The suffering in Gaza continues unabated. The strip is blockaded from land, sea and air and bombed from land, sea and air. The death toll has climbed past 550, including at least 100 Palestinian children. Yet, still, silver-tongued Israeli officials continue to take to the airwaves to defend the indefensible.
Eslam wrote back to my sister in tears. She saw that yes, Israelis are human too! That they are shown the same images as she is. That no one hates her for simply being a Palestinian. That there are people out there who really care for her and her safety. And most of all that there is a chance for peace. She was overwhelmed by all of our love for her. And I decided that this article would instead be dedicated to her. To her strength, and that of all those on BOTH "sides of the fence" who question what they are told, acknowledge that we are all in fact the same, and reach out to each other with hope for peace for ALL.
Israel is "singled out" today, but by its friends and not just by its enemies. It has been singled out for unparalleled support - financial, military, diplomatic - by the western powers. It is indeed, to quote Ben-Ami, a "special case". Which other country is in receipt of $3billion a year in US aid, despite maintaining a 47-year military occupation in violation of international law? Which other country has been allowed to develop and stockpile nuclear weapons in secret?
In this climate, we should be thankful that those international human rights conventions, born out of the horrors of the Second World War, still hold as an ideal and standard to which we should all aspire. It is a sad day when signing up to those standards is regarded as counter to the pursuit of peace.
When Tony Blair claims it is religious or cultural difference that will fuel 21st century wars, not the ideologies that caused past wars (The Observer, January 26, 2014) he shows only a skewed notion of religion's place in society and history. He projects a narrow idea of what it means to be religious, and diverts attention from other, more systemic problems.
What would life be like in a prison camp? We can postulate about dirty, cramped conditions but few of us will ever experience anything remotely resembling such an ordeal. It is even hard to imagine. The only given is that we would live in hope of being liberated from our nightmare. We would expect to be rescued as quickly as humanly possible.