Sunday, September 12, 2004

This UNRWA press release, which I found after having read a posting on the weblog of the Dutch senator, feminist and author Anja Meulenbelt, seems pretty standard and innocent. It is indeed unforgivable that children get hurt or killed by gun- and tankfire, especially when they are in a school class. Yet what neither the press release nor Miss Meulenbelt say is that Israel fired as a reaction to the ceaseless firing of Qassam-rockets by Palestinians into Israel. One of those rockets landed a few weeks ago right next to a kindergarten in Sderot, and killed a 3 1/2 year-old boy named Afik Zahavi z"l. A passerby, about 50 years old, was killed as well, I am not sure whether by the same rocket or by another, in any case it was on the same day. We never hear Miss Meulenbelt or the UNRWA about the Israeli victims, probably because only Israel commits injustices and is guilty of terror. Of course sometimes Israel's responses to terror are random and out of proportion, but on the other hand we only are sure to get the world's sympathy whenever we play the role of the submissive, patient victim, a role that we cannot afford to play all the time. Could it be that Israel fired in the direction of the refugee camp because that is where the Qassam rockets came from? Whomever has been following my writings knows hat I am not trying to defend Sharon's terrible policies here, or to justify the occupation which should have ended a long time ago. Are we talking, in the case of the Qassam rockets, about a legitimate act of resistance against an illegal occupation, and in the case of the Israeli response about an illegal reaction to that legitimate resistance? Or are we talking, in the case of the Israeli reaction, about a legitimate response to incessant terror attacks. Not long ago a Palestinian boy was killed by terrorists because he and his family protested ( fearing a Israeli reaction ) when those terrorists ( sorry, militants ) wanted to fire one or more rockets right next to the boy's home. Are the Israelis or the terrorists to blame for his death, and is his murder an act of resistance or an act of terror? Who knows. For the children and other victims who are involved and traumatized by the war those questions are hardly relevant. Why is it so hard not to ignore the fact that both ( or rather all ) parties are very guilty of all the sorrow, and that most Palestinians and Israelis are simply victims of their failing leaders? For poor kids like Raghda Adnan al-Assar and Afik Zahavi it really does not matter which side started, which one bears more or less responsibility, and which will have to give in more than the other. PS: The UNRWA talks about homemade rockets. Never mind the fact that those rockets have proven to be very lethal, the cynical side of me could not help thinking that all of the bullets and grenades use by Israel are homemade as well.

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