Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gaza escalation-1: The outcry which was not heard

A week ago the veteran peace activist Benny Gefen wrote a Letter of Outcry which he sent to the country's leaders as well as to the editorial offices of all newspapers in Israel, and so did he write:

The Prime Minister and Minister of Defense wore their suitable jackets, being photographed with great self-satisfaction beside the great quantity of smuggled arms which Israel's navy seized on board the "Victoria". It is a shame to spoil the fun, but as one who participated in smuggling arms to the Haganah under British rule I know that it is impossible to hermitically seal borders. Sooner or later, Gaza will be strongly armed, like Lebanon.

The country's political and military leadership have not truly come to terms with the fundamental change in the preparations which must be made towards a new conflict in our region. In the next war, if we are not wise enough to prevent it, the Home Front will be heavily bombarded. By media reports, Hezbollah was already a year ago in possession of 40 000 rockets, including accurate Scuds; and the Gaza Strip, Iran and Syria all provide similar threats.

We must remember what havoc was wrecked by 39 obsolete missiles shot from Uraq in the 1991 Gulf War, and how primitive missiles made life in Northern Israel into hell during the Second Lebanon War. The government it trying to reassure us with singing the praises of the Arrow anti-missile-missile, forgetting how hugely expensive each one of these missiles is – in Shekels and Dollars alike.

We invest/bury billions in extremely expensive aircraft and submarines. Just the other day Barak gave voice to the wish that the U.S. will generously come up with an additional 20 billion Dollars to meet our needs due to the upheavals in the region.

The only real solution is to put an end to the hatred which the Arab- Muslim World bears us. A hatred founded upon the continuing occupation and the mutual religious incitements.

We still can act, but time is running out. We do not need any more self-righteous speeches by the Prime Minister, nor any more incisive but hollow words from the Minister of Defence. We need our leaders to take a brave decision and implement it.

The letter did get published in several newspapers, but it's hard to say that it actually reached the ears of the decision makers. In this country, a man recently resigned who served as Head of the National Security Council, who had an explicit role defined by law to advise the decision makers, and who found that even his actual impact on the decisions taken was minimal, to say the least.

Who would listen, then, to a man who spent much of his life in Israel's wars and then became a peace activist, who got safely through many battles but lost his son in Lebanon - a man who accumulated quite a bit of wisdom and experience but never received any appointment to advise the decision-makers?