Saturday, August 19, 2006

Can the misunderstanding be corrected?

Zeinobia recently wrote that in her opinion, Hezbollah won the battle.

@Zeinobia: this may surprize you, but I think most Israelis would agree with quite a few of the things you wrote in that post. Israel certainly underestimated Hezbollah's abilities. There is one thing, however, which I feel I must respond to. You wrote that:

"The fighting spirit of Hezbollah fighters is much greater than the one the IDF soldiers .... [because] ... They are defending their land ... "
Zeinobia - please let me assure you with 100% certainty: the IDF soldiers absolutely believe they are fighting to defend their land, the lives of their families and the lives of everyone in Israel.

Why did I feel that it is so important for me to clarify this point? Because this small sentence you wrote on your blog - that Israeli soldiers do not believe they are defending their land - indicated to me a huge and terrible misunderstanding of Israelis by you.

I have learned, through the discussion on this blog, that - at the root of the Arab Israeli conflict - is a terrible misunderstanding of Arabs by Israelis, and a terrible misunderstanding of Israelis by Arabs. By listening to you, I have come to believe that Israelis consistently misinterpret Arab intentions, and that Arabs consistently misinterpret Israeli intentions.

If this conflict is to ever end - it is crucial that each side obtain a better understanding of the other. If that does not happen - the bloodshed will go on, because you will continue to believe most Israelis are murderers that only want to steal land and oppress Arabs, and Israelis will keep believing Arabs are told by their religion to murder our children and us.


Our discussions have convinced me that the Arab people are not the monsters that most Israelis believe you to be. But this has created two new dillemas for me:

1. How can I convince other Israelis of this?
2. How can I convince you Arabs that the Israeli people are not the monsters you believe us to be?

12 comments:

Mohamed Maher said...

you have reached a very important clue, for me, i want to know u people better , how do u think and how do u see the arabs and i want to tell about how the arabs see the israelis.
and i think that could be reached by putting all the truths infront of us, and to know all the israelis thoughts and arabs thoughts.
and i want u to ask us about anything about the arabs and their ideas, and when we tell u them u can correct us if we were wrong in something.
and if we asked u a question try to answer it to clarify us.
i really wish to know how do the isrealis believe that this land is theirs, and if u were born here ur father wasn't born here , so how does he believe that it is his land while he was living in another country. tell us how do u see this thing to clarify us.

Israeli Blogger said...

@Mohamed - You and I share the same attitude. I am so glad to read your words!

Let me start by doing as you ask, and correcting you when you are wrong in something: you said my father was not born here.

I was born in Israel in 1969 (in Jerusalem). My father was born in Israel in 1942 (also in Jerusalem). My mother was born near Hadera (which was recently hit by Hezbollah missiles) in 1946. My grandmother from my father's side was born in Jerusalem, as were her parents.

My other 3 grandparents were born in what is now Russia or Poland - I don't really know - but they fled to Israel when they were persecuted by their neighbors in the early 1930's. They came to Israel as part of an organized effort to free Jews from European brutality. Most of their immediate family members were murdered by the Nazis in WWII.

My wife's father was born in Poland. He came to Israel as a refugee from WWII, having survived a Nazi camp. He was one of the lucky ones who did not die of hunger in those camps. Both his parents were killed by the Nazis. He was rescued from the Nazi camp by his cousin. This cousin was living in Palestine/Israel, and was a member of a Jewish brigade in the British military whose task was to rescue Jewish survivers.

All of my grandparents (and my wife's father) have already passed away, so it is too late for me to ask them how they felt when they came here - but I can tell you what I remember from their stories.

For one - I remember that my grandfather, when he came here, had several Arab co-workers, with whom he worked peacefully - long before the state of Israel was founded.

I also remember that when my father was a small child in Jerusalem, he and his friends had to walk to school hidden behind a brick wall - because Jordanian snipers would shoot at them otherwise.

I will try to remember more stories.

Israeli Blogger said...

@Mohamed - one more thing I forgot to mention: when my 3 grandparents came here, the country was not being ruled by the Palestinians - it was under British occupation. When my grandmother was born here, the country was also not being ruled by the Palestinians - but was under Turkish occupation.

Egyptian-in-USA said...

To Mohamed Maher,

You are right regarding your comment on my last comment. Of course muslims have the right and duty to protect their land from any one trying to invade it. When I narrated Prophet Mohamed Hadith about not to hurt any Zemi (Christian or Jews), of course I meant Christian or Jews living in peace in Muslims country and not invaders.

To IB: You said:

"the country was not being ruled by the Palestinians - it was under British occupation. When my grandmother was born here, the country was also not being ruled by the Palestinians - but was under Turkish occupation."

This line of thought will not go any where because:

1- You are implying that since those palestanians were occupied by first Turkish and then English then why should not they be happy with Isreali occupation. This is very weak logic.

2- In many muslims eyes, there was no "turkish occupation", it was simply one muslim state ruled by a turkish man, which is go in Islam because there is no such thing as race. Any muslim; whether white or black, arab or turkish or persian or mexican or french is eligible to rule the muslim state upon the approval of the muslims.

Egyptian-in-USA said...

instead of "which is go" I meant "which is OK"

Israeli Blogger said...

Dear Mohamed Maher and Egyptian-in-USA: I want to ask you to try and put yourself in my shoes, and imagine how I FEEL about the things we Israelis hear from Arabs.


I was born and raised here. I have no other home. My father and my mother were born and raised here. They have no other home. My grandmother and her parents before her were born here, and are buried here. My other grandparents spent almost all of their lives here, and are buried here.

I live in a house, with my wife and children. I have worked hard for many years to buy this house. I did not steal it from anyone. I paid for it with my own money. I did not steal this money: I worked honestly to earn it. Your people are telling me to give up my house.

How do you think I FEEL about these demands?

DGListen said...

dear Mohamed Maher,
I can understand the anger and frustration of the Arab people about Israel. I don't like the way we use so much force and violence against Palestinians and Lebanese.

But as I said - I want to exist here. If you tell me that you are willing to find a way in which I can have my state here beside a palestinian state - we can live together with peace and respect, and there will be no need for the violence to continue.

I share the vision of Egyptian-in-usa that this could be a great place if we could join forces.

Let us accept each other and leave the violence. If we keep trying to proove each other that we are the right and the other is wrong - it will lead nowhere.

I feel it is useless to enter a dispute about the history, the bible and the Koran, the sons of Abraham (which actually means that we are brothers) and other stories.

Let's just live in peace and try to respect each other's concerns and aspirations.

What is your vision Mohamed? what do you want for the region? for the future of humanity?

Israeli Blogger said...

@Mohamed Maher: I have told you a bit about my family's history. I would really like to hear more about your family's history. Are you willing to share?

Tarek said...

This may be a bit off topic, but I want to know the answer of such question.
Do you really believe that you have the right to occupy Palestine and kick its people out just coz you wanna stay there? And do you really believe that it is your right to declare war on another country and kill tousands of civilians just coz a military group there has captured two of your soldiers, given that your country is occupying part of that country, and having POW's from it. And guess what those POW's were captured the same way Hezbollah has captured your sacred soldiers?
May be I am missing something, but it's really hard for me to get your own point of view.

Mohamed Maher said...

dear IB and dglisten,
I believe that anyone who was born in this land before 1948, belongs to this land, but as long as he was born before 1948 so he was born as palestinian, and he has the right to live their all his life. but when the israeli country was established on the land of palestine this was totally wrong because they were jewish from allover the world who came to take this land from their people to form a new country (i'm not talking here about the jewish people who were born on the land of palestine but i would condemn them if they helped others in the establishment of isarel) i want u to imagine if the americans came and occupied tel aviv and said that we will make it a new country for christians !!!
i believe that u feel that it is not ur problem , but it is the problem of ur ancestors, and it is now history, but we arabs don't see it as a history , we still want to return our lands and to let the palestinian refugees return to their land, and all the time we hope and we pray that jeursalem returns to us (jeursalem is a holy place for the muslims and it has been a part of the arab world all over the history and allover the history muslims and jewish and christians used to go their eachone to his holy palce peacefully and even all of them used to live their peacefully, but now we muslims can't go to our holy palces in jeursalem).
i believe that if i were an israeli citizen and i lived at this land all the time i would feel this is the place that i belong to, but when i realize that this country was fromed from less than 60 years only !! on the land of others , and it made many wars with all its neighbours, and the army of this country killed millions and millions of children !
then i would ask myself is the occurance of this country is right or not ! why all this people hate it , may be the grandparents who came and took this land were wrong, but at this moment the one that feels so should take an action, i think when he knows the real truth around him , he would be against the formation of israel, and he would fight to return the right back to its people , because i think u as a jewish belive that when u die , u will face god, and he will ask u about what u did on earth , did u give the rights to his people or not, we live only once , i think we have to do the right thing in it...
i want u to just ask urself " are we right ?? are we walking on the right track? or are we moving on a wrong track wich was drawn by our ancestors" and try to see and hear new media other than urs , try to hear the arabic media , may be they are right and may be the israeli media could be deciving u...may be...
and for IB,
about my family, my parents are totally egyptians and even my grand parents and all their relatives, we have been all our history living on this land and no one of my ancestors were from any other country , thats why this is my land and the land of my ancestors.
my father used to tell me stories about jewish people used to live in egypt, and how they were friends , no difference between them, and that he used to play with them when he was young...
i hope things return as used to be before 1948....at this year things changed, the meaning of discrimination was clear.

DGListen said...

Dear Mohamed and Tarek,
I can understand the anger and pain in your words. I think that if my land was invaded by foreigners and they would kick me out of here - i would react the same and fight them to have my land back. and this is exactly what happened in the history.

Why did the Jewish people come back to israel?
They believed that after they were kicked out of Israel few times, they have the right to go back there and have a national home.

If you want to read about the history i can recommend:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism

I know that there were a lot of mistakes done in the way the Jewish people treated the existing arabic population in Palestine. I want to change it and try to reach a better situation for everyone.

But really - if you have any complaints about the Jews who came back to their land you should post it to the UN or to all the countires that supported the UN resolution in 1947 to establish a jewish state beside the palestinian state in Palestine.

in the meanwhile - why don't we, young people of the future of the world take responsibility and make peace, reconcile, build a better future for our children and maybe for ourselves? I promise that we can find a solution to prevent more pain and misery of the palestinians

life is much more than wars and bloodshed. Listen to Anwar el Saadat, former president of Egypt. Why he was willing to make peace with us?

Pay attention. the israelis are not only warriors and killers. there are many like me and IB that really want to find a way to live together with respect and dignity. can u join us?

Zeinobia said...

Sorry for my late reply but I believe it is never too late regarding what the other said I believe that conflict became too hard know you know why because there people like you were born in this land we and you are fighting on
about the IDF , let's go back to the reasons of why hezbollah did what it had done , because it wants to liberate its P.O.W , already this technique of capturing IDF soldiers and exchanging them with the P.O.W was used and it is famous technique , Hezbollah didn't lunch any missile except as a reaction for the massive attack and compared to what happened in Lebanon , it is weak reaction
I.B what really happened unfortunately didn't have to do with anything with the security of Israel in fact now the security of Israel is in much danger than before , because now Hezbollah is destoryed , there will be hundreds of Hezbollah from those young generations of southerns Lebanese kids who lost everything
All this for what for a new middle East the United States want , condeleeza Rice the Second day of the attack she said so , but this new middle East will hurt everyone included the Israelis
Those Israelis from IDF and citizens killed in the war was for an american agenda
by the way as much I hate Ariel Sharon yet I believe he was much better than Ehud Olmert