Sarah, Tunisia

June 20, 2012

Hi,

I teach french in Tunisia 

Do you really think that you have the right to kill people and call it self defense?

Do you find normal that you have the right to fight for your survival but when it’s another that makes the same thing so you call it terrorism?¬†I do not accept that a suicide bomber blew himself up in downtown Tel Aviv but I think that is inhuman too that Gasa trap under bombardment for 10 days.

If one day I took your home and say that you have no right anymore, you don’t even have the right to be a humain-been , what will be your reaction ? oh yes you ll fight for your life, so accept that palestinians do the same, because your war it’s unfair.

Hello Sara,

You are passionate and care about the Middle East, and that is a good thing. My only problem with your email is that you make a lot of generalizations. What specifically has Israel done that you disapprove of? Operation Cast Lead perhaps? My other question to you, is if you understand the entire history of the conflict. In 1948, the United Nations voted on a two-state solution so that Israel (then Palestine) would be shared by Jews and Muslims alike in two states side by side. The Jews immediately accepted the solution, while the Arabs living here disagreed and promptly declared war. So when you mention Israel taking homes away…I find that an inadequate argument. If you are talking about the settlements than I would say that you are right to a certain extent, but even then the situation on the ground is probably much more complicated than most people understand. Just like mostly terrorists make the news on the side of the Arabs, so too mostly extremists right wing Jews make the news on Israels side. The reality is that most Jews want peace and to find a peaceful solution to live in harmony.

You ask at the beginning of your question if I believe I have the right to kill someone and call it self defense. First of all, though I was in a combat and in combat situations, I personally never killed anyone, or fired at anyone besides armed combatants, I also wonder what you suggest Israel does in response to the rocket attacks by Hamas. Just sit by and watch? Political sanctions (which are also widely criticized)? We have our hands tied so to speak, it seems that anything Israel does is considered brutality.

The first question that really needs to be asked, is does Israel have a right to exist? 60 years ago, in response to the heinous murder of 6 million innocent Jews, the world voted that the Jews do indeed need a country of our own. I believe that need for a Jewish homeland in Israel is still extremely relevant today. Look no further than Europe (even your very own France) and you will find wide-spread anti-semitism, and hate crimes committed against Jews. Israel is the only place they can come. If you disagree that Israel has a right to exist, than you and I have fundamental disagreements about the concept of humanity and the right of a people to have a safe place to live. If however you agree that Israel has a right to exist, than I would like to ask you what YOU think Israel should do in response to the several wars began by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iran and Lebanon (5 versus 1, is THAT fair??), and to today’s fight against terrorism in which Hamas fight from behind hospitals and schools – THIS is why they are called terrorist. Instead of merely confronting the Israeli army in open war-fare, they attack civilians and fight from behind their own civilians, which makes Israels task of morally defending herself extremely difficult. Israel’s challenge is extremely complicated and our army generals and politicians are every day faced with unfortunate decisions that involve trying to defend Israel while incurring minimal lateral damages.

Id be interested like I mentioned at the beginning of my response to know specific things that Israel has done that you disagree with that has caused you to call us “killers.” Than I would be happy to try and answer…

Thank you for your email,

Ami

Good morning,

I do understand the entire history of the conflict, and I admit that the decesion to not accept the solution of 1948 was so precipitated, and our tunisian president at the time, he was the only one who suggest to accept to share the land, but the other arabs leaders prefered the war.So yes you are right if you want to say that we started this war, but also it’s not as simple as that after centiries to say ‘oh it’s ok we will give you a part of our home’ and please I don’t want to discus who was there first b/c I will have enough argument as much as you have, both of jews and muslims and christiens lived there together since forever.

I want to respond to your question: What Israel has done that I disegree, well the question is what does Israel did not? I think even in war there are some rules that we have to respect no? I will be honest with you the Israeli army is better developed, better coached and of course it has more weapons and the most important is that Israel has the support of the United states and Britain, but Palestine it’s alone, unarmed, and you are doing everything to keep the population scattered. In french we say “c’est une guerre de nerfs” the problem it’s not simply the bombs but alway the fact they live in a continual fear, you will say it’s the same thing for israeli, yes that’s right, but if you want to travel do you have a passeport? do you have an identity? you have a LIFE and this is the point for me. It’s an unequal war in all sides, specially the humain side. Sara

Hello Sara,

First of all I would like to point out that the Palestinians are NOT unarmed. They are very armed – I saw this first hand. That said, you are right; Israel has a much larger army, better weapons, and better training. In that sense, it is not fair, but I dont think that it should be. This is not a fight that Israel has not picked, and when I personally have to go in to combat (which I wish I didnt), I would definitely use any advantages I have. You think Hamas wouldn’t use any advantages they could find?

I also don’t think Israel have broken any rules. In operation Cast Lead, in which my unit took part, I know for a fact that we did our missions very carefully and did our best to minimize any chances of civilian casualties – even to the point where it was more dangerous for us. Oppositely Hamas fought from behind mosques, hospitals and schools – thats not very brave or respectful if you ask me. Actually more than that, the concept of using human shields is absolutely disgusting.

One point you make though I am completely in agreement with. I DO think the Palestinians should be able to go about their daily business. In fact I think they should have their own state side by side with Israel. The biggest question is if the Palestinians are ready to govern their own state – and i think that at the moment they are not ready. But I think all possible steps should be taken to ensure that they will be ready sooner than later to govern themselves. Until that day comes, the unfortunate side effect of terrorism is that the Israeli army is forced to confront the Palestinian people to ensure security of Israelis.

-Ami

Thank you!

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