Dodging Rockets in Ra’anana, but Thinking of Gaza

Dodging Rockets in Ra’anana, but Thinking of Gaza

One of us at PPI knew this writer when she lived in New York.  made aliya with her husband and twin babies about two years ago. She’s a science writer who contributes to Haaretz, Nature, National Geographic and Scientific American Mind, and writes a weekly online column, “On Science,” for The American Scholar. She began this personal piece in Haaretz, “Humans of Gaza, Humans of Tel Aviv,” by describing her dash to a bomb shelter, pulling her children from a double stroller as rockets fell in her neighborhood in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ra’anana; this in part is what she wrote:

. . .  I know that we are relatively safe here; My brother tells me I am more likely to be hurt in an earthquake than hit by a rocket.  . . . I know that the Israel Defense Forces has uncovered 66 entrances to 23 tunnels, some of which have been used by Hamas terrorists to infiltrate Israel.

At the same time, though, I think every day of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip who are at the mercy of Israeli bombardment; . . . of the bandaged and dying children lying in hospitals in Gaza and of the tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip fleeing to United Nations shelters.  . . .

I am not naïve and I am not oblivious: I know that those rockets coming in from Gaza are designed to kill me and my family.  . . .

I have heard all the arguments in favor of bombing the Gaza Strip: that Hamas is a terrorist organization; that it builds tunnels in order to infiltrate Israel and carry out terror attacks within Israel; that Israel has no partner for peace (we do: the Palestinian Authority); that they started the war. I have also read . . .  that Hamas uses people as “human shields,” sending them up to the roofs of buildings . . .  “pushing them to stand in front of bombs when they are warned beforehand by Israel” about an imminent air strike and told to evacuate.

. . .  I asked Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, whether there was any truth to this claim.

“There are statements by official Hamas spokesmen demanding that people remain in their homes instead of evacuating. However, we also spoke to several witnesses who said the main reason for not leaving their home was not Hamas’ public warning but rather their assessment that it would be more dangerous to leave than stay at home, and also the horrific conditions at the UNRWA centers,” Michaeli said, adding, “ . . . [I]f there was an attempt to prevent people from evacuating it is of course unlawful and utterly deplorable.”

. . .  [A]s B’Tselem and nine other human rights organizations have noted in a letter to the Attorney-General, “sending alerts or providing warnings to residents does not transform them, or their homes, into legitimate military targets, and does not exempt the army from its duty to avoid executing indiscriminate attacks in the area.”

I have no respect for religious extremists of any stripe, and certainly not for Hamas, . . . But as Sari Bashi, founder and former executive director of Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, said in an interview last week, “Gaza is not Hamas.”

We would do well to remember that. I want to remember that people in Gaza are human, just like me and my family. If I forget that, then I’ve lost part of my own humanity. I also know that the military solution is no solution, and that it will only lead to more bloodshed and hatred and war; and that the only way of ending this conflict is through a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians. The alternative is a bloody repeat of the same battle two years or five years or ten years hence: the periodic “mowing the lawn,” . . .

In my mind’s eye, I keep seeing myself running through the street with my children, the siren wailing, . . .   I know there are mothers in Gaza doing the same, . . . and that they probably have nowhere to go for shelter. I want to believe . . .  that there can be peace and equality and human rights and respect for both Israelis and Palestinians wherever they are.  Because I do not want my children to grow up to kill or be killed in a senseless war that has no end.

Click here for the entire article.

By | 2014-07-25T11:31:00-04:00 July 25th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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