Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh, the shame

I'm back in the States. As I'm sitting in my office in Lancaster, I learn about the truce Olmert & Co. have apparently agreed to, but also about the tragedy of Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, MD, a regular contributor to Israel's Channel 10 News, who reported by cell phone on live TV how his home in Gaza was bombed, killing three of his eight daughters and one of his nieces.

Dr. Abu al-Aish works at Israel's Shiba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Just a few days ago I heard him on the radio in Israel speaking with journalist Gabi Gazit, in fluent Hebrew, about the need to stop the crazed violent attack on the people of Gaza. A character like Dr. Abu al-Aish, an educated, Hebrew-speaking gynecologist known to many families in Israel, gives even the cynics among Israel's right wing (though not all, as the online responses to the Nana article illustrate) something to shatter their blind hatred for anything Arab, anything Palestinian. 

Needless to say, the Abu al-Aish tragedy is no greater than that of many other, anonymous families in Gaza, whose lives were forever changed by the brutal Israeli attacks. Still, there is something about the story being told first-hand, with no subtitles, with a "tough" journalist like Channel 10's Shlomi Eldar nearly weeping in the studio, which makes it harder to ignore. 

How tempting would it be to think that Olmert, Livni and Barak, the three architects of the war crimes of the past three weeks, were so moved by the human tragedy that they were persuaded to declare the truce. More likely, they were thinking about Obama's looming inauguration and the upcoming elections back home.

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