Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Culture of Death and Destruction

The following article was published by The New York Times on January 9, 2009. I am quoting selected paragraphs from a description of scenes in a hospital in Gaza. The reporter is Arab.

The whole article can be read by clicking here.

A car arrived with more patients. One was a 21-year-old man with shrapnel in his left leg who demanded quick treatment. He turned out to be a militant with Islamic Jihad. He was smiling a big smile.

“Hurry, I must get back so I can keep fighting,” he told the doctors.

He was told that there were more serious cases than his, that he needed to wait. But he insisted. “We are fighting the Israelis,” he said. “When we fire we run, but they hit back so fast. We run into the houses to get away.” He continued smiling.

“Why are you so happy?” this reporter asked. “Look around you.”

A girl who looked about 18 screamed as a surgeon removed shrapnel from her leg. An elderly man was soaked in blood. A baby a few weeks old and slightly wounded looked around helplessly. A man lay with parts of his brain coming out. His family wailed at his side.

“Don’t you see that these people are hurting?” the militant was asked.

“But I am from the people, too,” he said, his smile incandescent.

“They lost their loved ones as martyrs. They should be happy. I want to be a
martyr, too.”

Over the last few weeks I have read countless articles written by Israelis who are guilt ridden about every Arab child who has died or has been injured, and anxious about the way the world perceives Israel's action in Gaza. This anxiety and guilt is shared by millions of Jews in the diaspora.

But when we read something like the above article, we have to realize that we are fighting an enemy that thrives on death and destruction. If their attitude continues to be the achieving martyrdom, Israel should oblige. Israeli bashers be damned. They would condemn Israel even if Israel bombed Gaza with confetti.

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