Anyone who has visited Sderot in the south near the Gaza border must appreciate why Israel cannot tolerate the hundreds and thousands of missiles launched indiscriminately by Hamas from Gaza on Israeli cities and settlements.
The Israeli targeted killing this week of Ahmad Jabari, the mastermind of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping and a terrorist responsible for the murder of hundreds, if not thousands of innocent Israelis, is justifiable. Any progressive Jew should be supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas bombs. No nation in the world would do otherwise.
Having said this, understanding context and the risk of unintended consequences is important. Though it is nothing new that Hamas is a sworn enemy of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, the political fall-out for Israel from this operation and anything yet to come from a possible invasion is unknown and cannot be predicted one way or another.
Israel is in the midst of an election campaign. The PA is preparing to introduce a bill into the UN General Assembly to gain recognition of a “State of Palestine” and already has the votes to get it passed. Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to miss opportunities to work towards a two-state solution, most recently when he ignored President Abbas’ statement that Palestine is the West Bank and Gaza and not Israel. President Obama is refocusing (I would assume) on the Middle East after the American election, and has stated his desire to draw down more quickly, if possible, the number of American troops in Afghanistan. He also understands the need to stabilize Iraq, address ongoing issues relative to the “Arab Spring”, tighten sanctions on Iran, maintain a working and productive relationship with Egypt, and figure out what to do about the deadly civil war in Syria.
Another Israeli-Hamas war, even if justifiable, throws a monkey wrench into the mix.
A popular Israeli song from 1977 written and composed after Anwar Sadat visited Israel (“Yehiyeh Tov” – lyrics: Yonatan Gefen; Music: David Bruza) still expresses the yearnings and dreams of Israeli youth who have born the burden of defending the Jewish state for so long. As we read the unsettling news day in and day out, it is important to remember that at the heart and soul of the Israeli people is a yearning for a better future and peace. I believe the same is true of the Palestinian people.
The melody of Yehiyeh Tov is beautiful and the English translation a pale reflection of the original Hebrew. You can watch and listen to David Bruza sing it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIphEtttLcA&feature=fvwrel
“I look out the window / and it makes me very sad, / Spring has left; / Who knows when it will return. / The clown has become a king; / The prophet has become a clown; / And I have forgotten the way; / But I am still here.
All will be better, yes – / all will be better. / Sometimes I break / But this night, / O this night / I will stay with you.
Children wear wings / And fly off to the army / And after two years / They return without answers. / People live with stress / Looking for a reason to breathe / And between hatred and murder / They speak about peace.
And all will be better…
Yes, above in the heavens / Clouds learn to fly, / And I look up / And see a hijacked plane. / A government of generals / Divide the landscape, / To what is theirs and ours, / And we know not the end.
And all will be better…
I look out my window – / Maybe it will come, / Maybe it has come, / Yes it has come – / A new day.
Here comes the prince of Egypt. / O how I rejoiced for him. / There are pyramids in our eyes / And peace in his pipe / And we said let’s complete it, / And we’ll live as brothers / And he said let’s go forward. / Just get out of the territories.
And all will be good…
We will yet learn to live together / Between the groves of olive trees; / Children will live without fear / Without borders, without bomb shelters. / On graves grass will grow, / For peace and love, / One hundred years of war / But we have not lost hope.
I look out the window / Perhaps a new day will come.”
David Bruza has been singing this song for 35 years and vows to continue until there is peace.