Thursday, November 22, 2012

After the ceasefire

I give here the floor to my wife Beate, who shared with me the week of war in the sometimes targeted Holon. The following was originally written in Dutch, as a blog for the EAJG site (Een Ander  Joods Geluid / A Different Jewish Voice).

A snake in the grass

The ceasefire brought about a very strange experience:  I agreed with the government.  And that  after a week of pent-up anger against  that same government.

To begin at the beginning:  For the umpteenth time skirmishes around the Gaza border had taken  their toll – with deaths on the Palestinian side, while Israelis suffered  damage, and hours of fear. But it seemed last Tuesday to be really over. Not only was such an  impression given by ministers. Also, the Israeli negotiator Amos Gil'ad went November 14  to Cairo to officially announce that Israel regards   this round to be over. If we hadn’t known it already, it was confirmed  today in the Ma'ariv newspaper that this had been a  deliberate deception. Thus, the Hamas General Ahmed al Ja'abri was seduced to the fatal car ride with  his son – al Ja’abri’s car was subsequently hit by an Israeli precision bomb . In his pocket, the proposal for a long-term ceasefire that had to be worked out in further negotiations. Unofficial negotiator Gershon Baskin, in ordinary life a peace activist, was furious and could no longer keep quiet.

Meanwhile we people of the region went through a thousand fears, counting  hundreds of dead and injured , and the cultural and economic heart Tel Aviv has become part of the Gaza shooting range – not to speak  of  the exploded bus hours before the ceasefire.

And now those same negotiations for a longer-term truce just pick up where they left off. No wonder that Israelis wonder what Israel actually won with its show of force. During the days of warfare you heard criticism against the government only from the handful of "peace-fanats"  to which I count myself. Now I tend to defend  the government against  those who claim that "we should have continued and should have torn Gaza   to pieces"  instead of  "allowing Hamas the victory". Hamas representatives also  saw themselves as the victors, and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,  after a week of continuous day and night bombing , were in jubilation now that it was over  .

So, I am glad that Netanyahu & Co dared to interrupt the war euphoria, and this time not to exceed the limits of the American ally, and actually awarding a success  to Morsi, the new Egyptian Muslim Brothers president.  But I fear that there is a snake in the grass. It may lead to the Likud winning  votes in the "pragmatic center" while the ultra-right parties grow, in other words the right block will further gain strength. All that without Netanyahu sacrificing even an inch of  the occupied West Bank. And, maybe the new pragmatic Netanyahu would find it also easier to get Obama on his side for the absolutely ‘surgical and controlled’ attack on Iranian nuclear  targets. 

Beate Zilversmidt , Holon 22.11.12