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Monday, March 12, 2012

To Nader's Unborn Children

A short article in the blog "Sleepless in Gaza" is getting a lot of attention, as it is filled with pathos - and more than a few lies sprinkled in:

To my unborn children,

I know you probably won’t be there to read this. Maybe I would be dead before you see the light. Or rather, witness how very inhumane and so unjust this world has become. I’ll just write anyway, maybe at least your elder brother or sister witnesses all that and read this.

Ever since I came to Gaza, I’ve been dreaming of a better life. Peaceful and quiet. No explosions or blood. No injuries or martyrs. Nothing but a regular peaceful life each and every one of us would wish for.

In Gaza, everything is different. In Gaza, Israeli F16s substitute birds. In Gaza, we sleep on the continuous buzzing coming from the ever-existent drones. We wake up to find that there’s no electricity. In Gaza, explosions are the sunshine and the smell of ash is the scent of the city.

Electricity barely comes in Gaza, where it’s very dangerous to live in. Every moment you live is considered a new life because it’s very dangerous and Israelis bring their toys over to Gaza and play with us the hard way.

My beloved unborn children, being a Gazan means that you’re strong willed, courageous, and like no other. As you grow up, you’ll learn all about the different kinds of weapons and arms both allowed and internationally forbidden. What’s different in Gaza is that Israel doesn’t distinguish its targets. Meaning, they kill anything that moves with a smile. Frankly, they would kill us more than once if possible.

Growing up in Gaza isn’t easy. Growing up in Gaza is a challenge. A quest. And the reward is a strong courageous personality. So brave to the point that you’d stand in front of a tank with a bare chest and a rock. Daring it to move forward yelling ‘over my dead body’. More like mashed if you want to know.

Another thing you’ll gain as a Gazan is that you’ll be able to distinguish the sounds of whatever that kills. Be a M-16, AK-47, .50 Cal, Shells from the Israeli warships in the sea, warplanes in the sky, tank shells, and the list goes on forever. Living in Gaza is a challenge of patience. Only the strong and the brave can survive. By survive, I mean living yet another day of struggle and a million hardships a day.

Last but not least, don’t leave Palestine. It’s where you belong. It’s where everything counts and where whatever little will make a huge change. Don’t leave Palestine because it’s my motherland. Your motherland. Don’t leave Palestine because at the end of the day, it’s all you’ve got left. Don’t leave Palestine even if you’ll be living on olive oil and thyme all your life.

PS: tell your mother that I love her so much. Kiss her cheeks and forehead for me.

With all my love,
Papa.
The most outrageous lie is, of course, "Israel doesn’t distinguish its targets. Meaning, they kill anything that moves with a smile. Frankly, they would kill us more than once if possible." This sickening calumny inserted in an otherwise heart-rending piece turns this from what could have been brilliant into just another case of inciting hate against Israeli Jews.

But there is much to be said for the piece, as no one - not even a Zionist - can fail to be moved by the light of Gazans. The problem is that the anger is misplaced.

So, even though the truth has no chance of infiltrating the pitch-black hate that the Arab world has for Israel, here is a Zionist's letter to Nader's unborn children:

Dear children,

You don't know me. And there are many people who want to make sure that you never will know me.

Because there are many people - your leaders, your teachers, your journalists - who have much at stake in painting me and all Zionists as evil, genocidal murderers.

In 2005, after much agonizing and soul-searching, Israel decided to uproot hundreds of Jewish, Zionist families from Gaza. Gazans were chafing under Israeli rule, and Israelis there were living in fear of terror attacks from Gazans. While the Jewish residents who lived there did not want to go, the Israeli government - led by the most right-wing prime minister in Israeli history - decided to forcibly remove them. Perhaps you can appreciate how much it hurts to lose one's home.

