A year after Israel’s murderous campaign against the Palestinians in Gaza, has anything really changed?
Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times writes (Aug. 6, 2015) that many Israelis are now engaged in a “national soul searching” exercise — not about the killing of 2,251 Palestinians in Gaza last summer (most of them civilians including 551 children).
Israelis are gathering to “dialogue” about the deaths of the Palestinian toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsheh, burned to death by an Israeli settler extremist in his West Bank home and the 16-year old Jewish girl, Shira Banki, fatally stabbed at a gay rights parade in Jerusalem.
Jews everywhere, and particularly Israelis, are fooling themselves or perhaps attempting to fool the rest of us, into believing that “things will improve” and “we’re learning from this recent violence” and “these atrocities will not be repeated.”
The mourners can pat themselves on the back and wave their “soul-searching dialogue” as a sign of their humanity in the face of evil. It changes nothing. Worse yet, it’s delusional and merely propaganda to soften the harsh, cruel realities that exist inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Real soul searching requires courage, and that’s exactly what 34 Israeli reserve soldiers displayed last summer when they sent this letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, refusing to “take part in the State’s actions against Palestinians”. They wrote:
Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier. (Read letter here.)
Real soul searching requires —
- courage and insight, not platitudes
- the ability to remove the blinders and see evil where before you saw valor
- empathy for others, not only for your own tribe
- truth-telling and the refusal to sugar-coat the atrocities
The CNN interviewed Avner Gvaryahu, a spokesman for Breaking the Silence, last summer following Operation Protective Edge. Listen to this 8 minute video. This is true soul searching and the type of national dialogue Israelis need to have! It’s not happening yet.
In publishing soldiers’ testimonies from Operation Protective Edge we set out to expose the public to the reality that took place in Gaza this last summer. According to CNN we succeeded in starting a conversation – and that’s definitely the first step.