Gaza War–Thoughts of a Zionist Marching in an Anti-war Demonstration
These are the thoughts of a Zionist, an executive member of Meretz and of Peace Now, while marching in a demonstration organized by Hadash (the Communists)… I did not ask, “What am I doing here with this lot?” That question I had answered already during the Second Lebanon War. I did ask, “What is Israel doing?” How are we here, with still another war – the purpose of which is unclear – the results of which cannot move us even a centimeter closer to resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, or greater security for Israel? But worse still, how did we get to the point of moving into heavily populated residential areas with virtually no chance of distinguishing between armed and unarmed and no place for the innocent to flee? Of course Hamas was sending rocket after rocket into civilian areas of Israel, but what brought this reality about? Is it not the absence of any sign of real progress towards the end of the occupation? Is it not the continued stealing of land for settlements that forecloses options for a Palestinian state? Is it not the failure to release prisoners or loosen the yoke of the occupation? Is it not the rejection of the unity government, borne of the Mecca Agreement, and the engulfing of Gaza into a large prison – all of which brought an extremist group like Hamas to power, strengthening it, while weakening those Palestinians engaged in negotiations with Israel, urging peaceful resolution of the conflict? In fact, I believe the real source of the present path lies deeper, somewhere not only in our leadership but also in our own psyche – our continued view of ourselves as a beleaguered victim surrounded by hostile Arabs, even when the entire Arab world in the form of the Arab League has offered us peace and security, normalization and an end to the conflict. Our chauvinist sentiment, that, a show of force, once again, will somehow finally get across the lesson that we are not weak Diaspora Jews but “real men.” What is regaining our “deterrence capability” if not our bruised pride dictating still another show of force (maybe for domestic consumption as well)? But, isn’t it strange? Somehow, the lesson never seems to get learned. Collective punishment never seems to deter the other side from continuing its struggle, nor does it inspire rebellion against its leaders. Would we expect the citizens of Sderot, under fire, to opt to join the ranks of the PLO against an Israeli leadership that continues to quibble over every kilometer of withdrawal that might bring about a settlement of the historic conflict? Everyone including the IDF knows that there is no military solution either to the Kassams or to the conflict. The only answer is an end to the occupation and a peace agreement – something that Hamas will not give, but cannot resist if the PLO achieves it. What will bring about the demise of Hamas is not Israeli force, but a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel