Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31

Thursday

Tel Aviv

Day 15 of the war

The supermarket in my suburban Tel Aviv neighborhood was packed today. Thursday. Getting ready for Shabbat. And the feasts after Ramadan. If you wanted to swap recipes with store workers, your choices were Hebrew or Arabic, judging from the headscarves. I didn’t need to go to the West Bank after all to see the two cultures are merged here. No need to go further than the local Supersol. Actually we did have to go further, Supersol was out of chicken. Surly butcher said they haven’t been butchering chickens for a week. Because of the war, we thought. Oh no! Until we went to the Mega-store across the way, which has enough chicken for all of Shabbat. People can be jerks, anywhere. 

We could have and should have shopped in Jaffa, a classic Arab city within Tel Aviv, with its clock tower, minaret, beautiful port, and moaning businessmen because the usual Tel Aviv tourists, Jews, and Arabs aren’t spending the usual amount of money there this summer.

All this disruption, because of a Middle East moral majority? Bible battles and Crusades have long moved over, but yesterday in Somalia a lady was killed for no veil - by a band of armed thugs, not a government. That is the new battle field? Women and children are being killed, but only for their own good? What else explains hiding bombs in (UN) schools? Or as reported by an Italian journalist eye witness, bombing the UN Shati refugee camp? 15 kids in the UN school, 9 in the Shati camp. There are 197 other schools the UN hasn’t cleared yet. The Israelis believe the UN reps in Gaza suffer from battered wives syndrome.

There was also, in a UN school, a tunnel, not for commerce. Another tunnel was discovered by the IDF in the basement of a mosque. On IDF video, you can see a prayer room, a utility room filled with digging tools, and finally the mouth of a 14 meter tunnel. This one also not for commerce. The cherry on top is, again, on the bottom: in the basement of the Gaza City hospital, underneath the old and sick, sits Hamas HQ. Bet you didn’t know that!

Despite the horror, 95% of Israelis are pro-Operation Protective Edge, even in the start of the third week. Even though they cry here for Gazan civilians in the same way they grieve over names they know here. And ones they don't know, matched to handsome faces of young men who will never become parents. The background to the scrolls is the tooting of their phones. Every Israeli throughout the world has the app that shows where the newest alerts are, an advisory of every bomb lobbed onto a town or a city or a Bedouin village. Here the bomb toots are sometimes drowned out by actual booms, last night just south of Tel Aviv, today to the west, daily multiple times near Gaza. So Israelis are all pro-Operation Protective Edge. And they never agree on anything.

Are Gazans who voted for Hamas still on board? If their bombs killed 15 kids in a UN school, and 9 in the Shati refugee camp, do they put that in the context that it is for a greater good? Is this a moral crusade? Or is it about money? Or power?

None of the above reasons is good enough to endanger children and the sick. Israel will soon stop the operation, which is a war, when the bombs stop and the death tunnels are dismantled. That can’t take too much longer, although we pray the boys will be more careful and  not get blown up by booby trapped ladders like yesterday. Soon, Gazans too will have to regroup, and decide about Hamas.

Like the Lebanese and Hezbollah, after the second war with Israel. Hizbollah claimed victory and indeed killed too many of our boys, but though Nasrallah taught the Gazans about booby traps and tunnels, he has not joined this war, though he was loudly invited. Nasrallah in Lebanon publicly stated years ago that he did not calculate well the price of destruction and would not have attacked Israel if he had.  Except for about 5 rockets from some fringe groups, it has been quiet in the north this month, as it has been for 8 years.

This is what the Israelis hope to achieve in the south.