Omar and his family are ok. He told me not to worry.
“How far away from Gaza are you?” I asked, since I recall he lives near Hebron, toward the east side of Israel/Palestine.
“50 km,” he answered. Or roughly 31 miles. Thirty-one miles! It’s such a small country.
30 miles from bombing, murdering, terror. He must be able to HEAR it, or at least hear the aircraft. How does one get up in the morning and go to work, pick up groceries, celebrate a child’s birthday…in an environment like that? I can’t even imagine. I am in tears just thinking about it.
I feel ignorant being exposed to both sides – my Palestinian and Israeli friends from Brandeis telling me different perspectives – yet I still know so little. However, it seems clearly off balance. I feel that if my family was trapped behind a wall some other country built around us, and lived in poverty, and in fear of the tanks on a nearby hill… I am certain that in time my desperation would cause me to react violently in the way that some Palestinians have. And I’d like to believe I am a pacifist!
It is not fair that some Israelis cry that the reactionary violence is “terrorism,” because from my perspective, it looks like Palestinians are oppressed. Oppression is terrorism.