What the Israeli media represented as chaos, loss of control, looting etc. looked to my eyes like a spontaneous expression of joy by Palestinian masses who were finally relieved of the punishment of the Israeli army of occupation.
Attempts by Palestinians to rescue from the ruins and the remaining buildings supplies that could be useful to them is not looting but an expression of poverty and hardship that the Israeli occupation imposed on 1.5 million residents of the Strip.
The moving images we saw of the meetings that between Palestinians from the Strip and Palestinians on the Egyptian side reminded me of the pictures from Berlin after the collapse of the Wall and the East German regime in 1989. Relatives who had not seen each other for 30 years could finally meet and embrace. Those images emphasized the cruelty of the Israeli occupation.
And the overrunning of the beaches of Gaza by Palestinian masses, which during the entire period of the occupation were an Apartheid zone for settlers only, emphasized the sordidness and racism of the occupation.
I confess that my heart was with the exultant Palestinians.
Also the fire that excited Palestinians lit to two or three buildings that had served as synagogues and were left contaminated and destroyed inside by the settlers and the Israeli occupiers, did not shock me at all. It was not a desecration of holy places, but externalization of understandable feelings towards buildings that represented the loathsome and terrible occupation.
The government of Israel exhibited poor judgement when it succumbed to the emotional extortion of rabbis and settlers and decided not to destroy the buildings that had served as synagogues. Those buildings were divested of all holiness, and the original plan of the army was to destroy them, and that was also approved by the High Court. The settlers’ posting of signs reading “Holy Place” was an act of profanation
The special meeting that the Knesset held on the subject and the spectacle of the settler MK Uri Ariel from the National Union who tore his shirt at the speakers’ podium as a “sign of mourning” were intended to inflame feelings and to pave the way for the religious maniac of the moment to attack Muslims and their holy places.
I consider it one of the roles of peace-seekers in Israel to neutralize as much as possible dangerous tendencies of nationalist and religious extremism. I proposed to a friend from Gaza who has dealings with the Palestinian Authority, that a group of Jewish citizens from Israel go to the Strip and destroy the buildings that had served as synagogues, and thus complete the original plan for the evacuation. Such an action would pull the rug out from under the feet of the settlers and the rabbis who were taking advantage of the issue to incite racism and bloodshed.
My friend thought it was an excellent idea and said he would propose it to the Authority.