks so much for that post. Here's another article that your readers might also find enlightening. It's written by someone who lives about 5 miles from the border with Gaza.

Tali said...

The ground operation has began, and I am scared. Really scared.

I think about 18 years old soldiers, who are now entering the enemy's turf, wonder what they're thinking, and if they fear for their lives.

I keep praying that they all come back safe. I can't go to sleep. I keep wondering what will happen after I close my eyes, and I'm afraid to know what the headlines will be like tomorrow.

May our boys come back home safe, soon.

It's war time. May God be with us.

Shira Salamone said...

well said. i've linked 2 this post

pls pardon poor typing--2 broken wrists

Anonymous said...

You have no reason to feel "guilty" as you have "paid your dues" far more than most.

I am sure opportunities to help your fellow Israelis are going to present themselves.

I am glad though that this is probably the end of your "visit the enemy" dinners. They were kind of funny as you often did have the courage to "go off script" but in the end they were dangerous and too easy to be used by the enemy for propaganda purposes.

Maus said...

You know the poem Intifada Child written by Karen Alkalay-Gut, found it on her Diary.

Batya said...

You said it well. I'm happy to have some women from Nitzan and Netivot blogging on shiloh musings, because I'm just too cynical about the war.

snaggletoothie said...

Since Israel remains an occupying force in Gaza they have a responsibility to maintain order. So the 'disproportionality argument' does not apply.
http://fishwrangler.blogspot.com/2009/01/israel-gaza-international-law-and.html

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

1. The idiot commenter who wrote that Israel is an occupying force in Gaza is full of BS. Since the Disengagement, Israel has zero liability or responsibility for what goes on in Gaza. Repeat the same lie often enough and they believe it themselves. (Then again, they also blame the "juice" for everything)

2. Disproportional Response. Funny to hear anti-Israel sentiment from Great Britain. When they operated in Afghanistan, UK and US troops killed 30,000 Taliban, yet there were only 137 UK soldiers killed. Is that really fair? Perhaps they should have sacrificed more to make things "even" ?

Tzipporah said...

Thanks for putting it so well, Gila. I've decided to blog about everything as therapy, since I can't rant to anybody around me about it all - my husband just agrees with everything, and everyone else looks confused and uneasy, and tries to turn the conversation back to the weather.

Ugh.

Muqawima said...

"Put your money where your mouth is—go demonstrate in Sderot for a day or two."

I'm sure any Gazan would take you up on that in a heartbeat. What's a rocket or two when you can raise your kids without the fear of malnourishment, amputation, PTSD etc etc. ?

Gila said...

Muqawima--

How much does this Gazan want it? Does he want that enough to not vote for a party whose stated mission is the destruction of his neighbor? Does he want it enough to get up and make noise when said party chooses to devote all resources towards war instead of development? Does he want it enough to get out there and demonstrate and do whatever needs to be done to stop the endless rocket attacks on a neighboring country?

I do realize that the average Gazan cannot demonstrate--that he would probably pay for such demonstration with his life-branded as a collaborator. On the flip side, I also realize that the average Gazan (or at least a majority of them) voted for Hamas.

Either way, the government of Gaza has effectively declared war on Israel--bombing us on ongoing basis for years. This is what happens when you declare war. The other side fights back.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter how many crapy posts you publish, the truth is out there and the media is covering every single crime you commit. And for that the journalists are being murdered as well by the IDF! You are revealed as well as your massacres, so don’t even think that anyone would believe your lies ever again! Actually posting such garbage shows how low and dirty you can get!! Twisting facts and playing the role of the oppressed! How shameful! keep the bull sh!t flowing, it only shows the truth about you jerks!

Hamas is defending gazzans like no one ever did! For arabs and muslims women and children are the first to be protected and saved, so those really exposed to our culture would know that. Sadly, Palestinians don’t have the kind of shelters you have! You forced those people to evacuate their homes, you distributed the flyers and even when they did get out of their homes and took the UN school as a shelter, you didn’t save them your barbaric attacks and actually killed them!

