Shoshana Lavan

An open letter to the world

Sunrise in beautiful Akko, one of Israel's mixed cities. Photo by Shoshana Lavan

Dear World,

I wrote this letter just under a week ago. So much has happened since then. Perhaps you now understand the reality of our situation: if we don’t annihilate the terrorists, they will soon be coming for you. But perhaps you don’t fully see it. Not yet. Perhaps sending this letter, as old as a week is in politics, is still important.

A few days after the 7th October, I remember a speaker here reaching out to you all. “When Israel begins its efforts to rid the Palestinians of their terrorist government, make sure you do not forget what they did to us on the 7th October.”

But you did.

And yet it has become much more frightening than envisaged. Not only have you forgotten the horrors of that day, you also seem to have forgotten the horrors of many years. The bombs exploding on buses and killing innocent children, women and men, the suicide bombers in the markets and the bus stops and the restaurants wiping out as many people as possible in one strike, the terrorists who came into the Jewish areas with their guns or their axes or whatever they could lay their hands on and took the random lives of innocent civilians. All of these committed by a group of terrorists who never wanted this country to be inhabited by Jews, let alone belong to them.

And even before this, in 1948, you seem to have forgotten how the Nakba – the name given to the tragedy of the Palestinians being thrown out of Palestine and losing many of their people – happened because Jews were fighting for their lives for a state that had been promised to them as a safe haven – after the persecution and slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

One man led his country to attempt a genocide of a people where his dream and the dream of his followers was to open a museum to teach future generations about a race they’d succeeded in obliterating, thus saving the rest of the world from suffering the Jewish nation any longer.

This is the only true definition of genocide. One cannot consider the Jews are committing genocide on a race of people who increase and increase. Let’s look at the figures. In 1947: nine hundred thousand Palestinians of which one hundred and sixty thousand were in Israel. In 2024: two million, one hundred and fifty thousand Palestinians in the West Bank, one million, eight hundred thousand in Gaza and two million and eighty thousand in Israel who are welcome and liked and respected and treated as equals in so many places, as doctors, judges, lawyers, dentists, politicians, teachers…

It seems the whole world has forgotten (if any of you learned at all, for in England it’s not on the curriculum in any subject) how the State of Israel was promised by the British to both the Arabs and the Jews. The British simply decided the Arabs would ultimately win, so they ended their colonialist occupation and left the two nations to fight it out to the bitter end.

Only there never has been a bitter end. There has only been bitter fighting.

When you claim it is all so black and white, that Israel is killing innocent Gazans, occupying their land and committing genocide, perhaps it would be thoughtful and courteous to look back in history just a tiny bit and see from where this has begun… at least, in the last 100 years…

When we look back, we see both the Arabs and the Jews have justified claims to the land of Israel/Palestine. Both nations deserve love, peace, respect and to live in equality and security.

You must understand how our country, once a democracy, if not for all Arabs then at least for many, has now been turned into a dictatorship, because our government is made up of a corrupt Prime Minister and his extreme right wing followers. But they do NOT represent the beliefs and ideology of most of this country. Simply because Netanyahu, Ben Gvir and Smotrich are shouting the loudest, do not be fooled into listening only to them. There are also hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets – and many more who are not, yet, whose hearts and minds also wish for and believe in peace – who want to see the current government resign, who understand that the only safe future lies in a two state solution. Those who shed tears for the hostages and for the events of the 7th October and understand how the responsibility of those events lies not only with the terrorists but also with Israel’s attempts at silencing some Palestinians by forcing them to live under occupation for so long – and who understand that the situation arose from all the bloodshed of the Jews caused by terrorists before the wall was built.

Because of all the Jewish blood that was shed by these terrorists for so many years, an extreme government turned to extreme measures, rather than to peace talks.

Dear people of the world, tell us, teach us, show us how we can get back our beloved hostages – help us.

And please don’t judge us if/when we kill wonderful people through terrible and negligent accidents. That is never our agenda. It is an awful tragedy happening in an awful war led by an awful government but it does not go to show that all the citizens of Israel are also awful and deserve no compassion, no home to live in, no state.

The IDF made a terrible error, and some have paid with their livelihoods already, but do not forget the trauma and the stress and the pressure a war puts on its people. And do not ever forget why there is a war – against Hamas, not the Palestinians – in the first place.

And now Iran has entered the frame. Do any of you defend their right to attack us?

Israel has a right to defend itself like any other country, after over a thousand of its citizens were brutally slaughtered in one day, and an unbearable number of others taken hostage and kept in terrible conditions for over half a year.

This war is a terrible consequence of a terrible attack on the very existence of our people. That it had to happen, under this government, was unavoidable. That it has to carry on now, with the constant death of our soldiers and the death and suffering of thousands of refugees in Gaza with no end in sight and no peace proposed, is the worst error our government has made until now.

We, the protestors, have been out on the streets, day and night, trying to change that. See us, not a man who will do anything to keep out of jail! See us! We are marching for peace! We are marching for our government to bring our hostages home NOW! We are marching to bring about the collapse of our government.

Dear world, please, finally, see us.

About the Author
Shoshana Lavan is a published author, high school teacher of English Literature and Language, teacher of English as a foreign language and most importantly, a very proud mother of her gorgeous little boy. She is a peace activist and a committed vegan. A keen runner, she adores the mountains and glorious sunshine in this wonderful country.
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