Hamas and “Cavemen”
Rabbi Gustavo Surazski
If you are against the Jews, these lines are not for you. Sartre said that anti-Semitism is a passion unappeased by logic. If you are pro-Palestinian, then these lines can be useful because I presume that your desire is the well-being of the Palestinian people.
I think, at this point, there is no doubt that if this actual conflict were between Palestinians and Russians, Palestinians and Turks or Palestinians and Pakistanis, for example, not many words nor headlines would fill the pages of the international press. The fate of the Palestinians would be similar to the Saharawi people who claim sovereignty over Western Sahara sands of Morocco. When the enemy is not Israel, ratings do not soar.
Certain Western media and intellectuals discuss this conflict with pitiful superficiality. History will judge them as useful puppets of Islamic fundamentalism. They do not want to admit that Israel relinquished the Gaza Strip years ago; no one in Israel wants to have control over that area. Simply put, this would be true demographic suicide. However Hamas would love to have control over Tel Aviv. This is the key to this war.
Some demand that Israel stop its siege on the Gaza Strip, but we have already seen, in recent weeks, the cement and other supplies that entered Gaza when it was not sieged was not used to build schools and hospitals as was intended, but tunnels, long tunnels big enough to let a truck drive through it easily. Until two weeks ago, nobody believed that the word “cavemen” was in reality such a crude metaphor of the evil Hamas.
Stopping the rockets from Gaza into Israel, will surely not solve anything. In fact, this was the case at the end of each regional escalation: one day, you know for sure that these missiles will be launched back again at Israel, belligerently, shamelessly and indiscriminately, the more death, destruction and fear the better.
Khaled Mashal was right when he said that Hamas only aim their missiles at military targets. What he failed to add is that the religious leadership of Hamas defines the entire population of Israel as a “military target” since they are all members of the IDF.
Building a Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Gaza would be a good idea, except that the money would once again get to the greedy and hateful pockets of Hamas leadership. In comparison with the widespread corruption in Gaza, Latin America looks like Scandinavia. These millions donated by countries all around the world is to go to rebuilding, education, industry, health and overall development. But that is not what this fortune will be used for…as in the past, it will go to towards the purchase of new weapons, rockets, and Islamo-fascist indoctrination.
It’s a Catch 22.
The Catch 22 of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be solved when the Palestinian leadership as a whole recognizes the State of Israel as the expression of self-determination of the Jewish people. Otherwise, there is no end insight. Israel cannot make peace with the Palestinian Authority as long as the P.A. does not govern the destinies of the Gaza Strip in a way that ensures peaceful coexistence with us. And the leaders and people of Gaza need to understand that living in tunnels can be a clever tactical exercise, but no one can design a society from caves in the bowels of the earth. That’s good for ants, not humans. I believe that people who live in Gaza also like to chase a ball, or play their guitar under the sun or enjoy a family picnic in a public park.
When the prophet Zechariah prophesied about the Messianic Days, he did not use utopian images but simple and universal ones that any mortal could easily identify with.
“There shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the broad places of the city hall be full of boys and girls playing in the broad places thereof” (Zechariah 8, 4)
This was the vision that has led the Zionist movement since its inception. Nothing very sophisticated, nothing very deep, just lead a peaceful and quiet life in our own homeland.
This week we read in the Torah, Parashat Mas’ei which describes the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, forty-two stations that depict in a way, the entire history of our people. Our history is a chain of being uprooted: from Israel we went to Rome, and Babylon, and North Africa, and Spain, and Germany, and Poland, and Russia and North and South America…over many continents on the globe. Several times we have been exiled, and in 1948, we finally returned home.
Israel already has a State and it does not need or want another. We just want to get that idea across. Hamas is the disease of the Gaza Strip and the cure is to free the people living there of this plague. After all, who wants to live in caves?
Rabbi Gustavo Surazski is the Rabbi at Kehillat Netzach Israel, the only Masorti (Conservative) congregation in Ashkelon.