When the statistics show that 50% of those being murdered and severely injured in Gaza are women and children, then that shows what kind of war you are raging! Ethnical cleansing it is! So the propaganda about you haunting the resistance fighters of hamas is all in the open now and you are so busted! Not to mention the hospitals, tens of ambulances and paramedics being attacked; and the tens of children and women locked up under their knocked down homes while your forces preventing medical care from reaching them!

Now, you even question the UN’s credibility although not much of an action has been taken against you! 18 months of blockade and gaza suffered severely! Starvation, lack medical supplies, no electricity and now this!!! how far would you go to get us out of our country you occupiers!! Let those who support israel host you at their land and we’ll all live in peace!!!

You have been raised by Nazis and you act just like them and even worse. After all, that’s all you know, destruction, killing people, and occupying a land that is not yours! You have always been a liability to the west (Europe) and they couldn’t wait to dump you on someone else’s back! And now we have to deal with you, you baby killers!

And finally, I bet any one of those who support this blog to prove or back up their claims with tangible evidences! Liars!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: Hamas is defending gazzans like no one ever did!

Yes, Hamas has done truly an outstanding job.

By Receiving Gaza on a silver platter from Israel when they disengaged and left, taking all the Jewish residents and army with them, lets see what was accomplished?

1. All the green houses left by the settlements were destroyed by rampaging mobs.

2. All the remaining synagogues were destroyed.

3. Hamas immediately started shelling Israel, which has continued for the past 3 years.

4. Hamas kidnapped an IDF soldier from Israel.

5. Hamas continued terror activity towards the IDF and Israeli civilians.

6. Hamas has smuggled thousands of weapons into Gaza.

7. Hamas uses school children, schools, hospitals, mosques and heavily populated locations to continue their rocket attacks on Israel.

Yes, Hamas certainly has done one hell of a job turning Gaza in the the finest places on Earth.

Anonymous said...

TO: Jameel @ The Muqata

Hamas didn’t receive gaza on a silver plate! Israel was forced out through resistance and after hamas turned gaza into burning hell for them! Correct your info please!


1. All the green houses left by the settlements were destroyed by ISRAELI FORCES!!!

2. All the remaining synagogues were destroyed… who needs them any ways! Why to waste the space!! It is a muslim and arab land and there is no need for those. (mind you israel, burnt al aqsa mosque and they plan to knock it down, they burnt theh ibrahimi mosque, and destroyed tens of other mosques whether in gaza or the west bank!)

3. for the past 3 years, and once they got elected through democratic elections, hamas only faced conspiracies by israel, the states, Egypt and the PLO! They didn’t initiate anything! Check Vanity Fair for more info!!

4. what was an IDF soldier doing on the gaza land??? Israel killed 850+ civilians and injured 3500+ and kidnapped hundreds in 14 days!!!

5. bull shit! Everything was ok until israel started the blockade!! You deprived them food and medicine and even electricity!.

6. they couldn’t smuggle food you airhead! How could they then smuggle weapons!!!

7. provide a reliable source! Israel attacks children, schools, hospitals, mosques and heavily populated locations as an act of ethnical cleansing and then throws it at hamas as a coverage for its crimes!!

Why didn’t you comment on my other points??? Didn’t you have any thing better to say!!

Anonymous said...

since israelis first stepped into palestine, they killed thousands, dislocated hundreds of thousands, destroyed all the civilization was there.. they simply occupied the palestinian land! so don't blame them for defending their existence!!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous:

Do I really have to debunk your stupidity point by point?

1. You rant: "All the green houses left by the settlements were destroyed by ISRAELI FORCES!!!"

Maybe you should take your blood pressure medicine, take a few deep breathes, and read this.

Just gist of it is: "In a revelation that surprised many here associated with the deal, it emerged this week the charitable foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates largely was responsible for transferring to the Palestinians the high-tech Jewish greenhouses of the Gaza Strip prior to Israel's evacuation of the area.

The greenhouses, passed in a private charity deal last summer, reportedly have been stripped and looted by Palestinian gangs and Palestinian security officers hired to protect the structures."


So I guess it wasn't all destroyed by the IDF...was it?

2. All the remaining synagogues were destroyed… who needs them any ways! Why to waste the space!!

There are currently many mosques in Israel today. Would you mind if I said "what a waste of space" and destroyed them?

