Yesterday was Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron for fallen soldiers of Israel. As a high schooler, I have come to expect the ceremonies that come with this occasion. On Remembrance Day, the country mourns the thousands of soldiers who’ve fallen victim to a country that has pushed through countless wars since its inception. Everyone remembers the 18, 19, and 20-year-olds as if every kid that fell was their own. This is something that comes with having a conscription-based army, and it’s something that’s ingrained in Israeli society. In the speeches yesterday which were a part of the sorrow ceremony, every one of the speakers wished for peace.
But the way it always is in Israel, peace is a magical thing far away, always in the future and never in the present. That’s the way the orators presented their desire for peace. In Israel, wars are always depicted as an unchangeable constant, and peace is depicted as something blocked by others, most often Arabs. From their words, at the ceremony, one could think that if an option to simply not take thousands of teenagers to war would arise, we, as Israelis, would take that option in a heartbeat. This seems logical, as everyone all around seems deep in their feelings on Remembrance Day. Everyone is miserable that soldiers have to die for the country to this day, so if there was something to be done against this, it would surely be accomplished as soon as a prospect would surface. What I’m trying to say is that soldiers are still dying, and that must mean that we can’t do anything to stop it.
But we can. Yes, we can. Nowadays, the most common cause for IDF soldiers to lose their lives in battle is “the West Bank”, “the Territories”, or simply, Palestine. A couple of years have passed since Israel participated in an all-out war, so the occupation is what remains a constant occupation for IDF soldiers.
Not wars started by an outside threat, but Israel’s occupation of Palestine since 1967. The unfair war Israel leads against innocent Palestinians who have no legal protection on their lives whatsoever remains to be seen as an indisputable necessity in the eyes of most Israeli Jews. But it simply isn’t one. Regular entrances to Palestinian land by Israeli soldiers are not a necessity. They are necessitated by Israel’s defense establishment to preserve itself.
This means that the State of Israel is a hypocrite.
To be a state and publicly mourn the deaths of literal teenagers and then to go on and send another dozen or two hundred in the face of danger that is completely and utterly unnecessary is plain crazy.
You just can’t be on both sides. You can’t say there’s nothing you can do to prevent the deaths of dozens each year when at the same time you’re the perpetrator in a decades-long war. It’s simply cruel, but Israel is continuing on…
A permanent exit from Palestine is not only possible and feasible but also necessary. Palestinian children shouldn’t be the state’s enemies.
A withdrawal from Palestine must be accomplished. If not for the Palestinian children who live under constant fear and terror, then for Israeli kids – 18, 19, 20-year-old kids.
On Remembrance Day, we remember our fallen soldiers, our sons, our daughters – our children. On Independence Day, we are proud of how far we’ve come as a nation. But at the same time, we can’t forget that just yesterday we talked about dead soldiers. Then, we can’t help but feel ashamed as well. How great can a nation be if it leads its children to war, to nonessential war?
If the IDF would take it upon itself to withdraw from Palestine, only then could we be truly proud of our homeland.
Because celebrating Independence Day cannot coexist with taking someone else’s chance to celebrate theirs.