March 22, 2004
When I read a ‘Letter to the Editor’ from someone in Israel, I think: “Uh-oh, another typically pro-Israel opinion”. Same for a call to radio call-in show – we know what that Egyptian or Australian is going to say. We label, we stereotype.
I feel reluctant writing this and sending it out for the same reason. Silly thing is, that, in this case, I am the object of my own criticism.
But that should not be a reason to stop putting my feelings down in black and white, and hoping that I am not viewed as one-track person.
I am currently flying overseas. I heard the news about the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin early this morning. This is a big event. So all that I have been meaning to write lately, but didn’t because of ‘my label’ can now be typed.
On page 2 of this morning’s Jerusalem Post, Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s ex-chief of staff and current defense minister declared a ‘systematic war’ against Hamas, the ‘strategic enemy’. On the front page, nothing. Clear proof that the Yassin’s death was still in the pipelines.
If target killing was the intention, this was a bullseye.
Few Israelis will be unhappy. The reaction will range from ecstasy to cautious wariness. The death of our ‘Bin Laden’ will not solve our problems.
Let me throw out some observations of the last fortnight’s events…
Madrid – for the World at large, a horror. For us in the dental world, hollowness. March 11 was the first day of Expodental in Madrid. The neighboring hall was used as the morgue; any dental person going outside for a private phone call or a smoke, became a peeping tom, confronting grieving families and friends.
The show went on; albeit at slow pace. Cancel the show? Give in to terrorism? The Spanish voter certainly did.
What a dumb mistake to continue blaming ETA until the last possible moment before the election, when it was becoming more and more likely that Islamic extremists were involved. A country with polls showing 90% against the war in Iraq. Dumb. And now they are going to abandon that war ion Iraq which, like it or not, is the front line in that war against terrorism.
Succumb, let ‘em win. Let the others suffer the consequences.
Khoury Jnr was killed a couple of days ago; shot while jogging in a Jerusalem neighborhood. Al Aqsa claimed responsibility with the usual enthusiasm…until the news came out that Khoury was an Arab Christian, whose father is a leading lawyer, known for representing Palestinians in the current situation. Al Aqsa apologises profusely. “We thought he was a Jew”. At yesterday’s funeral, attended by, for the first time since the start of the Intifada, ministers within the Palestinian council and the mayor of Jerusalem, one of Arafat’s men stated that Khoury was now a martyr for the Palestinian cause. Khoury’s mother rushed to interrupt. “An angel, not a martyr”.
How dare terrorism play with our lives, even our minds.
So how do we fight terrorism? Well, of course we do not yet have the answer. Innocent lives are going to be lost either way. But we need to be reminded that the reason we find no answer is that the terrorist are changing life’s rules.
Think about it:
One terrorist attack out of 100 succeeds, and (a democratic) society considers it a failure.
That same 1 attack out of 100 is considered a success by the terrorists.
Kill the spiritual leader of a terrorist organisation, and we know there will be rage in the many parts of the Arab world. Do the same to 20 innocents in Israel (Jew or Arab) and there is rejoicing by that same crowd.
Spiritual leader? Some of the criticism against Israel is because it has attacked the spiritual leader, not involved in the politics. Apart from being unquestionably untrue, the fact that his replacement is Mr. Rantisi, perhaps the most outspoken Hamas leader, confirms Yasin’s deadly involvement.
March 25 – And now the incredible pictures of the 14 year-old Palestinian boy trying to set off the explosives strapped to his body – in front of the camera. Do we need such a bomb to actually explode on camera to make us realise that they’re playing by different rules?
What hope is there?
I am left with the bitter taste of one of the ‘attacks that failed’. “Don’t kill our children” they scream. Yet they pay a 12 year-old the equivalent of $1 to cross the border with a satchel full of explosives. The remote detonator, to be set off by a mobile phone, somehow failed to work.
Perhaps we should build some kind of security fence…….
A 12 year-old kid.
Sorry – I really didn’t want to write all about this. Much more fun to tell you about our day out at Mini Israel, our wonderful version of Holland’s Maduradam (right spelling?) – or my discussions with friends about being the first around to have seen “Passion of the Christ”. (Well, if it ever comes to Israel, which I hope it does, only to prove again that this is an open society, then I would be faced with seeing a film in Aramaic and Latin, with Hebrew subtitles. An experience maybe….).