UK ministers always seem to preface what they say about the crisis in Gaza by acknowledging Israel's right to self defence against attack. I agree with them about that. Actually, the Palestinians have the right of self defence too. The point is that neither can credibly be invoked to justify the carnage that is unfolding.
So, while the powers-that-be retreat to their various lairs and try to figure out how to stop killing each other long enough to re-stock their arsenals, here's my modest proposal: nobody is right. We are all wrong. Because you know there's another side to the story, and you are completely uninterested in trying to understand it.
On Sunday, I was in London preparing myself to go to Sheffield. I checked the news and the first photo I noticed is of my aunt and cousin along with their children. They were crying. This was scary enough for me to start unconsciously crying. Reading the news, I know that my family have no more homes or are dead.
The reason I'm writing to you today is to discuss things that happen here in Britain and in other European countries. You see, it seems that sometimes, some people find it difficult to distinguish between protesting against Israeli policy and abusing Jews here in Britain. You'd think the difference between the two would be fairly obvious, but apparently not. So in that spirit, and to help you tell right from wrong, here are a few tips.
The continuing conflict between Israel and Palestine is complex, far-reaching and historically rooted. Even the most conscientious and politically active individual may find it difficult to maintain a comprehensive level of awareness. However, events like the crash of MH17 remind us that even our privileged position in a peaceful Western nation can't protect us entirely from the fall-out of foreign conflicts.
Let me be clear that the answer does not lie in another military strike against Gaza that kills hundreds of civilians on beaches and in hospitals as much as in hideaways and on the battleground, wreaks havoc, puts paid to all arguments about proportionality as I understand them from my law years and then concludes balefully with a ceasefire that is not unlike previous documents.
This cannot go on. Humans live in Gaza, remarkably like us. They laugh, they cry, they die. But too many of them die before their time. And that is true for those 29 Israeli military boys who have died, none older than his 20s. Cannot their end be the starting point for something revolutionarily new? Getting inside each others heads, understanding the other, or is it all just too late?
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?
As Israeli military operations reignited in Gaza on July 8, the familiar indignant echo of "something must be done" rang out around the liberal and non-interventionist quarters of the Western world in a show of solidarity with the trampled Palestinian people that, while admirable, all too often fails to delineate exactly to whom the appeals for reason should be addressed.