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Ellis Shuman

My message to the innocent Palestinians in Gaza

We know you are suffering, in the dark and without basic necessities, but it is Hamas that has failed you
Palestinians leave their homes to the southern part of Gaza, in Gaza City, on October 13, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
Palestinians leave their homes to the southern part of Gaza, in Gaza City, on October 13, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

You have no electricity, water, or fuel. Your homes are being bombed and you have been told to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip, ahead of an IDF ground invasion. You cry out to the world for help. You ask us to hear your pain. But even though the majority of you are innocent, this is difficult, because your leaders attacked us. Attack is not really the appropriate word. It would be more fitting to say that your leaders massacred us.

The loss of civilians anywhere is tragic, and unfortunately, many civilians are killed during warfare. But in this case, as in the past, there are two sides and they are not morally equal. On the one hand, there are those who specifically target civilians. They shoot and kill men and women, children and the elderly, in their homes and at their parties. They take babies and grandparents hostage, and destroy families and burn their homes. On the other hand, there are those who say “Evacuate your homes because,” as IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters, “We are fighting a terror group, not the Gazan population. We want civilians not to be harmed, but we cannot live with the rule of Hamas-ISIS near our border.”

Do you not see the difference? We try not to harm civilians while Hamas specifically targets civilians. They dance in the streets and give out sweets when Israelis are killed, and it doesn’t matter if the victim was a soldier or a teenager. Hamas has ruled the Gaze Strip in a reign of terror, teaching murder in its curriculum.

Palestinians of Gaza, we made a mistake for many years of thinking that Hamas was acting in your better interests. We opened our gates for your workers; we allowed your fishermen to sail their boats. We allowed money into the Gaza Strip, thinking it would be used for schools and hospitals. Instead, Hamas stockpiled rockets and grenades, rifles and mortars. All in a calculated plan to launch a murderous assault on Israeli citizens.

Hamas has failed you and you are paying the price. We know you are suffering, in the dark and without basic necessities, but it is Hamas that is responsible for this war. We ask you to get out of the way. We don’t want to harm you, and certainly not to kill you. We would prefer to live near you, side by side as peaceful neighbors, and we tried this many times in the past. What we are asking you now is that along with your cries for help, you should also cry out against what Hamas has done, not only to us, but to you as well.

About the Author
Ellis Shuman made aliya to Jerusalem as a teenager, served in the IDF, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and now lives on Moshav Neve Ilan. Ellis is the author of ‘The Burgas Affair’ – a crime thriller set in Israel and Bulgaria; ‘Valley of Thracians’ - a suspense novel set in Bulgaria; and 'The Virtual Kibbutz' - a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. Ellis lived with his wife for two years in Bulgaria, and blogs regularly about Israel, Bulgaria, books, and writing.
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