Aug 01, 2014 Gaza, and why I did not emigrate to Israel
In college, I had seriously considered the possibility of emigrating to Israel. I consider myself a dovish Zionist, committed to the human rights of all, and deeply averse to those Israeli Jews (many in Israel also are Arabs) who dehumanize Arabs, and deeply averse to the constant building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and in Gaza before Israel withdrew its citizens living in Gaza.
Thankfully, I never moved to Israel, which I visited for six weeks in 1979 and a week in 1982, with both visits making a deep impression on me. I was not ready to move to a country where settlement building was continuing in the West Bank and Gaza. I was not ready to deal with the much greater challenges there than in the United States to earn a good living. I was not ready to do mandatory reserve military service each year after doing mandatory long-term military service. I was not sure I wanted to have to learn Hebrew fluently to succeed in a career there.
I lost all the more faith in the Israeli army and government when I learned during the intifada in the late 1980’s that Israeli soldiers were intentionally beating rock throwers after they already had been detained.
Too many non-combatants are being killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, and this cannot be sufficiently explained by Israel’s claim that Hamas uses civilians as human shields. Israel has not only recently invaded Gaza, but also the West Bank soon before that, under the pretext in the West Bank of searching for the three Jewish teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank, with the Israeli government having had information in advance that the teenagers likely already were dead.
Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth, I understand. Even if Hamas wanted to stay away from civilians while fighting, I am not sure that enough open spaces are available for doing so.
Israel’s years-long blockade of Gaza by sea and land is destined to bring Hamas a steady flow of eager and fresh recruits. Those in the West Bank are not landlocked so long as neighboring Jordan lets them through its borders.
Hamas, dedicated to Israel’s destruction and long responsible for intentionally murdering civilians in Israel, has the upper hand in world public opinion while Israeli’s military kills children on beaches, civilians in a United Nations shelter, and the list goes on.
Tons of pages could be studied, written and discussed about how the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian conflict came into being, where the fault lies and how to resolve it. Certainly, not to know the complex history of the place makes it tougher to lay entire blame on one side versus the other, particularly where nothing there is as black and white as that. In the meantime, decades have passed, too much blood has been shed and misery wrought, and a lasting peaceful solution remains far away. A solution is not impossible, just as the Soviet Union collapsed when so many doubted the collapse would happen in their lifetimes. No solution will be reached without humanizing the people there and acting on that humanization. War and fighting push the humanizing path farther away. That is just for starters.