Ben-Dror Yemini was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1954. He studied Humanities and History in Tel Aviv University, and later on he studies Law. After his university studies, he was appointed advisor to the Israeli Minister of Immigration Absorption and then became the spokesman of the Ministry. In 1984, he began his career as a journalist and essayist. He worked as a lawyer and was a partner in a law firm. He has worked for the daily newspaper Maariv, and in Spring 2014 began writing for the daily Yedioth Ahronoth. The author of "The Industry of Lies."
Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:53 am A letter to a friend in Gaza - By Ben-Dror Yemini
A letter to a friend in Gaza
Op-ed: Our demand to demilitarize the Strip is not only for Israelis; it's also for you, Fathi. We prefer to have happy neighbors rather than suffering neighbors. We want to be partners, not enemies.
By Ben-Dror Yemini
July 25, 2014
Hello, Fathi. This week, for just a few minutes, we managed to establish contact again. You told me about the great suffering, the bombings, the dead. It pained me. We have known better days. We had dreams.
The years go by. In the meantime, several things have happened in the Muslim world – in Somalia, in Nigeria, in Pakistan, in Syria, in Iraq. This is the rule, Fathi: Every place where one of the extensions of jihad grows stronger turns into a center of bloodshed. Taliban, Hamas, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Shabab, jointly and severally, promise you nothing but bloodshed and suffering.
And one more thing happened: Hamas violently seized the Gaza Strip. Article 7 of the Hamas charter talks about annihilating the Jews. Annihilation, no less. When we see what the jihadists are doing in the world – to Muslims, not to Jews – we are entitled to be afraid. Those who have adopted a Nazi ideology should not complain that the other side is trying to defeat them.
They join thousands of others who have been murdered in recent weeks. Muslims murdering Muslims. The jihad is massacring you, Fathi. It happens wherever it is. It's happening in Gaza as well. It has been happening for more than 10 years now. It's becoming worse.
Where are the Muslims, Fathi? Why are they keeping quiet? Why is the world silent? Where are the world's left-wing protestors? Why haven't they burned jihad flags? How is it possible that no one has taken to the streets, neither in Paris nor in London, neither in Casablanca nor in Amman?
So please, Fathi, don't say occupation, don't say Israel, don't say blockade. Enough with the lies.
The regular excuse, Fathi, is that you are still furious over the original sin – the 1948 Nakba. Are you serious? Tens of millions of people became refugees in the 1940s. Arab countries deported Jews too, although they did not declare any war. No one has built their entire identity on misery, revenge and terror. Only you.
Do you want more, Fathi? In the past few years, Muslim states have created millions of refugees. The jihad organizations not only kill. They also turn millions into refugees. In Somalia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria. Where is the Muslim protest? Where is the global protest?
Those who take to the streets and burn Israel's flag, those who call the Israeli soldiers murderers, those who dismiss your responsibility and provide you with excuses and justifications, the members of the "forces of progress" from the Israeli and global left, are part of your problem. When they are told that you oppress women, kill innocent people incessantly and fire at population centers, they reply that "there is no comparison."
Do you get that, Fathi? They forgive you because they think you're inferior. Is that what you want?
In the past few years you have been complaining that the siege is suffocating you, that because of the siege there is no construction, no industry, no hope.
The siege is a lie, Fathi. Not only does Israel transfer every week, even these days, hundreds of trucks carrying supplies to the Strip. Why you even had a completely open border with Egypt during the time the Egyptian president was a Muslim Brotherhood member. And what did you do? It turns out that you actually managed to develop two industries: One of rockets and another of tunnels.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the Strip, despite the Hamas rule. Where did it go, Fathi? To weapons, to ammunitions, to rockets. Where did thousands of tons of cement go? Not to the construction of factories or schools. It was all wasted on tunnels, in order to kill more Jews.
So don't say siege. Because Hamas could have invested in welfare, in prosperity. It chose to invest in the industry of death and destruction.
And despite all that, Fathi, I want to hold on to a glimmer of hope. Several days ago, a survey was conducted among the Strip's residents, commissioned by the Washington Institute. The result is incredible: An overwhelming majority, 70%, supported a ceasefire and an end to the violence. This is a sign that the majority is sobering up while the foolish, murderous and destructive stubbornness of the jihad organizations continues.
The millions in the Arab countries will not go out to protest for you this time. You know why, Fathi? Because they already know what could happen in their countries if Hamas remains strong. They see the massacre in Iraq and Syria. They know there is no big difference between ISIS and Taliban and Hamas. Even the regular incitement broadcast on al-Jazeera, which has become a Hamas extension, barely affects them.
We need hope. We will not solve all of the conflict's problems now. Let's begin with something a bit more modest. Imagine, Fathi, taking to the streets to demand a ceasefire and an end to the siege under the Quartet conditions (an end to violence and recognizing past agreements). The Jihad and Hamas will refuse. That's what they know how to do. But you must not give up.
They say you are afraid of Hamas. Afraid? Then why are you more excited about terror organizations, which promise you bloodshed?
Please Fathi, listen to what Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said this week on the Al-Aqsa channel: "We aren't leading our people today to destruction. We are leading them to death." Listen to the things aired on your television regularly, on days of calm: "Kill Christians, Jews and communists to the last one."
The Hamas and jihad people don’t only threaten and promise, they also keep their promises. In recent years, the jihad has turned into a monster massacring Muslims incessantly.
Destroying the jihad, Fathi, is in your best interest. It is first of all a Muslim interest. You know how to fight, but it's time to change direction. Otherwise, the jihad will continue using you as cannon fodder. It doesn't know how to do anything else.
Fathi, Israel is forced to defend itself, because no other country would tolerate a terrorist entity, with a Nazi ideology, launching rockets incessantly at a civil population. The majority in Israel does not seek any revenge, oppression or a siege. The majority in Israel sees the difficult images from Gaza, the victims, the innocent people getting killed because Hamas uses them.
There is no joy in us, but real grief. We don't want to kill and don't want to be killed. The demand to demilitarize the Strip is not only for the Israelis, it's also for you. We prefer to have happy neighbors rather than suffering neighbors. We want to be partners, not enemies.
So show some responsibility, Fathi. You can either live with endless suffering under the rule of the jihad (like in Musul) or you can flourish (like in Kurdistan). You hold the keys. Self-deception won't help you.
You are not inferior, Fathi. You deserve more. So start acting and, for a change, do something for yourselves rather than against others.