Today is Thanksgiving back home in the USA ….. and I’m very thankful that there is a truce between Israel and Hamas.
Yesterday in Gaza we were glued to the radio (when there was no electricity) and TV (when we had electricity) watching the developments unfold. And by the end of the day we knew a ceasefire had been declared.
Last night there was celebratory gunfire in the streets. Palestinians are very happy, and I just heard an announcement over the loudspeaker from the Mosque declaring November 22 a holiday to celebrate their victory.
Netanyahu and Israeli leaders declared victory too. They said they met all of their objectives. Someone posted on Facebook that Netanyahu’s popularity has risen among voters in Israel because of his decisive action to stop the rockets from Israel. His reelection is probably in the bag.
I’m trying to digest what all of this means, but my initial thoughts (before I lose electricity) are that we have no winners. There is no real peace negotiated between the parties, and there is still an occupation. The conditions that make life unbearable for the Palestinians in Gaza exist this morning, just as they have for years. Lifting the siege may help, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the turmoil.
Israelis will live in fear of rockets raining down on Tel Aviv and the settlements in the West Bank. They have learned a lesson. Hamas is stronger than many previously thought and is not going to back down from a fight.
Palestinians in Gaza are feeling a measure of satisfaction that they are not a helpless, forgotten, weak people. The international community rallied behind them in a way that they didn’t see in the last war (Dec. ’08 – Jan. ’09).
I watched the local Al Aqsa television station and it reminded me of the American media during those “Shock and Awe” days when the embedded journalists were standing in front of the camera explaining this or that operation. The US government then, and Hamas now, have a vested interest in influencing public opinion to support the war effort.
The electricity may go off again in any minute and I want to post this quickly. More thoughts later. But lets remember all the dead —- mostly civilians (men, women and children) who paid with their lives for our failure to reach peace years ago. Is peace possible now? My initial opinion is that we’re no closer, and perhaps further apart, than I imagined a few short months ago.