Thursday, February 28, 2008

Living With War

The violence in and around Gaza has been escalating for quite a while. Israel probably should have reacted with severe force on the day the first Qassam rocket hit after the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Instead, we told ourselves that these were the actions of a small minority and all those fairy tales, and ever since the Palestinians have been ratcheting up the violence, the world tut-tuts but warns Israel to be proportional in its responses, never to harm non combatants in any way, not at all, and to recognize that eventually there will have to be negotiations with Hamas. (Not clear what about).

You can read diverse ways of reporting today's violence here (Y-net reports on the Israeli civilians being targeted), here (NYT, in a reasonable depiction of what's going on), and here (The Guardian: Israel is evil). The BBC, of all places, actually offered a reasonable analysis.

Earlier this evening we went down to the ceremony where Achikam and his friends completed their tank-crewmen training. A few hundred of them, 18- and 19-year-olds; two have died in training so far, hopefully no more will.

Many years ago young Israeli parents told their children they wouldn't have to fight in wars. The children told their children they hoped they wouldn't have to fight wars. When my children were born I didn't know what to say, but when they were in grade school and the Oslo process seemed promising I dared to hope that, while they most certainly would need to serve in the army, perhaps it wouldn't be a fighting army. Someday, I expect my grandchildren will fight in their wars, but I can at least dream that they won't.

This evening, as the violence in the south gets worse, Achikam is off on the town celebrating the completion of a tough course of training; the only reason he's not going to Gaza next week is that he has been sent on to a course for higher training.

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