In the wake of yesterday’s tragic violence in Eilat and Gaza, I commend to you this wise and rational-minded statement from Jewish Voice for Peace.
I would only add that I frankly think it’s remarkable, given Israel’s oppressive policies toward the people of Gaza, that we haven’t seen even more attacks such as this. To be sure, these kinds of incidents do not exist in a vacuum. History has shown us again and again that when people are oppressed, they tend to resist – often violently.
And when it comes to the history of Gaza, this resistance – followed by overwhelming Israeli military retaliation – has been ongoing since 1948.
Do not today besmirch the murderers with accusations. Who are we that we should bewail their mighty hatred of us? For eight years they sit in refugee camps in Gaza, and opposite their gaze we appropriate for ourselves as our own portion the land and the villages in which they and their fathers dwelled.
This we know: that in order that the hope to destroy us should die we have to be armed and ready, morning and night. We are a generation of settlement, and without a steel helmet and the barrel of a cannon we cannot plant a tree and build a house.
Dayan, to his credit, understood the true source of Palestinians’ frustration and rage. But I think he was tragically wrong in his belief that Israeli machine guns and bomb shelters would be able to keep their rage at bay – or that their military power would ultimately keep Israelis safe. Yesterday’s incident in Eilat is but the latest proof of this sad reality. It didn’t work then, and it’s still not working now.
While I do not in any way condone Palestinian violence against Israelis, I do understand its source. And until these root causes are fundamentally addressed, I fear we’ll only continue to hear more tragic news such as this.