Thursday, July 10, 2014

Killing Them with Kindness

An Orthodox Jew embraces the bereaved Palestinian father (Flash 90 via VIN)
There have been no Jewish casualties in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas. Our prayers and our Hishtadlus are working. Despite a constant barrage of rockets fired at Israel over the last couple of weeks indiscriminately - not a single Jew has been killed or even seriously injured.  Israel’s Iron Dome defense is working quite well.

The same cannot be said for the Palestinians living in Gaza. They have had many people killed by Israel’s superior military force. All without one soldier setting foot in Gaza.

I feel sorry for the residents of Gaza. I really do. They are suffering greatly from the targeted strikes against Hamas who controls Gaza. Among those killed are innocent bystanders who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In one case - by admission of the Israeli government - 8 members of a Palestinian family were killed in error.

What bothers me is that when I see suffering Palestinians complaining about the situation they are in - is that they blame Israel for what is happening to them.  Israel is not at fault here. Israel is doing what it must to protect its citizens. When hundreds of rockets come raining down upon your people you have an obligation to stop it. Israel is doing that as humanely as possible. That some innocent people are being hurt in the process is unfortunately unavoidable.

I do not understand why the Palestinians of Gaza do not recognize the true source of their troubles. It is their own leadership. It is they who insist on killing innocent people with rockets. Their reason for the current barrage of attacks is the fact that Israel started arresting members of Hamas suspected of crimes. This was Israel’s reaction to their kidnapping of the 3 Israeli teens.

Hamas’s response to those arrests? Kill some Jews!

Their rocket launchers are everywhere in Gaza, spread out among the entire population. What do the citizens of Gaza expect will happen to them when their leaders attack a country with superior military capable of deadly force?  Do they expect Israel to just lie down and take it? What if the tables were turned and Israel were firing rockets indiscriminately into Gaza? Would they expect their leaders to just lay back and allow it to continue? Can’t they see what is really happening?

The images on TV are hard to watch. Palestinian mothers crying over a lost or injured husband or child; or the sight of a severely wounded and bloodied Palestinian child lying in a hospital bed with a Palestinian doctor next to him saying he has never seen such carnage in all his years of service in the hospital. This can easily evoke a sympathetic reaction by the viewer. Images of the suffering Palestinian at the hands of a mighty Israeli military whose people escape without a scratch imply to the world that Israel is to blame.  But that is a lie and I don’t think any rational person is buying it.

The blame for their troubles lies squarely on the shoulders of their own elected leadership, Hamas. If they want Israel to stop blowing up their buildings and inadvertently or mistakenly killing and maiming innocent people, they know exactly what to do. They should tell their leaders to end the rocket attacks once and for all. It is really as simple as doing that. If their leaders refuse… well if there was ever a time for a coup, this is it. Reasonable Palestinians must realize that. And they should have to courage to do something about it if they want to stop the death and destruction of their own people.

How sad it is that the hatred they feel for Israel surpasses the love of they have of own children. It didn’t have to be that way. When they took over Gaza, they could have made a decision to expend their energies on building up their country. Instead of building bigger and better rockets, they could have focused on the needs of their people. Instead of the near 50% unemployment rate, jobs could have been created by entrepreneurs with a mission to build up their country instead of a mission to destroy ours.

Had they decided to trade in their guns for butter… and sought friendly relations with their closest neighbor, Israel would have been the first in line to help them. Both financially and with its expertise. Imagine had Gaza  gone off on that track instead of the murderous one they are currently on-  chosen for them by Hamas.

Hamas has no real interest in making peace – even if Israel were to give up all of the West Bank and more. They want it all. Including Tel Aviv. Their complaints about the ‘occupation’ and ‘the settlements’ are just excuses to further their goal of making Eretz Yisroel Jundenrien. They want lebensraum for the population of their overcrowded city. They would be happy to fulfill the goal of the biblical Pharaoh who wanted to drive the Jewish people into the sea. They are true believers. They think God is on their side.

I’m not sure how this is all going to end. Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised to ‘take the gloves off’ and end these rocket attacks permanently. My guess is that he will not succeed. Gaza will find a way to rebuild its infrastructure and arsenal – even if Israel destroys all of it in its current action. Personally I don’t even think they are going to get that far. The international community won’t let them. They will somehow broker a cease fire… triumphantly claiming that lives were saved. They probably will have been - until the next time!

While all of this is quite depressing, there is a ray of hope filtering through all the clouds. There have been hundreds of Jews many of them Charedi paying condolence calls to the parents of Mohammed Abu Khudair, the slain Palestinian teenager who died a torturous death by fire at the hands of some psychopathic Jews.

This is the kind of image we need to see a lot more of. This is the image that we should be sending to the world. An image saying that we do not condone spilling the innocent blood of whether it is Jewish blood or not.  We cry out in pain and we see that happen. We commiserate with the parents who suffer at the horrific murder of their son.  The more images like this we project to the world, the more the truth about the Jewish people will be seen. 

We want to live in peace with our neighbors.  We need to ‘kill’ them with kindness until they realize that we are not the enemy. And never were. We are a kind and forgiving people who want peace with our neighbors so that we can both get on with our own lives in peace and without fear. I know that it’s possible with people of good will on both sides. But as long as there is a Hamas and their ilk in the world, it will never happen.