It is with a heavy heart I feel the need to share how I feel about the situation in and around Israel right now. This is a country where I have lived for the past 5 years, I country I have learned to love, that I now call home, and who’s people I consider my family and friends. A country with good and bad sides like any other place in the world.

The last few weeks the conflict between Israel and Gaza has escalated dramatically. Living in Tel Aviv, we are quite spared from the effects of the war, still we have daily sirens also here now, followed by loud explosions in the air when Iron Dome shoots down the missiles. For me this serves as a reminder about how it must be to live farther south, where the rockets are plenty and the time to run for shelter is short. The stress people must be living with there. I think about the children, who run for shelter every day, unaware of why anyone would want to harm them.

I see and hear how people all around me are opening their homes for the suffering people in the south, how people collect and donate food to soldiers, how people volunteer to go to areas at risk just to help the children there take their minds of the stress and the war, and remember what it’s like to smile and play. It warms my heart to see how people take care of each other in times like these, how people care for each other, how strangers become friends.

Since the ground operation started in Gaza there have now already been many soldiers who died. Many of these soldiers are barely more than kids, 20 years old, made to fight a war they didn’t ask for, made to sacrifice their lives to protect their country and their people. Every dead soldier here is a son or daughter of Israel, every one soldier dead is a child taken away and a mother left crying. These soldiers are our friends, and our family, and there is not one person not affected by the fact that these people; our friends, family, children and parents, the soldiers, are right now out there risking their lives to try and keep us safe.

Then people ask, sure, they are dying, but what about all the civilians dying in Gaza? And I agree. I also cry for the dead in Gaza. I do not believe that each and every person who died there during the last few weeks deserved it any more than we do. I am convinced that also in Gaza there are mothers crying over lost children, and children crying over lost parents. The situation in Gaza for many is beyond horrible. I do wish that they had leaders who did more to protect them and to build for them a better life, instead of forcing on them a war, a war which I am sure many of them did not wish for, and a war that Israel also for sure did not wish for.

It is hard to step away from the news these days, I read everything I come across regarding the situation. I see the different angles of media in Israel as well as from around the world. I read about the history of the conflict, trying to understand how it became like this. I see the propaganda for this and against that coming from everywhere. I read and listen to the comments and opinions of different people. The only conclusion I can draw from it is that it is useless to fight about who is wrong and who is right in this, because that’s a fight that will never see an end, and that will most certainly not lead to peace. What happened or did not happen in history is no longer relevant. What I do find relevant is that right here and now there are people dying, there are people suffering, and that for me is the real problem.

Along with all this I see the hate against Israel zippering out from different places around the world. I see violent protests, not only against Israel as a country, but against the Jewish people. I read comments and statements from people full of hate and ignorance that makes my stomach sick. It makes me ask myself, how peace can ever be possible when there is so much hate in the world. What hope does it give for tomorrow to know that so many children are brought up to hate, when so many people show no respect for life, and no will to listen or understand, or cooperate.

So many wars have been fought in this world, and so many people have died. And still there are wars, and still people are dying. War means that people die, everyone knows that, but somehow Israel always gets more blame than anyone else. Every one person Israel kills, is always worse than 10 000 people killed by anyone else for some reason. And when people die in Israel, the opinion of the world seems to be that we brought it upon ourselves, and so we deserve it. I am not saying Israel never deserves any blame for anything, for sure they too do mistakes and don’t always choose correctly, just like anybody else, but when we criticize, we should at least do it fairly, based on knowledge and understanding of the situation, and based on seeing the whole picture, and definitely not out of ignorance and hate.

As much as I am against this war, I also understand why Israel is fighting it right now. It feels like we have been left with no choice. Hamas has showed no will to work for peace. Every cease fire accepted by Israel has been broken or declined by Hamas. It feels like the choice we have been left with is to sit back and let the missiles rain over Israel, or to go in and try to stop it. I don’t know what other countries would do in that situation, but any country who dislikes the way the conflict is handled and has a better idea for how Israel and the civilians of Gaza can reach peace can speak up in my opinion.

Meanwhile I put my hope in the good people, because along with the hate and protests in media, I also see a lot of good. I see civilian people in Palestine reaching out to Israelis on Facebook saying they want peace, and I see people in Israel reaching out to Palestinians saying the same. Underneath all the war and violence, underneath Hamas, there are human beings who wants the war to end, who wants people to stop dying, who don’t want to lose more loved ones, and who wants us all to live in peace with each other. Imagine a world, where the terrorism would be gone, where Gaza would get a leadership that cared about the people, that took the money they get and spent it on developing the area and creating a safe future for the people there, instead of spending it on weapons and terror. A world where Israel safely could take down the wall, and where the people from each side could live side by side in peace, giving and learning from each other. That would be a world to be proud of, and that’s a world which can only be reached when hate is put a side. I wish that this is what people around the world would fight and protest for. Instead of screaming we hate them, and we hate that, scream for love and peace, and act for it as well. Listen to those who want peace, and make them strong enough to reach it.

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