The Real Israel

The hair on the floor is mine. It was removed from my head out of sheer, unadulterated frustration. I shoveled snow today simply to release pent up anger. It is time to put my foot down and ask the world what it expects. Israel has been bombarded by more than 8,000 rockets over the past eight years by the Palestinian group Hamas, and when Israel stands up to defend its citizens, it is denounced by the international community. Its most recent move, a direct assault into Gaza to cut off terrorism at the source, sparked worldwide protests. What makes me want to scream, however, is how the Palestinians victimize themselves while my friends have been spending nights in bomb shelters for years as a result of Palestinian rocket attacks. I heard on the news today that Israel is responsible for “genocide.” Having been to Israel, having friends who have fought in its army and as a person who is seriously considering joining the Israeli army, I find it hard to believe that Israeli soldiers would just waltz into Gaza with guns blazing, murdering innocent civilians. This is the same country that drops leaflets into cities it is about to attack, warning enemy civilians to stay inside. This is a humanitarian country, a country where life is valued above all else. This is the same beautiful, tragic country that traded several high-profile prisoners for the dead bodies of two of its soldiers so that they could be given a proper burial. One of those prisoners, Samir Kuntar, invaded the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, where he shot and killed civilian Danny Haran as Haran’s four-year-old daughter, Einat, watched her father die. But she did not have to watch her father suffer for long, because Kuntar proceeded to smash her head in, killing her as well. This year, Kuntar was awarded Syria’s highest medal and is regarded as a national hero. This man was traded back to Lebanon for two dead bodies. Clearly Israel is not a country that would send its children to war without careful consideration. Rather they are the victims of a sadly flawed, irrational Arab culture. Yet when a democratic country tries to put an end to this madness, its leaders are portrayed as murderers. Knowing what I do about the value Israel places on human life, I knew when I read that Israeli soldiers had killed 350 Palestinian civilians in its most recent offensive that there was something I was not being told. It took a little research to find the other side of the story: Israel so far has killed 130 Hamas militants. It makes me furious to hear that “innocent victims are being slaughtered indiscriminately,” when 130 people killed are murderers or would -be murderers of my people. The other victims, while their deaths tragic, are collateral damage in a war where the enemy hides rockets under schools, houses and mosques. These are a people that don’t have adequate medical supplies because they hide rockets in hospitals and scream when Israel blows them up. Arab mothers send their children onto rooftops of buildings with bombs in them so that the Israeli will not shoot. No, you say in disbelief, humans are not that heartless. But suicide bombings are just one example of a culture with complete disregard for human life. As Golda Meir famously said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Maybe you missed the story this summer about the 13-year-old suicide bomber. It’s a wonder why peace has not come yet. The middle ground has already been passed over. In 2005 Israel forcefully removed thousands of its citizens living in Gaza so that the Palestinians could have a home, only to see rocket attacks from Gaza increase by 500 percent in the following months. Hamas has time and time again violated cease-fire agreements by lobbing more rockets into Israel. Israel cannot live for another year with the fear of rocket bombardment any longer. The facts are above, the lies are on TV and the internet, and Israel can sit still no longer. Thus, do not label our best democratic ally in the Middle East as a murderer. There is an old adage about a man who is walking alongside a river when he sees a child float by. Quickly jumping into the river, he rescues the child. A short while later he sees another child float down the river. He repeats his actions. This continues to happen until the man finally walks upstream to figure out who is throwing children into the river. As a person who has been to Israel, talked to the Israeli people and experienced the Israeli culture, it is finally time that Israel goes up the river to confront the ones throwing their children into danger. Kenny Gould is a one-year Senior from Matthews, NC.