3. They didn’t initiate anything!

Uh Huh. And Glad Shalit went to Gaza to sightsee? (and he's still there lounging around?)

4. what was an IDF soldier doing on the gaza land???

My dear anonymous, he wasn't on "gaza land" but outside of Gaza. Or do you consider of all Israel to be "Gaza land"? Even google earth doesn't define it that way.

5. Everything was ok until israel started the blockade!! You deprived them food and medicine and even electricity!.

Repeating the same lie over and over again doesn't make it true.

Israel only closed off the borders after Hamas continued to shoot rockets at us. Its a very simple formula -- stop shooting rockets, we'll keep the crossings open.

6. they couldn’t smuggle food you airhead! How could they then smuggle weapons!!!

Ah yes, I'm the airhead, but YOU'RE the one with erectile dysfunction.

See this Bloomberg article from
Dec 24rth
about all the smuggling tunnels -- which transported everything from Viagra to iPods, about $40 million dollars a month of stuff.

7. provide a reliable source!

Well, everything I've mentioned has been reported in all the news sources, from Reuters to AP, to the IDF spokesperson. So I guess there's no convincing some people.

I'm not going to continue this thread anymore, since you don't seem like the kind of person who responds well to facts.

Have a nice life!

Regards,

Jameel

Anonymous said...

Another round of looting struck the greenhouses in February when Fatah gunmen hired to protect the greenhouses abandoned their posts because they had not been paid. Witnesses reported some of the security guards themselves participated in the looting.
“The greenhouses, passed in a private charity deal last summer, reportedly have been stripped and looted by Palestinian gangs and Palestinian security officers hired to protect the structures."


LOOOOL you just proved that hamas had nothing to do with this!!! those are the PA & fatah gangsters you negotiate with who did it.. along with your people!!! LOL! Really smart of you! I think YOU just defeated your first point!! How ironic!!

SEE HOW ISRAEL CONTROLS THE MEDIA! >>> (Correction: Because of a reporting error, a Page One story Monday about greenhouses in former Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip stated that Israeli settlers sabotaged greenhouses before withdrawing from Gaza in August. The article should have said some settlers dismantled their own greenhouses before leaving, and that Palestinians looted some greenhouses after the Israelis withdrew.

The Israeli settlers of Gush Katif built greenhouses and experimented with new forms of agriculture. These greenhouses also provided employment for many hundred Gazan Palestinians. When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the Summer of 2005, the greenhouses were purchased with money raised by former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, and given to the Palestinian people to jump-start their economy. However, the effort faltered due to limited water supply, inability to export produce due to Israeli border restrictions, and corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinian companies have been repairing Greenhouses damaged and looted in the process of Israeli withdrawal.[69]



there are NO jews in gaza!! What the synagogues for??? you destroy mosques and you know it! You don’t allow muslims to pray! Your claims can be easily defeated! You did it all over the years! You killed people praying in mosques! remember Al Haram Massacre, You want to take al aqsa mosque down, you burnt it several times!! your history is your witness!!

again check the vanity fair report ;) Galid the pig is a soldier and let him take what he enrolled for! You on the other hand kill 100s of civilians and imprison 11000 others!!
And dear, there is nothing called israel! It is all Palestinian land and you stole it! Check history and you’d know! You were shipped like herds into Palestine!!

Tell that to your self!! What about the truce that you broke!! Hamas stopped the rockets but yet Palestinians starved!! You stop repeating the same lies over and over!

Thank you for the Bloomberg link! READ IT!!!!


Provide a source that says that hamas has fired rockets from the UN school or a hospital.. couldn’t you find one??

don’t call your twisted lies facts! This is an insult to the whole free world!!

you just want to kick us out from our own land, you invaded us, u killed us, u dislocated us.. and now u bluntly lie!! but never mind, the media world wide is broadcasting ur lies!!

>>"Have a nice life!"
drop dead!

Maus said...

This is a: politics-free, anti-semitism-free, anti-Israel-free,racist-free blog.
Please comment accordingly.

Profanity, on the other hand, is perfectly okay.

Seriously, the moment one introduces politics into the discussion, then half (that bad!?) the population automatically has a reason to think that "well, serves her right".

Cooperation (MA ????) is appreciated.