Saturday, July 29, 2006

I'm overwhelmed

Wow. I really appreciate the comments - from all of you: Zeinobia, Blue, EngineeringChange, march14yuppi and Mohamed Maher.

You all wrote so much, it will take me a while to digest everything you said. The time I can allocate to blogging is somewhat limited, as I also have a family and a job... so what I plan to do is to address your comments across several posts - a few points in each post, in no particular order. Please excuse me for not being able to answer everything at once.

Zeinobia, thank you for accepting my invitation. I also wanted to tell you that I really appreciate what you said to "egyptian" on your blog. I hope one day he will be able to join discussions such as ours.

In your letter to me you said:
> I am afraid this mutual respect is lost from your side not from ours

Indeed, some people on my side have lost this respect for your side. A very large number have not. I am glad I have the opportunity to demonstrate this to you, and I am even happier to learn that there is still such respect on your side.

> This mutual respect means that our children are not less than your
> children , our civilians are not less value than yours
> Believe me I would feel the same if this baby was Israeli ,angry
> and sad because I am human

I believe you. And please believe me - there are soooo many Israelis who share your view. We are also human. Seeing dead babies is so terrible, most of us simply choose not to look. There are many dead babies on the Israeli side, too.

> second because I am a muslim , Islam respects human rights
> and doesn't call for fight except if the other starts it and in
> this case your government started ,it starts it every single time

Zeinobia - I have a feeling this may be a key point to our discussion. Please allow me to save my answer to this, and to the rest of your letter, to an upcoming post.

EngineeringChange, you said:
> I.B you said "We need to understand what is driving
> the current hatred, and what can be done to stop it."
> Although the history is crucial, I think this way
> of thinking does need to prevail to reach peace.

I am so glad you agree with me. This will help us engage in a meaningful discussion. You asked me why I think the Arabs are angry at us. I will try to answer your question in the next few days. I have much to think about here - and this dialog, with all of you, is helping me learn.

Blue, thank you for joining. You said:
> I know your open dialoged was addressing
> Zenobia, but I believe that you mean open
> dialogue with anyone in the 1st place. So please
> allow me to take part :)

I addressed Zeinobia because I saw in her blog that she and I share respect for human lives. Your blog is in Arabic, so I couldn't read it :-) But I have a feeling we share that same respect. Of course you are welcome to take part!

Blue, you asked - "Do you think any arab would be convinced with such phrase" (And the more we fear, the harder we bite)".

I wasn't trying to convince anyone. I was simply stating my opinion. It is based on personal introspection, and on observations of human beings. I think it is true of Arabs just as it is true of Israelis. (It is also true of cats, BTW :-)

I believe march14yuppi shares my view here. He pointed this out when he said:

> You beleive tha the power of the israeli army
> comes from fear and not from F16s? That's fine by me.
> then you should be in the best position to understand
> why your actions are making hizbollah and their
> supporters stronger. You are augmenting their hatered
> and fear from you.

@march14yuppi: You and I are in total agreement here. I don't think many Israelis doubt that we've planted the seeds for Hizballa 2.0. The vast majority of Israelis simply feel, at the current time, that we have no other choice. This just shows what fear can do.

As for the F-16s: yes, we have F-16s, and F-15s and tanks and cannons and probably a full arsenal of other things I don't know about. But what drove us to get them is fear. And if they weren't being supplied by the US, our fear would have driven us to find them elsewhere. And most importantly: what drives us to operate them is fear.

There are other drivers, too, but when there is less fear: most of the Israeli population advocates restraint. When there is less fear, Israel becomes less aggressive.

@Blue, you also said:
> fear comes from the lack of justice.
> fear comes from the lack of self confidence.
> fear comes from a lost case.
> fear comes to real murderers at night when
> see the ghosts of the murdered childerns, wifes,
> old men and poor citizens with no justified reason but "Terror and fear".

I don't think we, as Israelis, lack self confidence. I think perhaps many Israelis have too much of it. And I think that this overconfidence is dangerous when it is combined with fear. As for justice and a lost case: that's something I would like to return to in another post.

I ask you to understand that Israelis are not murderers any more than you are. Both sides have killed, and are still killing. The numbers do not matter. There are too many dead children, wives, old men and poor citizens on both sides.

Blue, the fear in Israel right now is coming from thousands of rockets being fired at us, coupled with promises to "wipe us off the map" and "drown us in the sea", along with suicide bombers trying to kill our children. And don't underestimate the power of the "wipe us off the map" promise. Bombs falling with this sort of promise are very frightening. I know there is great fear on the Lebanese side too. I just wanted you to know that we also feel this.

@Mohamed: you said you are happy that Hizballa make us feel fear. Please try to understand: Hizballa is not doing anything new. We have been feeling fear for decades. We also feared the Arab armies in 1973. This is the point I was trying to emphasize: making us fear is not going to solve anything. It is achieving the opposite. Hizballa are simply perpetuating the cycle of violence. Israel is still bombing Lebanon because we are afraid of what will happen if we stop.

