By Lillian Rosengarten
I woke up this morning from a nightmare. I dreamed of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish. Perhaps the world has forgotten or does not know about this Gazan physician who has dedicated his life to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. I had known about him and perhaps because this month is the birthday of my beloved son who died in 1996, I dreamed of this man whose three daughters were murdered while they slept in their beds in their home in the Jabaliya refugee camp. They were murdered by the Israeli Defense Force as they shot directly into their bedroom during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, January 2009.
Dr Abuelaish has dedicated his life to peace and had worked in Israel and Gaza, researching the effects of conflict related stress on Palestinian children in Gaza and Israeli children in Sderot. He wanted to know why the Israeli army shot into his home. If it was a mistake he wanted an apology. He was told by an anonymous source, “the Israeli Defense Force does not target innocents or civilians, and during the operation the army had been fighting an enemy that did not hesitate to fire from civilian targets.”
Why is the world silent? Why the punishment, the lies, savage killings, imprisonment, the denial of the Palestinians to exist in peace? By what moral authority, by what utter hubris and I dare say psychosis does Israel declare itself the owners of land seized and the building of settlements from the blood of Palestinians? Were Jews so brutalized during the Holocaust that morality and humanity has been replaced with irrational hate. How else can one explain the paranoia and ongoing fear of their own destruction. It is a dangerous and nihilistic premise that the survival of Israel is predicated on continuous abuse of Palestinians who must be kept hostage in occupied ghettos. Is the right to exist not also true for Palestinians? Why is one better than the other? And the children, are they not all our children?
It is painful to observe the past forty years, the land grabbing, military strength, the brutal occupation, killings, hatred and the suffering of children who if they survive grow up to hate their oppressors. Jews in turn are indoctrinated to hate Muslims. Once I wanted to admire the Israelis, I can no more. Instead, with a heavy heart I must now write of Israel’s cruel path. It is incredulous and I will not be silent. Much of the world still looks away as the United States remains complicit for their own political gains, to maintain a stronghold in the Middle East, to militarize, to secure bases and continue to engage in profiteering through the military industrial goals of war and death. What sorrow!
The nightmare reminds me of Jews held hostage, in ghettos of despair. Israelis cannot hear dissent. We know Jews are welcome in Israel and they come in droves to see the beloved “homeland” they have always longed for. They see what they want to see, an Israel for all Jews to return to. They justify the occupation and demonize Muslims. What they may not know is Jews like myself who resist, who dissent and oppose the occupation are not welcome and they, along with their Palestinian brothers and sisters have lost the right to “return.”
I anticipate a visit to Gaza next month to become an eye- witness. Please readers, stand with me in solidarity and for an end to the brutal occupation.
– Lillian Rosengarten, a refugee from Nazi Germany is a Buddhist practitioner, poet, writer and a pacifist. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.