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We have to talk to my sister’s murderers

One does not have to one hundred per cent endorse this heart-felt plea from someone who suffered the terrorism of Hamas first hand to be moved by it. – Sol Salbe

An Israeli who lost his sisters to the Hamas:
“Enough people have suffered”
Eyal Shiran
Translated by Sol Salbe from the Hebrew.

On 31 March 2002, in between the two Passover holidays, the Hamas dispatched a suicide bomber to my home town of Haifa. My parents, Haley and Shimon, and my sister Adi went out for lunch at the Matza restaurant on that day. At about 14.45 the terrorist entered the restaurant and blew himself up. My mother was very badly hurt and my father was critically wounded. My sister and 14 other people perished in that attack. Only someone who has been through that experience can understand what we have been through since then.

But those who died are gone. What is important now is to prevent others from suffering the same fate. What is important today is the decision as to what the citizens and government of Israel ought to do next.

My sister’s death and my parents’ injuries happened as a direct consequence of our reign over the West Bank. That’s the way it has happened throughout history: The rule of one nation over another begets violent resistance, terrorism. In addition, the fact that there is only a fence and no international border between us and the Palestinians prevents us from setting up an effective defence against terrorism.

As long as Israeli citizens live on both sides of the fence, two-way traffic between the two sides of the fence is inevitable. As long as this continues, suicide bombers will be able to find their way in to our cities; to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.

It was for this very reason that together with others I have set up the Yizkor movement. Our members comprise other victims of our rule over the Territories: civilians who will carry the scars of the conflict for their rest of their lives; soldiers whose scars are mental rather than physical; parents who send their children to serve in the Territories every day; and those who have lost their loved ones.

Enough blood spilt

The Palestinian people have voted in their elections, choosing the Hamas by a large majority. It’s a fact. The important question is how we are going to move forward.

If we want to prevent future bombings, we have to sit down to negotiations with the Palestinian leadership. The negotiations should lead to peace and our separation from the Territories and from people who do not wish us to lord it over them. We need the kind of negotiations that will give rise to a situation where we can effectively defend ourselves.

If the negotiations fail, we ought to get out of the Territories. There is nothing to keep us in Jenin and Hebron. We have nothing to do there except spill our own blood. Enough blood has been spilt; enough people have been killed and wounded.

Please believe me when I say this, especially now when the people who killed my sister and injured my parents are about to form the new Palestinian government. Now is the time for anybody who cares about Zionism to wake up. Just as we did with Sinai, Lebanon and Gaza, separation provides the only answer.


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Sol, the whole thing is a tragedy

My Mother's first Husband was Jewish and a concert pianist. He died shortly after WW I when our soldiers returned with the Pneumonic plague and he contacted the disease. My Father and all of his brothers were Freemasons, the history of which, as everyone now knows, goes back long before Christianity, in the area of Judea. So I believe that I can reason without any acrimony towards Israel or the Palestinians.

I think that perhaps many people believe that the Arab races too, are Semetic. Is that correct? I also believe that the lesson of the Holocaust will be remembered ad infinitum but, the behaviour of a great number of the major nations in the world today have learnt nothing from it.  We still have persecutions of a people because of race, religion or just because they have something some the other nation desires - and will take by force.  I think Sol, that that is no improvement or change from those ancient Judaean times and the Philistines etc. We have come a long way to get nowhere.

I wonder would we have so much trouble if we all had one God.  I wonder if the United Nations had not been funded, wired and hoodwinked by Nations of "right by might" would it's decisions be more for peace on earth rather than another "piece of Earth"? It is just not "Kosher" to judge a situation on anything other than what is right and just, is that not so?

We have been informed that Israelis and Palestinians often live in harmony with one another, so - who is stirring the pot? Whether or not the status quo is more acceptable to one "religion or race" than another, shouldn't that be decided by, if possible, all of the people of the disputed region. It should have the objective of reason, common sense and the intention of sharing together the peace that would surely ensue.  I believe that the bias shown by the "powers that be" only exacerbates the problem and does little to help convince the world that the Bush regime has a genuine intention of a just peace.

No Sol, I am not Jewish, nor am I a Priest - just an old man who has seen too much unnecessary suffering.

In Memory of Malki - Murdered 9 August 2001

A little belated I suppose but here is another moving account of the reaction of the family of a young girl butchered by Islamofascists in cold blood.

Melbourne girl Malka Chana Roth. 1985-2001

We don't know how lucky we are...

By the grace of God go I. Living here gives me a fair chance at an onlooker's viewpoint. It's OK for me, I don't live on the West Bank as a disempowered Arab, or as a Jewish settler under siege in a settlement.

Can this situation  be similar to Northern Ireland, where they seem to have finally parted the hard men and now operate under a truce, of sorts?

Or are there just too many people crowded into the region and too many hard cases on both sides, for things to settle down long enough and sense prevail, before some zealot on one side or another rebels in anger, at conciliation and fires the whole thing up again, with some rash act or other.

Some belated sign of real will on the part of the US, and the UN and Europe would help. Money to lubricate the process and give people something to do and be a bit productive, that incidentally might offer also a different vision for the future, might help. But it would have to be a monumental effort, involving all the major parties, including perhaps the oil sheikdoms and  wealthy and influential interests amongst the educated Jewish populations living in Western countries. Stephen Speilberg is the sort of person I'm thinking of: one who exemplifies at least an attempt, if a flawed one, to grapple with reality, that is the only way things will ever begin to get sorted.

Perhaps a return to something approximating the 1967 boundaries is a starting point. And, realistically,  Israel's existence must be guaranteed, because they can't be left unprotected, no more deserving to die than the Arabs.

But the Arabs are in grievous need of serious aid and comfort, too and their justifiable and long-denied claims cannot be left ignored for yet another decade or generation. Enough Jewish people know what injustice is to realise this, and if the Palestinians actually thought they would get even the ghost of a fair go, something could perhaps still be salvaged. The effort would have to phenomenal, but the alternative is starting to appear species-threatening.

humanity .....

Eyal Shiran, your plea for an end to the cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians must surely resonate with all peace loving people; all the more so because it is made notwithstanding the terrible loss of your sister Adi and the dreadful suffering experienced by your family.

The loss of a child must be an unbearable tragedy under any circumstance, but when it occurs as a result of deliberate and unnecessary violence, it is also an obscenity.

Given the violent deaths of 123 Israeli and 709 Palestinian children between September, 2000 and January, 2006, the scale of that obscenity is incomprehensible.

Your courageous and compassionate call for an end to this dreadful conflict is clearly a mark of your humanity. That it continues can only be evidence of our inhumanity.

Fiona: I wholeheartedly agree, John. By the way, Sol Salbe was the translator, not the author, of the article - hence the change in name of your addressee.

Thank you

Thank you Sol for providing me with the opportunity to read this.

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