As a child, I was indoctrinated by my relatives’ hatred for German and Russian occupiers of my country. Even after so many years, it is still difficult for me to treat Germans and Russians fairly. I am not happy about it, but I can hardly blame my grandparents for their life-long distrust for people who thoughtlessly killed many of their relatives and friends, and treated them to concentration camps and prisons.
Yet I am not burning German and Russian flags in the streets, I am not attacking German tourists or refusing entry to my shop to dogs and Russians. I am not teaching my children hatred, I am not wishing for them to be “martyred”, I am not shooting rockets and mortars at cities over the border, I am not randomly killing German or Russian hitch-hikers when I offer them a ride.
Shortly, I am not behaving like a Palestinian, and I am proud of it.
I know the overwhelming majority of Germans and Russians want to live quietly, peacefully and in friendship with their neighbours. I am absolutely sure most Israelis want the same. I believe that even most Palestinians very likely want the same, but… It’s always Palestinians who adore and glorify cowardly murderers, it’s Palestinians who even sacrifice their own kids to murder more Jews, it’s Palestinians who hide child murderers instead of turning them to police, it’s Palestinians who usually can’t overcome their fury at least for the length of a ceasefire, and it’s Palestinians who put other Palestinians in danger by firing rockets at civilians from near civilian houses and hospitals.
I feel great sorrow for every innocent man, woman or child needlessly killed. It is tragic no matter who the killer is (note that in Gaza, in many cases it’s Palestinians who kill, maim and torture their own people), yet to be fair I need to ask not only who pulled the trigger, but why. Lots of people seem to disagree that even Jews should be entitled to defend themselves, but for me it is clearly moral to defend oneself, one’s family and one’s country, and there must not be any limits for self-defense. As long as Palestinian rockets and mortars continue to pour down on civilians in Israeli cities, as long as tunnels designed to murder, kidnap and wreak chaos and fear amongst civilian population are built, the right of Israelis to defend themselves against such aggression with overwhelming force cannot be challenged.
It is commendable and admirable that Israelis try to warn civilians and avoid civilian losses even though they are not obliged to do so, fighting a guerilla intentionally hiding behind women and children. Giving people just enough time to run for their life may not seem much, but ask people at Sderot and other Israeli cities, who may have as little as 15 seconds to hide any time a Palestinian rocket is fired in their direction. They would surely appreciate that.
I do understand the Palestinian suffering, though. Their feelings are continuously being hurt, they feel inferior, they feel opressed, locked up in a life of life-threatening danger, they are losing relatives and friends to an enemy they despise and denigrate. I know they cannot live the happy lives I would wish for them all. I couldn’t live like that – under a clerical dictatorship that is killing and torturing its opponents, and whose need to create enemies and imaginary victories to secure popular support reminds me of Orwell’s Oceania. I couldn’t live in constant despair, crippling fear, without future, without joy and filled by hate.
Having lived in a totalitarian state myself, I really do understand – and abhor – the Palestinian suffering. I just cannot understand why anyone should blame Israel for it, when all of it is undoubtedly of their own making. Can anyone really be so simple-minded not to know? For over sixty years, instead of peacefully developing their own state, Palestinians have been attacking Israel and Israeli civilians at every opportunity. They have rejected land and peace offers many times. When in 2005, they were given another chance to prove they could live in peace, despite huge aid from around the world, they have elected Hamas in 2007 perfectly knowing the Hamas Charter.
Everyone is talking about the Peace Process, but Palestinians – as well as most lefties – seem to be genuinely ignorant of the meaning of the word. It’s not about getting everything at once. It describes a gradual, step by step, slow-paced development, within which all sides must show their ability to shed hatred, reject violence, build relations, business ties, improve their lives, and especially gain trust of all their former adversaries. Israel has proven it is capable of doing so, and has been living in peace with Egypt and Jordan for decades. It is now Palestinian turn to be constructive, if they really want peace.
If, on the other hand, they want to impose war, destruction and mayhem on other nations, they should not whine when war, destruction and mayhem comes to their homes. It’s hypocritical and childish to attack a neighbour and then complain when the neighbour fights back.
I have one, only one, advice for Palestinians. It’s simple, logical, and – trust me – truly life-changing: The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Offer friendship and understanding, you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll get it back. Don’t kill other people, if you do not want to be killed in return.