The reason Israel decided to do this was simple: it was hoped that such a move would help bring peace to the region. Without the Israeli presence there, people thought that Gaza could turn into a Singapore on the Mediterranean. There would be no more reason for rocket attacks on Jewish communities. The Palestinians could build their own paradise.

Some wealthy American Zionists even paid millions of dollars to buy the greenhouses the Israelis were leaving behind, as a gift to help Gaza's economy and to help jump start the metamorphosis of the sector into an oasis of peace. No one wanted peace more that Israel, and no one sacrificed more for peace than Israel. The lies you are being fed in school - that Israel is an expansionist state dedicated to stealing land from Arabs - were shown to be false, because Israel left Gaza for only one reason: in the hopes of bringing peace to the region.

Things did not turn out that way.

Militant groups in Gaza continued to shoot rockets at Israel. Hamas ended up taking over the area, killing hundreds of fellow Palestinians in the process. An Israeli soldier was kidnapped and hidden in Gaza.

The leaders of Gaza - your leaders - never dismantled a single refugee camp. They imported thousands of weapons. They allied with Iran. They continued to threaten Israel and they continued to attack Israel.

You may not believe this, but no one would be happier with a peaceful Gaza than Israel would. No Zionist wants to see anyone in Gaza suffer. Nothing would thrill Zionists more than to see a Gaza where both sides can freely cross the border to buy goods or work without fear of being murdered by the other. The IDF does not kill innocent people on purpose - ever. No Israeli celebrates when innocents are, invariably, killed. And, as much as you are taught otherwise, Israel spends tens of millions of dollars to ensure that innocent civilians would not be hurt in Gaza when it defends itself.

Yes, Israel defends itself. And it will continue to do so. It is maddening that after the painful withdrawal from Gaza - a land that Jews have lived in, on and off, for over two thousand years - the peace that they yearned for  never came. On the contrary, the rocket attacks on innocent Negev communities increased. Israel is a sovereign nation and it will not tolerate attacks on its citizens. And you know quite well that the thousands of rockets that come from Gaza are aimed squarely at Israeli civilians. Israel will defend itself, and she will not apologize for it.

But she wishes she wouldn't have to.

Once upon a time, not long ago, there was the Erez Industrial Zone, where thousands of Gazans were employed and were able to support their families in dignity. It is no longer there, and the reason is because the terrorists that Gaza hosts and often celebrates would keep attacking it. The idea of co-existence and peace is not what Hamas or Islamic Jihad want.

Once upon a time, after the 2008-9 Gaza war - the war that your leaders started with a barrage of rockets similar to those seen this past weekend, in what they called Operation Oil Stain, a full three days before Israel attacked - Israel built a field hospital to help those injured in the war at Erez. Your leadership forbade anyone from coming and being helped.

Even today, while Israel is under fire - on the same day that your leaders shot mortars directly at the crossing where aid goes into Gaza - Israel did not close the crossing and sent hundreds of trucks over, because Israel does not want to hurt the innocent people of Gaza.

The only people who are aiming their weapons at civilians, on purpose, are the terrorists that your leaders are supporting. The only people who celebrate the deaths of innocent civilians are those on your side.

If you are willing to open your eyes, just a little, you will see what your leaders have done - that they have cynically hidden weapons in your mosques and neighbors' homes, that they have created an electricity crisis and power shortage because they are placing their own political goals above your welfare, that they have raised entire generations on hate rather than wishes for peace.

Israel wants peace, a real, lasting peace with all her neighbors. Your leaders have said, quite clearly and explicitly, that this is not what they want - they want to see the end of Israel.

So here we are. Do you want Gaza to become a Singapore or an Afghanistan? Whichever you choose, it will come true, sooner than you think. And if you choose the right one, your own children will never need to hear machine guns or rockets or warplanes and they will be able to grow up in peace and prosperity.

I wish you would get to know me. I don't hate you. And I would prefer to be friends.

Wishing you all long and peaceful lives where friendship can replace enmity and cooperation can replace hate,

A Zionist.