Friday, February 8, 2008

Feelings About Recent Terrorist Attack

For some time I have been wanting to post my personal feelings about terrorism here in this part of the world. The recent bombing in Dimona, Israel really got me thinking about this more. If you haven't read the article about the attack by Palestinian terrorist you can read it here. My thoughts are going to kind of be all over with this topic.

Hamas Terrorists in Gaza with Suicide Bomb Belts

When I first heard about the Palestininan terrorist who blew himself up in Dimona, Israel on February 4th there were several emotions that I experienced. As a permanant Israeli citizen, the first was sadness for the Israeli woman that was killed, and the many wounded. The second emotion was anger at the Palestinian terrorists who committed the acts. The third emotion was the desir to do something, anything to fight current and future terrorist. Like many times before I wanted to go down to the local military base and volunteer again for military service.

Part of me also wished I was some kind of super hero who could dawn a uniform and by night hunt down the various terrorists. It is times like that that where the world of fantasy justice seems so appealing, where people can be billionaires by day and avenging hero by night. If only there was a way to strike at the terrorist like a Batman kind of character. Hit them hard without hurting innocent civilians. Even with this, it is tough since most terrorists here in the Middle East hide behind civilians.

These emotions are different from the times I visited Israel as a tourist. In the past when I was only visiting, or here temporarily when a terrorist attack occured or when the threat of a possible war loomed I experienced fear. First, it was the fear for my life and personal well-being. Second, it was the fear of being in public places where terrorist have been known to attack Israeli citizens such as resturants and buses. Third, the fear of the future, or maybe an end of the world kind of feeling.

So what changed between then and now? I am not a stronger person than those times in the past. Yes, I have been training in martial arts, but what good will that do if I am a bus and terrorist on another part of the same bus has a bomb? Why is living here so different than visiting here? The only answer I can come up with is that now as an Israeli citizen I have more invested in my own life here, as well as the lives of fellow Israelis. As a permanent Israeli citizen I now have a different set of responsibilities than I did when I was only here as a guest.

Once before on my blog, I stated that when I lived outside of Israel I often felt like I was not really living. What I mean is I felt like I was living in a reality show that was not real. I felt like my life was protected and staged, as if what I was living was not a part of the real world. Whenever I cam to Israel in the past I always felt like this was my personal reality. Living in a situation where you have such extrememes between happiness and sadness, is what much of the world lives through outside of the richer western nations. The closest I felt in America to being in the real world was when I lived in New Jersey during Sept. 11, 2001. That event changed everything when the real world came knocking on the door of New Yorkers, and because of it thousands of people lost their lives or were injured. All of that due the actions of a dozen men who spent months planning to take out average citizens who had no idea they were caught in a war going on beneath their rader screens.

Israeli Muslim Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces

So this brings me back to the terrorist attack in Dimona, Israel on Feb. 4th. Even though I live near Jerusalem, and a few hours away from Dimona, Israel is not a huge country. For those who don't know, Israel about the size of the state of New Jersey. We are surrounded by countries that either want us wiped off the face of the earth, or tolerate us lightly. We are in conflict with several groups of people who beleive we have no right to be here, and for the most part don't accept the current reality as it is. We Israelis live in a situation where our military does its best to avoid hurting Palestinian civilians when dealing with terrorists, yet the Palestianian terrorists do their best to hurt Israeli civilians. We Israelis live in a situation where Arabs can live here in Israel freely, but Jews are forbidden to live in the Palestinian Authority regions. Regardless, if Jews have always been there are not. We Israelis live in a situation where the terrorists don't care if they take out Jews, Arabs, non-Jews, non-Arabs, non-Israelis, non-Palestians, etc. If you are in a place where they plan to attack citizens too bad for you.

