July 21, 2014
The other day, I saw a photograph of Israelis lining up beach chairs on a hillside. They were smiling as they anticipated watching the rockets being launched against Gaza. I understand that they were outraged at the loss of three innocent lives, but the loss of hundreds more innocent lives is something to cheer for? I was horrified, as I have been for the past 12 days watching the total disregard and far worse, the overflowing zeal for the loss of human life.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a vicious cycle that started before my lifetime, and unfortunately, will more than likely continue for years to come. I cannot begin to fully comprehend the quid pro quo behavior that has occurred on both sides for over sixty years. Protesting injustice or meting out justice should never include the murder of innocents. Violence is not in any religion, which is at the undercurrent of this conflict.
However, violence is a quicksand that sucks its participants in at rapid speed. Hence, the quid pro quo behavior. It actually becomes more of a competition in terms of who can be more brutal. Three Israeli teenagers are kidnapped and murdered. Then, one Palestinian teenager gets kidnapped, tortured, and burned alive. Both cases break my heart. Casualties in a brutal history that started long before they were born.
I don’t want to get too deep into the politics and the history here, but both sides claim a historical right to the land. However, if you legally purchase one bit of land that doesn’t give you the right to seize another piece of land, and then become righteously indignant when the people whose home you’ve invaded defend themselves. It is not beyond rationality to understand that they might get a little angry while doing it. Of course, violence is never the preferred course of action in defending oneself, but desperation leads to escalation.
Does Israel have the right to defend themselves? Of course. But Israeli artillery and firepower are far superior to Hamas’ rockets. It’s like an Army general who launches a rocket launcher from a Sherman tank against a cadet who is throwing firecrackers at him from an ice cream truck. The defense against Hamas is an assault on civilians with extreme prejudice to say the least.
I fail to understand that a residential building gets attacked because the Israeli military knows who is inside, but they don’t know four children are playing on a public beach? Over 400 Palestinians have been killed in this conflict. About 80% are civilians. A large number of those killed are children. In Israel, the death toll amounts to eighteen soldiers and two civilians. Loss of life is tragic no matter which side it is, but which side has the most might here?
My heart bleeds for the people of Palestine, not for Hamas or for the Israeli Defense Force. My heart bleeds for Israeli civilians who are caught in the crossfire also. How many more mothers have to bury their children before politicians on both sides put their egos aside and implement real peace?
Until next time…look behind and beyond the veil…
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer