protested. I haven't done so in years. I think the last time was in 1996 or
1997 a year or two after Yitzhak Rabin was shot. Since then I kept thinking
that protests were not for me. I didn't want to belong to them and kept finding
excuses why not to go.
week I protested. I could no longer stand aside and watch from afar. I felt I
had to do something. I talked to people, I posted comments and articles on Facebook
but I do that every day on everyday issues. This time it was different, this
time I had to do something completely different. I had to do something.
start from the beginning. After the Hamas took over Gaza strip, Israel launched
a blockade on the Gaza strip. The
humanitarian situation in Gaza only got worse after the Israeli operation two
years ago. There have been several trials to break the blockade by peace and
human rights activists from both Israel and from around the world. In the last
few weeks Israel had been preparing itself for the arrival of the Gaza Flotilla
Aid. Several ships consisting of both activists from around the world and aid supplies
made their way towards Gaza. As the
flotilla finally approached, they were offered several options of delivering
the aid to Gaza (i.e. cargo checks, etc.) but they refused.
not responding to the Israeli calls to be escorted by the navy vessels to Ashdod Harbor, Israeli
soldiers started what was supposed to be a take-over on the ship—with very few resistance.
As the soldiers went onboard however they were attacked by the people on the
boat with iron poles, clubs, axes and stones. The peace activists snatched the soldier's
weapons and shot at them. Israeli soldiers fired back. After several hours the
event ended with 9 activists being killed, dozens were hospitalized, at least 8
Israeli soldiers were also hospitalized, and 2 of them are in a critical
thinking about it the whole day. Every five minutes I would check the news to
see maybe if new information had surfaced—perhaps something different then what
we had been hearing. How could it be that there are 9 people dead (during the
day it was said to have 10-20 people)? I must admit that I typically have much
to say about the Israeli policy of dealing with issues such as these, but 9 people
dead in what was supposed to be a non-violent struggle? Something was wrong.
day moved on, slowly the picture started to become clearer. It wasn't a
non-violent struggle at all! The activists engaged in a violent act against the
same system that they feel engage in violent acts against those living in the Gaza
strip. The peace activists attacked the soldiers and in return Israeli soldiers
reacted in a violent way.
point, understand that I'm not only mad at the Israeli government for being
violent to the Palestinian people, but I am also mad at these so called "peace"
activists that aroused such a violent act! I can understand the need and urge
to bring the struggle to the attention of the public. But I can't understand
choosing the way of violence. I believe that in order for the cycle of violence
to stop, a person has to break it in a non-violent way. "Solving" it
in a violent way only produces more violence. And if you don't believe me –
look at this week’s events.
couldn’t stand still and let it pass me by. I had to stand up and call for a
change. Change in perception, Change in policy, Change in activity! As the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once
said, hate begets hate. If we want to break the cycle we must meet the forces
of hate and violence with love. He also relayed the strong message that in
confronting forces of hate and violence, we need to remember that for the
non-violent resister our goal is never to forcefully defeat or humiliate our
opponent but to win their friendship and understanding. You cannot combat violence with violence, only
nonviolence can triumph violence.
starts in each and every one of us; in each and every step we make toward
saying this is not what we want! It's standing and saying this is not what I
signed up for—I don’t want to accept this anymore! Even if we don't know what
should happen, even if we don't know how to do it, we still know something has
very insecure about my attitudes, about what I can do to change it. I felt
frustrated and hopeless. But this Monday nothing stopped me – not homework, not
the lack of friends and people I know in the protest and not even the need to
justify myself to my friends and family.