Mourning for an victim of a terrorist attack

Often the Western media paints a picture of Israel as an agressor, and the Palestinians as the victims. Yet, since Israel withdrew from Gaza, in August 2005, Palestinian Terrorists in Gaza have fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities and towns? These rockets hit towns in Israel injuring or killing children, women, men, soldiers, etc. and this after we gave them what they claimed they wanted. Israel spent nearly $900 million uprooting 1,700 Jewish families from Gaza to obtain peace from the Palestinians, and in return Hamas terrorists have been uping their attempts to attack Israeli civilians. They do so endangering innocent Palestian civilians since we in Israel have no choice to respond to unprovoked attacks.

Israeli Border Towns Being Hit by Gaza Rockets

What a lot of people don't know is that Israel supplies electricity, water, and medical service to Gaza residents. Even with the rockets being fired from terrorist in Gaza we supply Gaza with many of their basic needs. There is no country in the world that would allow another country to fire missles within its borders at civilians, and supply said country with some of its basic services. Most countries would simply declare war and invade with the intention of toppling the government that sanctioned said attacks.

The Face of a Hamas Terrorist

Israel in the only country in the world that has given away land in order to obtain peace with an enemy nation. The reality is that the land that Israel has been giving away to the Palestians to obtain peace were areas that Israel gained due to the attackes by the nations that surround us. I.e. we were attacked, we won and pushed them further back and as a part of the war that land is ours. Yet, the land that the PA currently controls was never theirs to begin with. Before it was controlled by the British, the Jordanians, the Ottomans, the Mamluks, etc. Where were these Palestinian terrorists during those times? Why weren't they performing suicide missions back then, maybe because the concept of a Palestinian State only came about in the 1960's. Maybe, there is a problem with a Jewish nation in the midst of several larger Islamic nations. Maybe, the problem was that they never liked Jews to begin with and now that we have our own nation again, they won't sleep well until we are wiped off the face of the earth, even though Jews have ALWAYS lived here for thousands of years.

Maybe they have a problem with what the Holy Quran says on the matter.
"And thereafter we said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd,'" The Holy Koran Sura 17:104, The Night Journey.
With all of this the bigger reality is that the majority of Palestinians are no different than the majority of Israelis. They want to just live their lives and do what normal people do. There are thousands of Jews and Arabs who live here in Israel doing just that. The reality, no matter what side of the issue one is on, is that there is an Israel that is never going away. The other reality is that there is currently a Palestinian State, and it isn't going away. No matter what the Western nations and the Arab nations do, think, or plot those of us who live here live through a number of realities that they would never understand.

14 Year Old Arab Saved From Being a Suicide Bomber

Note: Hussam Abdo, a 14 year old Palestinian boy. was forced to be a suicide bomber he was caught at the shchem (nablus, hawara) checkpoint by Israeli soldiers. In the above video the Israeli soldiers are trying to instruct him on how to get out of the suicide bomber vest. They can't get close to him while the vest is on him because it could be exploded by remote for all they know.

So even when bad things happen, we mourn and hurt for a while, yet at some point we have to pull ourselves together and keep going. Not being able to do so would drive a person crazy. So we go about our lives getting on buses that could be the next target of a terrorist attack. We go to resturants that could be the next target for a bombing. We drive on highways where terrorist snipers could be laying in wait. We live in cities that border countries that allow or promote terror attacks on Israel. Some of us do this simply because it is who we are, some of us do this because what else are you going to do, some of us do this because we have no choice, and some of do this because we chose it and we beleive in something bigger than ourselves.

No matter why we live a reality that teeters on war at any moment. We live in a reality where the military is ALWAYS in active duty. We live in reality where we pay higher taxes to support a constant need for defense. When I moved to Israel these are the realities that I signed up for, for better or for worse.

Palestinian Snipers Firing at a News Crew

Note: A short while after Palestinian snipers shot dead a volunteer from Ecuador, the above news team covering the incident became the next target. The camera caught it all - the fear, the uncertainty, knowing your life can end with the next bullet.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

Ehav, I wanted to post a comment. Then I got all choked up inside. To me its very painful the whole business. We are all people. I hate all the bombings and all the hatred. I am tired of all the spinning that the media does to keep the real story from coming out. I wish there was a solution.

Have you read "the Ishmaelite Exile"
"Voice of the Turtle Dov" ?

They shed some interesting light on the topic.