‘If you were a cannibal, you’d invite a “friend” for dinner’

We have all seen it before.

Palestinians riot, or worse, murder, and there rises a small and annoying voice. “If you were a Palestinian you would do that too”. But would you?

Gaza is a mess. Life, for the majority of people there, is not easy. Unemployment is rampant, above 50%, and the future seems bleak, especially for the younger cohort. “So”, say some, “If you lived in Gaza, you would march on the fence”. Like crazed lemmings following a pied piper, would you throw yourself on the fence, bravely baring your chest, only to fall to the ground where your lifeblood could fertilize the sacred ground? Or maybe there is an alternative?

In Gaza, even Gaza, there seem to be alternatives.  Proof? If 2 million people live in the Gaza Strip, then 30,000 or even 40,000 demonstrators are small change. Two million people within walking distance to the nearest demonstration, a great many with nothing better to do with their time, and only two percent deem it worth their effort? What do they know that others do not?

Perhaps they know that the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is corrupt and cynical. Perhaps they know that marching on the border fence with Israel isn’t going to make their lives or the lives of their families any better and won’t solve their problems. Swarming the border won’t bring them jobs, and won’t give them food or housing. They know it won’t help.

I cannot argue that life in Gaza is easy, but I certainly can analyze the facts to understand that it is not Israel that is responsible for the mess there. Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005. the Army uprooted the Jewish communities, abandoned the army bases and even exhumed the undead from their graves. Had the Gazans chosen to take the opportunity, they could have improved their lives through cooperation with Israel. Instead, they chose conflict and the fruit of conflict is bitter indeed.

Let not mince our words. Those who show understanding of the Palestinian’s poor behavior, whether it be violently rioting or throwing rocks at passing motorists or worse (and there are those who justify even murder) are best confused or engaging in frivolous virtue signaling, at the worst they are moral relativists and racists for they would never condone such behaviour from fellow Jews.

No Israeli, in his right mind, would mindlessly sacrifice his children or others children for a photo op. Nor would a Jewish leader advocate sending children and cripples to confront an enemy from the safety of the rear lines. What Hamas is doing in Gaza is wrong and is causing grievous harm to the residents there, by and large, because the residents are unwilling or unable to demand from their leadership to provide them real solutions for Gaza’s problems.

So my advice to those on the Left whose empathy towards our enemies has dulled their intellects until they must make up lies to justify their support of anti-social, sociopathic behavior.(See B’Tzelem as an example of that). You do the Palestinians no favors by exonerating them of their responsibilities or by holding them to a lower standard. The opposite is true. You perpetuate and encourage conflict and make the job of our soldiers more difficult. Shame on you all.

The people of Gaza are not savages nor cannibals. They are humans created in G-d’s image, and I can not imagine that their nature or their circumstances justify irrational, self-destructive behavior. I believe that eventually, even the average Gazan will realize that way to a better future can only be achieved through cooperation and peace. With Israel. When that happens, the fences will come down by themselves.

About the Author
Shlomo Toren has been a resident of Israel since 1980, and a transportation planner for the last 25 years. He has done demand modeling for the Jerusalem Light Rail and Road 6. He is married to Neera and lives in Shiloh.