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Wednesday night. The 19th of July, 2006

Dear friend in the US, this morning I promised to write an article to be sent to your list of supporters. I was going to write to you all the reasons against the war that we have been saying publicly for the last 4 days in Israel esp. to the foreign press but eventually also to the Israeli media. Tonight, after yet another terrible day of killing and destruction I am unable to fulfill my promise to you. So many people in Israel are celebrating the death and destruction of other human beings – who happen to be Palestinian, Lebanese, Arabs – that my belief in humanity has been shattered. I have sent to you few minutes ago the horror of it all: a message from Lebanon. The first two photos of girls writing messages were published in the Israeli press yesterday. I am tired and desolate. But I will keep writing. I owe it to you so you will not be able to say “I did not know.”

Dear friend, I would like to ask you why has my country done such evil to another people? We have just completed 6 years of peace and quiet in the north, but we kept Lebanese prisoners in captivity. not willing to return them or to negotiate their release. Why? Did we not know that one day the desire to get them back would make Hezbollah kidnap soldiers? They kept on saying it clear and loud. And when it happened anyway why could we not negotiate their release first before destroying a whole country? For all the bombing we have done, we might have killed them already. It is your duty and that of your friends, as much as mine, to explain to me why Israel has the right to kill and destroy and devastate with such brutal force the entire state of Lebanon. You remember very well when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. There was only the PLO then. No Hezbollah at all. 18 years of wasted war, more than 1000 Israeli soldiers dead and hundred of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese dead. That was the result of the first war. Why do it again? If it failed once, it surely will fail the next time. All these questions make me think that Israel is fighting for the US and its interests. Perhaps so. But our problem has nothing to do with the US. We have to live here with another nation, namely the Palestinians. Nothing will ever change this fact. But we have not done anything to achieve this aim. On the contrary, even in the Oslo days, Arafat was never allowed to declare the establishment of the state of Palestine.

Today, as our (Women against War and all the other peace organizations in Israel) campaign and demonstrations focused on Lebanon, at exactly the same time, Israeli forces were conquering Gaza again (for how many times?). Killing Palestinians in Nablus and Gaza, preventing movement and marriages between Palestinians in different parts of occupied Palestine, separating villages from towns and people from their livelihood and an endless list of miseries. There is no electricity in hospitals in Gaza. No money to run the rubbish-collecting cars in the town. Children are sick and malnourished.

Yes, it is true. The Palestinians were not nice to us. They used violence in their struggle. No enemy is “good” or “nice” by the very nature of being an enemy. But peace is possible only between enemies. Friends are already in peace. Thus, for all our Jewish supporters in the US I say, look into history to see who is the “terrorist,” ask him why he has chosen this path. Why even women sometime join him in using force. Only by facing him and her – Palestinians – we would have a chance to survive in this area. Killing each other will end up with all of us dead.

I should not continue. I am tired from a long day of struggle. Struggle to say “I beg to differ.” No one here is allowed a different point of view. In the “only” democracy in the Middle East, if you suggest that perhaps this war is not necessary, that it is evil, that it should stop immediately, you are called a traitor. People phone the radio station wanting to kill you. If Jews made all these efforts to build a homeland in order to kill and get killed, I am not sure it has anything to do with Judaism at all. I am ashamed in what is happening now and do not know from whom I could ask forgiveness.

With my respect and call for action,
Hannah Safran

Dear M__, thanks for your warm response. you may send it to be published anywhere, but please keep it in one piece. What do you mean by saying that “what we are both feeling right now is too much for most American Jews at this point”? do you suggest that perhaps we should wait a little until the Jews will be ready to listen to the horror Israel inflicts on Lebanon and on Lebanese and Palestinians? should they be protected from knowing the truth until they will be ready? should we hide from them what is actually going on? do we have the luxury of waiting when the destruction is taking place this very moment? When people are being killed on both sides and when the life of thousands of people all over Lebanon is systematically ruined and shattered night after night, I cannot morally care for the onlooker and not for the victim. Is it not like asking the Jews in a concentration camp to understand that the world outside is not ready yet to listen to their misery because it is too much for peole to understand? When the US media will finally admit to its public (after Israel will soon have to do) the horror of what is happening this very minute in Lebanon, it will be too late for the people over there. Their destruction at this point has already reached the destruction inflicted on Lebanon during 18 years of invasion.

Why is all this happening? Why does Israel refuse, until this very minute, to negotiate for the kidnapped soldiers? Why is Israel not ready to return these Lebanese prisoners?

It feels as if the US and Iran are having a good fight and we are all paying the price. Whatever the explanations, this bloodshed has to stop now for the good of both sides. Even Israel starts to say that soon they will negotiate a ceasefire, why not now?

Love, hannah

© 2006 Hannah Safran

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