lördag 26 juli 2014

Should Israel show more restraint over Gaza?

This comment appeared as a response in the Guardian's Comment is Free section. It puts the thing into perspective.

Much has been written about the citizens of Sderot who were captured on camera "celebrating" the shelling of Gaza by the IDF forces from the hillside. It was inevitable that these images would be picked like ripe fruit by the media of all kinds and used to villify Israel, as if it could be more vilified and demonized that it is already.

However, for some reason there are many who have found the need, Comment is Free posters included, to embellish their descriptions of this event to include descriptions of barbeques and discos, and even referring the the Sderot residents as "settlers" although Sderot is located well within the 1967 borders. I suppose that there are enough people out there who consider the entire State of Israel to be a settlement.

So much righteous indignation.

Compare Sderot and nearby villages and towns to a Coca Cola bottle that has been regularly shaken, on average three times a day for thirteen years since January 30th 2001. In July 2014 someone decided to remove the bottle top and was shocked to discover that the liquid virtually exploded out of the bottle. And what exactly did he expect, that the bottle show a little "restraint"? Some "proportionality?"

Well the people of Sderot and Israel as a whole are no different from this proverbial coke bottle. They have been "shaken" and "shaken" endlessly since 2001, rocketed out of their minds as they run from shelter to shelter, watching their shell shocked children helplessly as they wet their beds on a nightly basis, visit post-trauma experts weekly, lose their friends, homes and livelihoods as the Hamas pound and pound them with never ending and indiscriminate rocket fire, terrorising them for terror's sake.

And before I get peppered (or rocketed) with whataboutery, Let me say to you people of London and other places thousands of miles away, it's restraint you want? Why don't you show some? Don't the people of Sderot deserve just a teensy weensy bit of your all important empathy? Or are you totally incapable of looking beyond the Palestinian narrative to see that there exists another narrative, possibly also deserving of merit and that there are victims on both sides?

The fact that they were actually eating popcorn only serves to compound the "atrocious behaviour" of the people of Sderot you say. "Sderot cinema" you have dubbed it.

"The people of Israel need to be brought to account" you shout from every editorial.

Well if anyone is showing restraint it's the people of Sderot. They have been doing so since January 30th 2001. How much more restraint are they required to display?

Empathy does not mean blindly, naively and gullibly following a spoon-fed ideology to the point that it takes the actions you so despise out of context.

Next time you hear about another rocket shot over Israel try for just one millisecond to put yourself in their place. Try and curb that smirk on your face while you wipe your oily hands from those fish 'n chips so that you can make that all important post.

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