Where is our compassion?
The Jewish Daily Forward - 08/03/2014
It is all too easy to become inured to the horrors of war. What at first shocks us soon ceases even to arouse our attention. After decades of violent conflict, Israelis have become tragically accustomed to violence. Operation Protective Edge is just the latest in a long line of military operations and wars that Israel has fought since its establishment. Even in the breaks between these conflicts, the violence has been relentless. Infiltrations, suicide terrorism and now rocket attacks have ensured that violence is a recurrent, almost habitual feature of life in Israel. The result of this has been a deeply traumatized and desensitized population.
More than anything else, it is this constant exposure to violence that explains why so many Israeli Jews seem unmoved by the massive violence their army has unleashed upon Gaza. They are convinced that this violence is a fully justified and necessary response to Hamas’s rocket attacks and tunnel infiltrations. Polls show that Israel’s military operation in Gaza is hugely popular in Israel. But a popular war could still evoke sympathy for its innocent victims. There are many such victims in Gaza. Palestinian men, women and children trapped in a war zone, terrified, and increasingly without access to basic necessities. Yet their plight, not to mention the hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed, seems of little, if any, concern to Israelis determined to inflict a punishing blow on Hamas.