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Columns

November 24, 2012

Gazan children and Israel suffer for Hamas folly

On Nov. 21, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was on his historic and courageous visit to Israel that led to a peace agreement that still exists.

In a meeting of Israel’s parliament — the Knesset — Sadat listened to a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in which she referenced Six-Day War hero and future Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“With us today is Mr. Rabin. After the war of 1967 … as chief of staff, he said: ‘Here is the Israeli army that came back victorious. It came back a sad army, despite its victory; sad because of our men who fell, but also because of our sons who were compelled to shoot others.’

“These two things we do not want,” Meir continued. “We do not want to be shot at — and, believe me — we do not want to shoot others.”

Now, almost exactly 35 years later, long after both Sadat (1981) and Rabin (1995) were assassinated by their own countrymen because of their willingness to make peace, Israelis are being shot at … and they are shooting others.

Thousands of missiles have been launched at the Holy Land from Hamas militants in Gaza, killing five Israeli citizens and injuring dozens more as of Wednesday's cease-fire announcement. Israel responded with firepower that caused heavy damage and killed more than 150 people, including many civilians.

A bunch of those civilians were children, some too young to even know Israel exists.

It is an awful dichotomy for those of us who are American Jews.

On the one hand, we sit here safe and secure, half a world away from the missiles that terrify Jewish mothers and their kids living in the country of Saul, David and Solomon — the land our ancestors were led to by Moses.

On the other hand, on our television screens we see the tiny, lifeless bodies of Gazan children carried by their wailing parents who lost them in an Israeli air strike.

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