Monthly Archives: August 2014

Washed away

Commentary to Amos Oz interview with Deutsche Welle

Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?

Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!

Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?

Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

With these two questions I pass the interview to you.

To be frank, I think that the questions are irrelevant. If Israeli soldiers in Gaza indeed used civilians as human shields and shoot at nurseries, this would be a war crime without any doubt and nobody would question it …

The question we have to ask is “What people would accept to be under siege for 7 years and at the entire mercy to another party and has to witness how time and again all diplomatic approaches for self-determination are killed by this party?”1 In other words, if we look at the context – 47 years of occupation, 7 years of siege and 40 years of US-Israeli rejectionism2, the options for the Ganzans are between slow death and symbolic armed resistance. Symbolic because the lethality of the rockets is about 0.17%. Symbolic because 16’000 “rockets” in 10 years have killed as many people as Israel killed in one single air-strike (25). What Gazans can do is to accept to “live like dogs” or they can shoot rockets to disrupt normal life in Israel.

The question that should be ask in face of Israel’s wanton destruction is: “Are the Hamas Amalekites?”

Well, this question leaves the plane of logical reasoning and brings us to the level of interpretation of religion scriptures. If you go for a resounding ‘yes’, please remember PARDES (the four levels of interpretation) and be aware that other religions have scriptures, too, that can be misinterpreted to justify war and destruction. The prospect of only 144’000 Jews surviving the Apocalypse should be an incentive to look for more constructive ways of interpretation. Remember, too, that Torah, well applied, is a drug of life, but, wrongly applied, becomes a drug of death.3

To come back to Amos’ question as a allegory for the rockets shoot from Gaza and the tunnels dug into Israel, the answer is simple:

  1. Take those steps that have shown in past to reduce the dangers

  2. Take steps to remove the underlying causes

1. History has clearly shown that Hamas is keeping truce agreements. 2013 was the year with the least rocket attacks – even in the face of Israel breaking the agreement. Therefore, the simple and effective step to reduce rockets is negotiations with Hamas, easing the siege and fading in out completely, accepting the unity government, etc.

2. For the underlying causes, end the siege and the occupation (two-state solution, etc. here I am in full agreement with Amos)

As for the current events, Israel is taking exactly the opposite direction: escalate the conflict. Arrest Hamas members, kill people during arrests, bomb Gaza and kill Hamas members, keep the siege, block the negotiations, increase settlement building, etc.

It is not just sad but shocking to see so-called peaceniks like Amos Oz having been washed away by government propaganda to such an extent that – meanwhile they still see that the ultimate evil in the world is aggression” – they are incapable of realizing their own aggression and fall prey to the falsehood that “the only way to repel aggression is unfortunately by force” burying diplomacy under the very same rubble they themselves created.

3To compare the religious viewpoints of the extremist’s position, Hamas openly speaks about its reservations, mainly that it cannot accept anyone claiming the holy land for him or herself because the holy land belongs to God. This is why Hamas offers an indefinite truce to find a political solution. Israeli extremists are far less compromising, stating that to give even a square millimetre of the land to a non-Jew consists of a sin. It has to be seen as quite an achievement to make Hamas look moderate …

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