@Blue, you also asked why I didn't say that I am happy when Palestinians or Lebanese are killed. The reason is that I am not happy when they are killed. Most Israelis are not. And when Israeli extremists murder innocent Palestinians, I, along with millions of other Israelis, am happy to see these murderers put in jail.

I do not deny that there are a lot of Israelis who do not feel like I do. A very large group of Israelis is trapped in their hate and in their fear and their righteousness. This group spawned Yigal Amir - who murdered our majority-elected Prime Minister, because our Prime Minister returned land to the Palestinians.

If there is ever going to be a way out of this cycle of violence: it is up to people like me and people like you - people who respect the value of human lives - regardless of whether we are Israeli or Arab - to work together and find a way to restrain our extremists, and hopefuly find a way out of this terrible situation.

Again, thank you all - I will post again in a few days.



EngineeringChange said...

I am glad this dialogue is taking place--but I know it is very difficult trying to find the time to write well-thought out reponses. I have left the blogsphere for months at times because I did not have enough time for it all.

Looking forward to your next post.

Egyptian-in-USA said...

Dear all,

Few years ago I talked to an Israeli classmate (born in Israel, living in the USA now) over here and I asked him if he would confess that the land they are living on are Palestinian land, he said: YES. I asked him how could you sleep at night if you knew this. He said: What else we could do and he told me stories about how his grand parents were treated in Europe.

Since this discussion I can not stop thinking about this:

- Did not the Jews get prosecuted in Europe while they were honored in Egypt, Morocco and other Muslim countries?

- Did not the Jews had a golden age in Moore-Spain while they were brutally converted to christinity under Isabella-Fernando-inquisition-Spain?

- What happen if the Jews have real peace with Muslims and were free to invest and live in all Islamic countries like they used to do before 1948? How could that affect the middle east? What could the marriage between Israeli-Technology, Gulf-money and Muslim-manpower and Arabic-markets generate? Could this turn the Middle East including its Jewish population into the world super-power?

What would Israel lose to gain the Muslims' friendship? Is it really much in return for this amazing dream?

Does it worth all this blood to keep what Israel have now? Is it better to be jewish citizens of a super-power middle-east or Isreali citizens of a militrized country engaged in wars 24/7?

Why can not the Jews live again in peace among the Muslims that have treated them better than any other nation in history?

Do you think it is too late for Israel to gain the Muslims' trust and open a new page in history?

Did you know that Prophet Mohamed said that whoever harm a Zemi (Christian and Jews living among muslims) then I (the Prophet) will be against him in the day of judgement?

Do the Muslims really ask for much in return for an ever lasting peace? I could think of few basic demands:

1- Just allow the palestinians to go back to their country. Give them equal rights as Isreali living there.

2- Compensate the palestinians for the years they spend as refugees.

3- Apologize for all these years of killing Arab soldiers, kids and women.

4- Welcome back to the neighbourhood and be sure that Arabs (muslims) will protect you from any European discrimination in the future just as we did under the rule of Saleh Eldin who fought the crusders that killed every jew and muslim in Al-Quds.

5- Let us build together a superpower middle-east where freedom and justice will be the basic rights of every citizen no matter what is his/her religion, race, or skin-, hair- or eye-colors :)

EngineeringChange said...

I like your sentiment egyptian, but it is very idealist--i wish it were all possible.

But to be realistic, I think it simply will not happen.

"Do you think it is too late for Israel to gain the Muslims' trust and open a new page in history? "

Yes it is right now. If we have a generation or two with peace in Palestine and a return of all occupied lands then maybe this dream can become a reality.

nuriennium said...

Today, I was surfing some blogs I used to visit – urs is one of them – and I found ur post to Zeinobia!! I thought this can’t b true. I went back to zeinobia’s – which is one of them too ;) – and it was there too to confirm the fact that earth is too small to live in unnoticed and undetermined to make a difference, coz u can.
Any way, I’m spreading the news, taking blue’s word, to open this dialog to all.
In this fashion, I toke the pleasure inviting sarah of “Chayyei Sarah” – as she is also one of them – to the dialog.
So, can I ask for a new spot in the round table? and don’t u worry, I’ll bring my own chair with me ;)

Mohamed Maher said...

hi all,
i really like this conversation , because it makes us all see the real truth, i like ur way of thinking israeli and ur way of talking.
i totally agree with the words of egyptian, i think he is walking on the right track.
i just want u to answer me isreali, do u feel that u r living on ur land ?
do u feel that u r giving justice to the palestini people ?
what do u know about arabs and about muslims ?
i feel that u are a good peaceful person, but i wish that u were not one of the people who stole our lands.
try to put yourself in our place, and think as if u were an arabic person, what shall u feel about the israeli people who kills your friends and family.
i want to tell u something, it is good that you are searching for peace, but that won't differ with us as long as u are taking our land and living on it.
at least i wish that the isreali people stop killing the lebaneese and palesteini citizens, when u do that , the war will stop , and u will build many bridges between u and the arabs around u.
i'm waiing for ur next words, and to hear ur thoughts and opinions, and i wish that the war would be stopped when i read ur next words.
Mohamed Maher..