Empathy between human beings stands as a powerful force for mutual understanding.
Empathy is the ability to feel what it is like to be in the shoes of another.
Empathy gives the opportunity to know what shapes our views.
Without empathy, our clinging to an identity feeds and distorts the perceptions.
The Gaza protests
Thousands of Palestinians of all ages living in Gaza have engaged in non-violent protests regularly since March. They wanted the world to know of their plight. The majority told the world’s media they joined the protest of their own accord. Some went to the demonstrations as supporters of the Hamas government in Gaza.
With no rifles, nor guns, nor rockets, the Palestinians were engaged in non-violent protest near the fences of their maximum-security prison, known as Gaza. The media and film crews did not see any weapons of war among the protestors.
300 metres on the other side of the fence stands the Israeli army, backed with helicopters, drones and tanks. The soldiers have telescopic rifles with bullets designed to explode in the part of the body the bullet reaches. The rifles have a deadly accuracy.
Some of the angry young Palestinian men have stones. A stone travels at 10 metres per second and is easy to avoid. A stone thrower can throw a stone for a maximum of 30 to 50 metres.
A rifle bullet travels at 1000 metres per second and can travel for three kilometres or more.
Israeli soldiers shot and killed 118 Palestinians and shot and wounded 3600 other Palestinians living in Gaza since late March.
Three sets of fences on Palestinian land erected by the Israel make any crossing of citizens from Gaza virtually impossible. The Israelis built the fences to stop any penetration. The last fence is the main fence, high and with barbed wire.
A handful of protesters used kites in the forlorn hope the wind will carry the kite into Israel to set a field on fire. They light some tyres, so they are less visible to the Israeli telescopic rifle.
Under orders, a soldier fires a bullet at a protestor. He or she goes down. Two or three minutes later another soldier under orders fires another bullet. Another protestor goes down. Targets include doctors, journalists, and children.
Judging from social media, a common voice in Israel is “Yes, but……”
And so it goes on….”Yes, but… “Yes but…”
There are a small but growing number of thoughtful Israelis engaged in acts of reconciliation with the Palestinians.
There are Israelis, who have absolutely no wish whatsover, to be associated with the killing of innocent Palestinian protestors.
These Israelis and Jewish citizens worldwide need to raise their voice.
We need more and more Israelis, who say:
“Yes, we know what is going on. But we are not going to be apologists for the Israeli government.
“Yes. we know the suffering of the Palestinians is much greater than our suffering.
“But we are not going to ignore what is taking place.
“We are going to work end the violent policies of our government.
“We will increase dramatically a compassionate engagement with the Palestinians.
“The Palestinians are a people, like ourselves. We will offer as much support as we can.”
A View based on Empathy not on Prejudice.
Here is an opportunity to use your imagination to understand empathy.
You are a Jew. You have lived in your homeland of Israel not for decades, nor centuries but thousands of years.
In 1948, a powerful group of Muslims decide to form a country called Palestine. These Muslims were virtually exterminated in Europe. These Muslims have no friends in the Arab world. An army of Muslims in 1947 and early 1948 expel some 700,000 Jews from their new country.
This new Muslim state is built on a belief in religious and racial purity. The new Muslim state treats non-Muslims as second-class citizens. The political and military policies of the new state generate widespread concern in the UN, among Jurists, International Courts, human rights lawyers and international aid agencies. The new state dismisses all concerns.
Half of the Jewish citizens fled their homeland and end up in the Gaza with fellow Jews.
The Muslims in their new country of Palestine tell the Jews they never had a country. They claimed that the Jews just wandered around Israel but were never a nation – even though the British occupiers and rest of the world always referred to ‘Israel’ as a country like any other country until the new country got created.
The powerful Muslims wield absolute control over their new homeland of Palestine. They refuse to have borders as they expand their territory year by year, engaged in killings, arrests and home demolition of the Jews living in the areas of occupation.
What is the daily life like in Gaza for the Jewish people?
International reports on Gaza report:
- No right of return to ancestral home
- 1.9 million Jewish people in Gaza live in desperate poverty.
- 60% unemployment among young men and women
- 90% of water is undrinkable
- 4 hours a day with no electricity
- 4 hours per day with no water
- Minimal health care
- No travel permitted
- Half the children in Gaza feel life is not worth living.
- The Muslim country controls every item of aid that enters Gaza.
You are one of 1.9 million Jews trapped in Gaza. What is your response?
Do you say:
- The Muslims have a right to defend themselves?
- The Muslims have a right to Greater Palestine
- We should not see our expulsion as a policy of apartheid
- We, Jews, have no right to want to return to our ancestral home.
- We, Jews, have a hostile Likud government in Gaza that supports the right of return
- We should never hold non-violent demonstrations
- We should never protest against the new country of Palestine
- We should accept the total regulation of our lives.
- We should accept that the Muslim government treats us as non-people
- We must accept our fate as colonised and despised by the Muslim government
- We must accept that the Muslims will never recognise our rights to be a nation
- We should accept that we live in the world’s largest ghetto.
- The Muslims have a right to punish all of us and make our life hell.
- We are the victims. We are to blame.
Back to the immediate situation. The international community needs to support a one-state solution (proposed name: Palisrael) so that the 700,000 settlers in Palestine can stay where they are.
Palestinians can live where they wish in Israel. Israelis and Palestinians develop programmes of mutual support. People pay their taxes. Jews and Palestinians are Semitic people with a long history in the region.
The UN and the international community needs to promote and give support to ensure the success of a unified state for the welfare of all.
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE IN PEACE
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE IN HARMONY
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE IN PEACE AND HARMONY