The last couple of days, post-ceasefire with Gaza have been quiet, thankfully. For now, everything seems calm and progressing nicely. Only time will tell if this peace agreement will hold or if it’s just time for everyone to reload. We shall see.
I learned quite a few things about myself during the recent 8 days of unrest.
- I am much stronger than I give myself credit for. Despite the red-alert sirens, the bus that was bombed in Tel Aviv, and the grim forecasts on the news, I did not cry once. I never stayed home, frozen with fear in my apartment. I took the necessary precautions, but still was able to go to work, go out with friends, and run errands as needed. I even started taking the bus (out of necessity) less than 24 hours after the bombing.
- I strongly prefer to sleep next to someone in times of crisis. The one good night sleep I got in 8 days was a night I stayed at a friend’s place. Even on the quiet days I felt as though I was sleeping with one ear open, one eye open, and my brain half awake just in case I needed to hurry down my ladder and take cover. I wasn’t resting and it was taking its toll on me.
- I have never been more proud of being a citizen of a country. Even though I had 23 voices on facebook all instructing me to “stop being stupid” and “go home [aka USA]” I was able to nicely put them in their place and remind them that this is my home. I’m not some naive little girl who decided to move across the world to make life an endless vacation. I moved because this is where my heart is; this is where I am most connected. And I felt that connection over the 8 days of crazy more than ever.
- My tolerance for ignorant, uninformed, bigoted bullshit has dropped considerably. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favor for the 1st amendment freedom of speech. I feel strongly that if you have an opinion, you have the right to voice it. Is it too much to ask that if you insist on voicing an opinion that you make sure it’s grounded in facts first? I had the unique experience of unfriend-ing people on facebook over comments they made publicly regarding the conflict. One was a very good friend’s little sister whom I used to be very close with. The other, a boy I was on taglit with back in the day. While I could have caused a big cyber scene, confronting their hogwashery and pointing them in the direction of countless sources that prove them wrong, I made the decision to simply unfriend them. There is no reasoning with people like that. Yes, it’s their right to post whatever they want about whatever they want on their own pages; it’s also my prerogative to be associated with ignorant loud-mouths or not, and I choose the later.
Look. The Palestine/Israel issue is not an easy one. It’s not clear-cut. It’s not black and white. It is steeped in decades and decades of conflict, spanning a range of issues including religion, economics, land, natural resources, pride, and culture. There have been things done on both sides that are not the most stand-up. Yes, one side has been particularly worse than the other in terms of “playing dirty” but that is neither here nor there. Not easy. As my friend explained to me, so succinctly, the other night: The world doesn’t understand because they don’t live it everyday. This is not a normal “war.” There is never going to be a winner or a loser. It’s not like our goal is take-back Gaza and put them under our control government-ally. We just want them to stop endangering the lives of our citizens and they want us to not exist.
The ceasefire agreement is a good example of the entire conflict. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire. Israel was expected to stop shooting immediately when the ceasefire went into effect at 9pm that night. Palestine was granted a window to stop the firing of some hours. In fact, the Israeli news was reporting that “we expect the firing from Gaza to continue for a few hours after the ceasefire, but that by tomorrow it will have stopped.” Here, Israel is recognizing that it will take some time for Hamas to get their people in order, to spread the word to the multiple militant terrorist organizations that were hurling rockets over the border to stop firing. Israel’s only caveat was that 24 hours after the ceasefire if any rocket fire initiated by anyone came towards us from Gaza, we would retaliate with a strong arm. Yes, Hamas is a terrorist organization. They, however, were democratically elected into power in Gaza by the Palestinian people so Israel is holding them responsible for their citizens. Seems fair to me. And for now, it’s all quiet on the home-front, and I’m finally able to sleep soundly again.