Editor’s note: According to reports from CNN, the fragile 72-hour cease-fire agreement between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza brokered by Egyptian mediators, was broken by rockets fired from Gaza into Israel early Friday morning – presumably launched by members of Hamas, a Palestinian militant movement that also serves as one of the territories’ two major political parties. After nearly one month of deadly attacks on both sides, the conflict resumed with Israel returning rocket fire.
Both sides are tallying the blame. In too many cases, Israel launched weapons that hit schools and shelters and failed to adequately protect Palestinian citizens. But Hamas knowingly targeted Israeli civilian centers in violation of any civilized standard and launched weapons from populated areas in what looks like a deliberate effort to draw Israeli fire on innocents.
Both sides have their fair share of fault. The following is a response to a commentary written by Hasan Abu Radwan, a young Palestinian woman who was born in Gaza and moved to the U.S. as a child. Her piece called for an end to the violence and pointed to the disproportionate death toll of the attacks. Neta Klein and her family are Israeli, and she offers this perspective on the conflict in Gaza.
I would have liked to tell you that I too was born to the sounds of birds chirping in that peaceful and quiet picturesque city. I would also have liked to tell you that there was electricity in abundance and the hospital was very well equipped, but unfortunately all they had were kerosene lamps.
When I was two years old, my father was killed in a war not of his choosing, but rather forced on him by seven Arab armies that simultaneously tried to invade Israel.
Ironically, he was on his way to establish a hospital that would give treatment to casualties on both sides of the conflict, much like what Israel is doing today by creating a border hospital for Gazan casualties. Unfortunately, he was one of the last casualties of that war.
So, I grew up without a father in a war-ridden country where there were no shelters and not enough food or medical supplies. And to the sound of the sirens, I was taken downstairs to the first floor of the building to sleep on two benches put together as if it was a bed.
Both sides of the conflict know the sadness and loss that war brings to the children.
None of us like to see anyone hurt, but let me get some facts straight.
The majority of electricity, water, medical supplies, food, and fuel were and still are provided to Gaza by Israel while Egypt closed its borders and did not allow for such transport from their side.
I challenge any one to find another country under attack providing life-support products to their attackers.
Lack of electricity in Gaza has been caused by Israeli strikes, Hamas’s own activities have done so as well. For example, rockets fired in mid-July by Hamas destroyed an electrical distribution plant.
Israel also, naïvely I must add, provided free transport of cement to Gaza; only Hamas chose to make a different use of it. They did not build shelters; instead, they built tunnels for delivering death to my people. Hamas did not reinforce schools and hospitals — quite the opposite — they used those facilities to fire rockets.
Israel did not start the intense shelling of the Gaza strip. Israel responded to heavy shelling from the Gaza strip, which quickly escalated into a full-fledged war.
No one can expect a sovereign country to sit idle while all their citizens are threatened daily, the country remains paralyzed, and the children shiver with fear.
Killing, even in self-defense, is horrific. Even more appalling is that the Hamas leadership has no regards for their own people. While in Israel we continuously invent devices to protect our people, Hamas shelters their operatives only and use women and children to protect their rockets with their own bodies, while the leaders sit in five-star hotels in Qatar.
Doesn’t that disturb anyone?
Absolutely no one is against the Gazan/Palestinian population. What Israel and the Gazan population are faced with is a terror regime that is aiming at destroying not only Israel, but threatening the stability of the entire world.
Those in Gaza who had the guts to raise their voices against Hamas were brutally killed. So I can see why Gazans won’t raise their voices or rebel; however, I can’t understand why the rest of the Palestinians in the U.S. and elsewhere don’t rally against the inhumane activities carried out by Hamas.
It is indeed unfortunate that, when Hamas launches rockets from hospitals and schools, there will be a non-proportional number of casualties. While Israel sanctifies life, jihadists sanctify death.
Targeting Israel for disapproval is all but missing the point.
We are not the enemy; we brought progress and improvement to Gazans all, which was destroyed when Hamas took over.
No one condones killing no matter of what age, but when a terrorist organization like Hamas holds its banner to read “Death to the Jews” and “Palestine from the river to the sea” and its theological belief is that the highest spiritual point one can reach is by being a shahid (martyr), and when mothers in Gaza are raising their kids to be shahid, there is nothing one can do but to make sure that the people of Israel and the land is safe.
Unfortunately, “safe” often involves “collateral victims,” and many of those victims of Hamas’s insanity are the Palestinian children whose childhoods have been stolen from them by that mutual enemy from within.
*Featured/top image: The Israeli flag. Public domain image.