israel is semi forced to agree to the cease fire that is being brokered by the egyptians as i type.. hamas (the political arm) seems inclined to agree.. BUT surprise surprise its military faction has publicly called the brokering efforts a joke.. and it looks like the islamic jihad militants arent too keen either.. its hard when your enemy is so fractured but then again when hamas wants something to happen in gaza they have shown that they can make it happen..
so whats left.. telavivians & co are becoming quite used to ducking for cover and keeping within close range of safe rooms.. touch wood iron dome has held up beautifully and kept us nice and safe by and large..
now i need to elaborate here because its important..
9 years ago during the second lebanon war our northern capital of haifa was the main target of the lebanese political party/militia hizbulla.. and homes were hit.. factories were hit.. people were even hit while driving their cars.. it was a blood bath.. and the prospect of telaviv being hit as well was certainly on the cards..
a bit further down south - in telaviv - we were doing our best to keep things normal.. working extra hours to cover for colleagues who had been drafted (which is also the case this time) - donating - volunteering - whatever.. but the idea of telaviv being hit was like a big fat red line that if crossed would potentially unleash hell upon the region..
7 years later (in our last round of violence 2 years ago) hamas decided to give it a go.. they shot missiles at telaviv.. and even hit a building in an adjacent town slicing it like a cake and miraculously no one was hurt as all residents obeyed the authorities instructions to take refuge in their security rooms..
hell didnt break loose completely.. i mean obviously its hell when over 100 gazans are killed.. but not the kind of apocalyptic hell that you could expect when your financial and cultural and tourism capital is targeted by missiles..
for years the excuse to not allow the palestinians in the west bank to establish a state was that missiles would rain upon us (coastal israelis) from the hills of the west bank.. but now that iron dome has become fully operational and has kept millions of israeli safe and cosy and now that the development of its future roadmap is in full swing and for goodness sake i bet we'll even be making handsome export shekels off of it maybe just maybe we can take a chance with peace with at the very least our neighbours to the east..
there is something very tragically invigorating when missiles are exploding overhead.. your senses work differently.. there i am at work negotiating contracts and doing international transactions and minutes later i am driving home like a hunted rabbit looking for fences i can jump over to hide in sheltered car parks if a siren was to suddenly be sounded.. the moment the siren is on there is very little time to think and you just have to quickly make whatever arrangement you can.. and clearly we're still scarred by past wars pre"iron dome" because i have taken refuge over the past 7 days with many strangers who were very afraid.. even though the risk to our lives has come down to being close to zero..
yesterday i read reports of over 17,000 nothern gazans who had fled their homes and taken refuge in UNRWA schools further south.. i know many israelis close to the borders with gaza were also forced to leave their homes - in some cases only to be greeted by rockets falling elsewhere.. the gazans have suffered many more deaths and as is always the case the true numbers only come out once the dust settles..
the second lebanon war didnt feel very conclusive to us in 2006 and many people expected a follow up war in the following summers.. people said that our ability to deter hizbulla was heavily compromised and that we would probably face more confrontation.. and yet that war has thankfully yet to arrive.. and hopefully never will..
in this round with gaza the gazan leadership took straight to its bunkers and probably still doesnt have a full grasp of the damage done to its infrastructure and rocket manufacturing capabilities.. its not about defeating an already crippled population - but i hope that in any event the begrudging palestinians of gaza will now be able to convince hamas that these mischievous adventures are not true acts of resistance but rather more than anything acts of self destruction and only exacerbate the suffering of the palestinians affected..
i wish upon gaza a fate that is very different to its predicament today.. i wish that it be demilitarised voluntarily.. i wish that it turn into the bread basket of palestine.. and that gaza turn into the banking capital of the arab countries in the eastern mediterranean basin and north africa.. i hope they establish first rate learning institutions and resort towns and serve as a coastal jewel as beirut once did.. i hope we get to sell them our awesome technologies and that they turn into a nearshoring centre for israeli high tech companies ultimately leading to fertile joint ventures that also raise the standard of living for the palestinians in the west bank and in neighbouring countries..
i do not believe that islam is a barrier to this occurring but i do hope they become kinder to the almost extinct christian population.. and i hope that in the future we endup envying the gazans..
i know that this sounds fanciful but so did a jewish state 200 years ago.. hamas is our sworn enemy but so was the PLO/FATAH.. during this conflict our government openly stated that it doesnt want to topple hamas.. because hamas is a preferred option over the possible alternatives.. so if we can go that far in effectively supporting/tolerating hamas and we clearly constantly acknowledge their sovereignty - cant we go a step further and negotiate?
enough with this stubborness already..