The answer to that is I can’t, even though you are a stranger to me, Linda C.
The original title to this blog was to have been Did You Just Say I Was “do pathic”?
The original first three paragraphs were to have been:
1) “Do pathic” = “so pathetic.” At least that’s how I read Linda’s post to me on Facebook. The sentence, lifted from two paragraphs of attack and sarcasm, is: You are really something I pity you you are do pathic you should be ashamed. June 25 at 5:30pm.
2) Facebook is well suited for snark, but no one had ever out and out blasted me there before so it felt like a christening. I had said something that left irrational people sputtering and unable to spell. I wonder if I would be so proud if her comments had merit.
3) Yes, I, too, can do snark. Who can’t? It’s much easier than thinking.
Then the report came in that the bodies of the three young Israeli settlers had been found. My original paragraphs no longer had a modicum of humor in them. I lay down my snark and surrender to our broken hearts.
The young men deserve their names to be told – Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar. At my last count at least six Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) since the kidnapping. They equally deserve their names to be told but the news of their deaths is scattered and piecemeal. The number will rise if IDF bombing continues in Gaza. More than 540 Palestinians have been arrested to date, most held in prison without charges, which is common and legal under Israel law.
If you are on Facebook with me, you know I regularly share news from Israel and Palestine. You might also know that I was the editor, photographer, and – working with my Palestinian and Israeli liaisons – the primary interviewer for the book “Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women” printed in English, Arabic, and Hebrew (available on Amazon). I have also produced a dozen short videos with these and other women.
Between 2003 and 2010 I made 8 or 9 trips to the region of three weeks each, with time divided equally between Israel and the West Bank. I average five to twenty FB updates daily of “conditions on the ground” from Israelis and Palestinians.
[Photographs are coming in right now of the bombing of Gaza. Buildings exploding. The kidnapping and killing of the three Israelis were by two men apparently “rogue” to Hamas. Israeli policy is collective punishment.]
This is an area where I have knowledge – enough knowledge to recognize when someone is denying reality or is grossly misinformed. Enough knowledge to know when someone, even unconsciously, is the problem and not the solution. Enough knowledge to know who is the primary aggressor. Enough knowledge – and direct experience – to know that Netanyahu is arrogant and dangerous. Enough knowledge to know that historical wounds and incalculable fear can sink their claws onto reason and reality and bring them down.
Enough knowledge to know that the death of the three settlers will be used as proof that all Palestinians are dangerous and terrorists. Linda C said it clearly: Patricia Smith You missed the point lady you are actually saying that because no one was killed when terrorist from Gaza hit Sderot then it’s okay. Dont you realize that they want to kill as many Israelis as they can the fact that they miss doesn’t change anything it’s the fact that they are trying.
Of course I did not say that since no one was killed it was okay for missiles to be shot from Gaza to the southern Israel town of Sderot. It’s not okay. Missiles are never okay.
What I said, that prompted Linda to write in the first place, was: I’ve been at Sderot where . . . when I asked in deep sincerity how many people were killed the year before, silence fell, and then someone said,” well, a rocket went through someone’s kitchen ceiling.” Yes, a few people have been killed. Yes, there is fear. But for this over 1300 Gazans were killed in retaliation? June 25 at 4:38pm
Whether you could say that Linda C responded to my question about killing over 1300 (actually more it turned out) Gazans in 22 days at the beginning of 2009 in Operation Cast Iron is questionable. No Israeli, in fact no Jew, has ever responded when I give this reminder. Few have responded to my inquiries about the hundreds of deaths at the hands of the IDF since Cast Iron, about the expanding settlements, about night raids, about house demolishing, or about the more than 5000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
Silence is the prevailing response. The silence of good people, people who care, people who want peace. Silence. I cannot tell you how much I long for this acknowledgment, how much it hurts to have this wall of silence, a wall that I do not know how to interpret. Is it denial? It is emotional freezing caused by fear, or guilt, or scars? The most important question it seems: Is peace possible without ownership of pain caused?
In case I need to say it: I have had two Jewish husbands, my daughter converted, my grandchildren are Jewish. I am literally at home with Jewish warmth, humor, creativity, sense of family, and genius. That is WHY it particularly hurts. It is my family, and they have been deeply wounded – and now they are deeply wounding others.
Linda said: Patricia Smith let me tell you something until you’ve had to go an identify your child by a piece of her clothing because she and several other children were blown to bits by a Palestinian terrorist you have no idea of what real terror is. Believe all the propaganda lies you want because they will never change the fact that you are supporting terrorist until the day comes when they no longer need you as a mouth piece to spread their lies and hate you will realize what a fool you are. June 25 at 5:19pm
This is immense pain talking – the pain of a woman I do not know – and I have no response except I have been with both Israelis and Palestinians whose innocent children were killed by the “other” side. The deaths are exactly the same, the daily and unending grief is exactly the same. No child’s death takes precedence over another.
Snark is not the answer. Hopefully compassion may have a chance because otherwise fear will blind and defeat us all.