Two States

Gaza: The Cold Sore of the World

June 12, 2018

Displaying a knack for comedy, Helm concludes her Independent article by stating, “Whether the Return March explodes in more bloodshed, or plays out peacefully as the participants hope, is hard to predict.” Plays out peacefully? A march to reclaim land that is no longer yours? In what Bizarro World could something like that possibly “play out peacefully”?

See, here we come to the crux of the problem. Are the Israelis brutal? Absolutely. But what would happen if they weren’t brutal? In a social media thread last month, I encountered Matthew David Wilder, a filmmaker of some small acclaim who’s worked with the likes of Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader. Wilder was on a rant about the poor oppressed Gazans and the brutish evil Israelis. I asked him a very simple question: Let’s say the Israeli forces opened the gates and stood by and let all of the “marchers” march in. What would happen? Tens of thousands of Palestinians march into Israel in order to “return.” What do they do next, once they’re in? I got no response, so I private-messaged him, asking the same question. “I give up,” was his answer. I tried again, pointing out that I was asking a straightforward question in a respectful and noncombative manner. What, I asked, would the Gazans do to the Israelis if allowed to just march in?

“Embrace them. Give them a bouquet and a fruit basket IS THE FUCKING ANSWER, RESPECTFULLY, MR. COLE” was his reply.

People like Wilder and Helm refuse to confront the reality of what Israel is facing. That simplest of questions, “What would the Gazans do if allowed to march across the border?” must be met with evasion or hostility. Because the only other option is the truth, and we can’t have that.

To be clear, I’m not a supporter of Netanyahu and his foreskinless hard-on for entangling the U.S. in hostilities with countries like Iran and Syria. I’ll oppose that nonsense with every breath in my body. But regarding Gaza, Israel is in an impossible position—more than a million people want to refight a war that is seventy years over. And the only choices are, beat ’em back and look like a bully, or stand aside as they flood into Israel like a bunch of behavioral-disordered kids who think they’re still entitled to live in the childhood home their families lost the deed to ages ago. But on the other hand, the Gazans are in an impossible position too. Locked into a small strip of land with a Muslim neighbor that hates them on one side and a Jewish neighbor that fears them on the other, unable to leave…trapped with nothing but unrealistic dreams of return that fuel their anger and add to their misery.

As I said, it’s a stalemate. There is no solution. Gazans (and many Palestinians in the West Bank) will continue to want a 1948 do-over, and Israel will continue to fight for the right of a country to win a war. When I see Israeli provocateurs trying to entice America into Middle East conflicts, I get angry. But when tens of thousands of Gazans amass at the Israeli border demanding to “return,” and when I see the IDF pick off just enough of them to turn back the advance, I’m unmoved. If my sympathies lie with Israel, it’s not so much because I’m a Jew but because my house sits on land taken from Mexico through war. We won it, it’s ours. I’m not gonna be a hypocrite when it comes to Israel.

But I’m not gonna be a cheerleader, either. If you’re a third party, what’s your excuse for getting involved in this endless conflict? Probably nothing more than virtue signaling what a great Muslim or a great Jew or a great humanitarian you are.

Feel free to waste your time. Me? I have better things to do.

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