Guest Column: May peace be upon us



Evan Gildenblatt

When I received word this past Thursday that missiles from Gaza were being launched into the neighborhood in Israel where I previously lived, I became physically ill. What if I had been at home in my old apartment, getting ready for school? I had always felt safe there as a general rule, but when it comes down to brass tacks, there was actually no bomb shelter in my building. What if I had been on call at the ambulance station where I worked? We were trained to respond to terrorist attacks and mass-casualty incidents, but a bulletproof vest and a gas mask begin to seem quite flimsy in the face of air raid sirens and mortar barrages.

I’m sick and tired of the blame, and I’m disgusted with the destruction and chaos. Yes, Hamas maintains an almost constant barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians, and yes, the Israeli Defense Forces continue their targeted assassinations of top Hamas militant leaders. But the fact of the matter is, civilians on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict live their daily lives in fear, and I find it wholly unacceptable.

If not for the “Iron Dome” missile interceptor system, Israeli casualties from more than 800 incoming rockets in the past week would be staggering; equally so for the innocent Palestinians who are spared because of the ethical code of the IDF that prevents intentional infliction of harm on noncombatants. But how many children with dead parents and a crippling case of PTSD will it take for us to finally get the message? What will be the definitive push that makes us realize that a lasting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors means the complete disavowal of ruthless terrorist tactics (such as those that are employed by Hamas) and a guarantee for the self-determination of all parties involved?

Simply put, I worry. I worry for my family and friends whose daily existence is consumed by the fear that their sons and daughters will be sent in to battle to fight an enemy that has no qualms about using its own children as human shields. I worry for the Palestinian child who knows that Hamas is storing explosives in the basement of her school and realizes that she is powerless to stop it. But mostly, I worry that the children I will one day raise will be in the same place 40 years from now, and that I will have to explain to them why my generation failed them.

I implore you to see the humanity in this situation. Don’t propagate the vitriol and hatred that have poisoned the minds of millions, and please don’t become a part of the problem by passing judgment. This is no way to live, and we can’t afford to keep perpetuating the violence. The time is now to have a substantive conversation about the issues, and the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been. Hope is a dangerous thing to lose, so stop waiting for peace and start working for peace.

Contact Evan Gildenblatt at [email protected].