Living the Gaza complexity

January 22, 2009

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If demonstrations and media reports are anything to go by, it would seem that the overwhelming majority of the world condemns Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. In Israel a mirror-image exists, whereby the consensus in favor of the campaign has been huge. Over the last few weeks it would appear that Israel and Israelis have not been trying to curry favor with the world.

It is therefore all the more significant to learn of the efforts of a couple of students at Sapir College in the Negev, who have collected 10 trucks-worth of basic aid for Gazans: The same Gazans whose lives have been blown apart by our own army attacking Hamas fighters. This act, like the the act of going to war in the first place, would seem to emerge not from a desire to be seen to be doing the right thing, but from a desire to do what is right.

Should our government do the same, and offer Israel’s hand and pocket in the rebuilding of Gaza? Western coalitions conquered Afghanistan and Iraq with overwhelming force, but they remained to aid in the rebuilding of what they had destroyed. If our enemies were the Hamas fighters, and not the Palestinian civilians in Gaza, should it follow that we aid these civilians to rebuild the lives that we played an inadvertent but significant part in destroying?

And what of the Jewish world? We have once again been witness to the laudable fundraising attempts throughout the Jewish world for shell-shocked residents of the South. Is there any way that these or other funds could be raised also for the residents of Gaza, without this being seen as an ‘anti-Israel’ gesture?

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