Gaza is burning. Again. The most esteemed (’til “fake news” slowly eroded their good name) news outlets bemoan the situation, again depicting masses of violent, rioting Gazans against a Goliath Israeli Defense Force. But that’s just it — ours is a defensive force. They pile tires, light them, and through the blackness, massively attack the fencing separating murderous Palestinian Arab throngs from innocent Jewish lives just across the fields.
If that sounds like a bad movie, it is. One with a deadly plot. My nephew, on active duty, was called back in during this Passover holiday, to defend the Jewish towns just beyond the Gazan rioters — from a planned, tire-laden deadly riot. Another nephew (it’s a big family!) had to move their festive seder meal from the kibbutz where the family patriarch lives, to be farther away from those front lines — afraid of terrorist infiltration.
I wish it weren’t so. We’d like to believe in the peaceful intentions of our neighbors, striving to achieve a self-sufficient society in which Palestinian Arab men, women and children enjoy the right to vote, the right to express themselves, a democratic society with leaders who look out for their people. Yet these are the prisoners of war, these are the casualties of a nation that does not care for its people. The Palestinian Arabs’ suffering is two-fold: one, from the Arab nation in surrounding states who have abandoned these so-called brothers. And two, their suffering is at the hands of their own leaders, who keep them locked into “refugee” status and prevent any improvement to their lives.
Honest brokers visiting the Middle East will find these facts to be true. People who take the time to really listen to those who live here are told repeatedly, from all walks of Palestinian Arab life: the larger Arab nation has rejected any connection to those living in the Land of Israel, and the local leadership has rejected any option that improves their lives, afraid to relinquish power or lose a few million dollars slipped into their private bank accounts.
Harsh words? Just join us as we speak behind the scenes to real live people. Young men who grew up in Bethlehem, families from Ramallah, would-be peace seekers in Jericho. All bemoan the fact that they’ve been abandoned by the larger Arab nation; and point to the corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority as the source of their own personal stagnation.
They speak freely when the cameras are off, sharing hopes and desires with our influential tourists who always leave with a hug and a tear, hopeful despite what they’ve heard, intent on helping to boost those who are brave enough to be outspoken on behalf of their communities. Sadly, and perhaps ironically, we can’t share photos or names just yet, as they fear for their lives.
It is our hope as Israelis and as neighbors that these brave few will persevere and eventually lead a peaceful insurgence that ousts the current leaders. Their truth can shake up the Arab world enough to stand up and help take responsibility in shaping a better future for these people.
Until then, Gazans may continue to burn misguided tires and the world might choose to misrepresent the truth. But we will persevere in our quest to find those who are brave enough to stand up, and we will share it with those who are willing to come and listen.
Who knows, one day it just might make a difference.