Israelis love to talk about how in Israel, there is a ‘Democracy’, Arabs are treated ‘equally’, and that there are Palestinians serving in the Knesset (congress) … But stories like this paint a clearer picture. The “rights” given to Palestinian/Arab citizens of in Israel seem more and more to be cosmetic by the day.
The problem with the Israeli public is that they can’t be trusted to bring a stop to this conflict. The public is too susceptible to incitement from the government. First it was a response to the “Hamas kidnapping” (now proven to not be linked to Hamas at all, something which was likely known from the start); then after two weeks it transformed to a response to “rocket attacks”. When the international community wasn’t convinced by this argument after seeing the evidence of these so-called ‘rockets’, it became a response to “tunnels”.
Even my Israeli cousin, who by all counts is pretty liberal, and is no longer in the army, has been posting ridiculous pro-Israeli propaganda on his facebook. The latest was a video of Hillary Clinton on the Daily Show where she was justifying the invasion of Gaza. I replied to it with “She is hugely unpopular and out of touch.”
His reply to me: “And who will satisfy you? A doctor, middle east expert, politician? I know, some pro palestinian or antisemitic, they are surely telling the truth without a doubt.”
This just goes to show that we can’t possibly depend on Israel to make the right choice. Years of propaganda and incitement has made them blind to the suffering of others. There are certainly Israelis that are protesting and resisting, but they are relatively small compared to the majority opinion, and are (sad to admit) still susceptible to nationalistic propaganda.
This is thus a bad situation, and reinforces the need for Americans to speak up for Palestinian rights, and to keep putting pressure on Israelis and trying to educate them. America and the UN will have to work behind the scenes to reach some sort of meaningful settlement or deal just to stop the current fighting, since neither the Israeli not US public seems to be ready to do so yet (although the pressure is building). The good news is that it at least appears that the US is taking this seriously and rather than just try to put a cork on it, they are looking for more permanent solutions that would actually address some of the problems of the people in Gaza, (but so far that’s purely my own speculation).