Tears for Gaza … Tears for Israel
by Dalia Landau
Israel is the reality I have known since early childhood. She is my home and my mother.
At this time we are approaching Memorial Day -Yom Hazikaron-when we remember and mourn all those fallen during the wars for the creation of Israel, including attacks on Israeli civilians.
These severe wounds are fresh in the collective memory. On Yom Hazikaron at 11am, the graveyards are filled with tens of thousands of bereaved families. Mostly the fallen were young. And we all know there will be more families here next year.
This is our darkest day.
Tears for Israel who has been fighting for her life for so long.
Growing up in Ramla, all of us at school participated both in the day of grief and in the celebrations of The Day of Independence when we walked in excitement along the crowded streets, knocking each other on the head with toy hammers. In all of this, I used to feel a bit lost. There always seemed to me to be some question hanging in the air, an emptiness.. what was it? What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just blend with the crowd?
Some years later, I began to see, the other side. I began to see that the sadness that was included for me in that most joyful of days, an emptiness that wished to be filled with a true joy, depended on the well being of those who did not participate in our joy.
What is happening on the Gaza border has shaken me to the core. Violent resistance is comparatively easy for Israel to deal with–force encountering greater force, but a relatively peaceful demonstration as was on Friday the 30th of March is much more threatening, especially when the title of the demonstrations is ‘Al Awda’–The Return. This might not have been the provocative title of the demonstrations had Gaza not been to all purposes a prison. And the prisoners say, ‘you are celebrating your independence, your prosperity your success, your 70 years of democracy whilst we are here in an economic siege without the most basic necessities or possibilities, four hours a day of electricity no clean water no employment no airport no seaport no freedom of movement. We do not have an horizon to aspire to’. Can human beings live without aspiration?
Israel is by no means the only one responsible for this dire situation. The cruel dictatorship of Hamas internally, and its declared intentions of destroying the State of Israel are nothing new. Its use of international resources meant for civilian infrastructure for militarization and tunnels help no one. And most importantly the presence of Iran in Gaza and Syria and the link between them. There is no doubt that many young people in Gaza would find a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning to live and die for ‘The Return’ but the majority are silent victims of their own fundamentalist theocracy. How can Israel afford to do away with the blockade when Gaza would certainly become an arsenal for Iran, another fundamentalist theocracy, which buys weapons from North Korea?
What to do in this deadlock?
Empathy for ‘the enemy’ is unpopular. It is considered by many on both sides as betrayal of the national cause. It is as if to say that in a time of crisis we need to be in solidarity with our own country no matter what, especially when the world criticizes us. Therefore empathy is not encouraged or taught. On the contrary.
One observes this and feels helpless. Where to go from here?
‘A conflict cannot be resolved on the same level of consciousness in which it occurs’, observed Albert Einstein.
What I understand from his words is that when consciousness broadens, life changes.
It is a journey of a life time..