How do you find the words when they are spit back in your face?

I am emotionally exhausted. Since the boats with “peace activists” heading to Gaza was intercepted I have fought and fought this issue round and round with my friends and acquaintances. Emotionally, I am drained. My head hurts. I can’t think of the permutations any more. I want to just say that this is how it is, no more conversation.

But nothing is ever so simple or easy.

Here are some basic facts of the issue. I promise you, honestly, I am being as unbiased as possible.

  • The flotilla was asked to dock in Ashdod so Israel could ensure there were no weapons being brought into Gaza.
  • The boats ignored this request.
  • There were 6 boats. Israeli commandos boarded all 6. 5 were peaceful and headed to port. ONE got violent, beating Israel soldiers.

Now some say that the many of the products on board were expired and just a front for weapons. Some say it was purely a peace mission. Could it possibly be both?

Some say the Israelis came on board fighting. Some say (including some video evidence) that they came on board with paintball guns to subdue, not fight and were attacked. Could it possibly be both?

Beyond anything, there are many women and children and elderly in this strip of land the Israelis gave to this group of refugees. And they need support. Hamas does not offer adequate infrastructure so while they fire on Israel, they ask for/demand what they need. Israel brings in aid every day. Amounting to approx 15k tons a week. But they are reticent to allow Arab nations to provide supplies directly because of the direct assaults on Israel and callous suicide bombings.

A friend brought something up to me that I thought was very interesting. The constant conversation around Israel v. Palestine seems to be – there were 1,000 Palestinians killed but only 30 Israelis. How can we take these numbers at face value? The Israeli army attempts to limit civilian casualties but Hamas uses private homes to launch rockets. Israelis have been under almost constant attack since 1947. They have bomb safe rooms and gas masks for every adult and child. There are building codes in Israel. The people living in Gaza do not have the same. Should Israel refrain from responding when Gaza launches missiles into the heart of their cities because their people have more interest in preserving their lives?

This is not always the case, as with any war there are tragedies and mistakes on all sides. But we cannot blindly blame Israel based on numbers without facts.

There are a few articles that I have found very interesting and I recommend reading. I think we must all educate ourselves on both sides. We have to understand all plights before we can make a statement. My family has close friends, Arab Israelis who live in East Jerusalem. We have been close with them since the early 70’s. Our traditions are different but we still find a friendship through it all.

To read:
Palestine Betrayed
The Peace Flotilla
Flotilla Facts – a pro-Israel opinion

Update 6.3.10: Despite having horrific dreams last night where in Israel just let Hamas do it’s thing and Israel was bombed out of existence, I am still reading the news. This Op-Ed in the NYTimes is very well done – A Botched Raid, A Vital Embargo.