Twenty-five years ago, in late 1989, I enrolled in an ulpan or Hebrew immersion program at Mishmar Haemek, a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley. When I met the kibbutzniks as well as the other students in the ulpan, many of them would ask me two questions.
Whether the blood spilled is Israeli or Palestinian, it is red. Responsibility for spilling that blood is on the hands of both Israel and Hamas. Perhaps sometimes war can be just, but there is nothing holy or just about Hamas targeting Israeli civilians or the death of Palestinian children caused by Israeli bombardment.
For years I avoided engaging in discussions about the Israel/Arab situation -- I just didn't want to deal with it. That all changed about three-and-a-half years ago when my parents moved to Jerusalem. Now my immediate family is there and my comfort in the ability to duck the debate vanished.
The "proportionality" argument being used to singularly condemn Israel simply does not hold water. One only has to read a history book and take a hard look at the rest of the world to see why.
Arab states have an interest in promoting an Israeli-Palestinian deal, not just to please Washington and not just to distract from the spiraling conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Addressing the Palestinian issue, and accounting for Israel's permanence within the realm of Islam, would bring governments tremendous momentum and finally approach closure on the refugee situation.
The principal reason for the existence of all government is to confer safety to its citizens. If the government of Israel did not respond to the escalating danger from Hamas, it would be failing in its most basic reason for being.
We should have 100 Ayman Mohyedin's out there -- people of any background who are willing to tell the stories that are not being told simply because it's the right thing to do. What better aspiration could we guide our young people towards than that?
Today, as we watch the number of Palestinians who have been killed rise well above 500. Academics in the United States and Europe have been speaking out on the killings, writing opinion pieces and blogs, signing any number of petitions. But in Israel dissent is clearly much more difficult, and dangerous, to express.
A Greater Israel cannot be anything but an apartheid state, and exclusionary ethnic nationalism of this sort is not sustainable in the 21st century. Israel's Arab subjects will eventually demand equal rights, and as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned back in 2007, once that happens, "the state of Israel is finished."
If one doesn't have the facts, the cagey and deceptive news media can persuade one to false conclusions: they make it sound as if two equal military adversaries are exchanging fire: the reality and devastation on the ground in Gaza dispels all such dubious insinuations.
The reality is that I am not living the nightmare that the people of Palestine are living. They are constantly living in a state of fear and panic not knowing what will happen next. What I know is that nobody wins in war. War brings division and division brings displacement.
I am one of the fortunate ones. I have never been to war or singed with its insanity. When I see my government voluntarily send our citizens into battle without truth, on rationales that obviously lie to our faces, I want to raise my scream to the biosphere.
The longer the war goes, especially Israel's ground offensive, the more likely that all Palestinians, even those in the West Bank, could rally around Hamas.
Hamas is fighting an enemy that does not exist. They have destroyed the opportunity of a generation of Gazans to grow up without war. They have crushed their own people's progress, their education, their achievements and their chance for dignified road to statehood.
Make no mistake about it: the dehumanization of Muslims didn't just happen overnight. On the contrary, it's part of a long process of failed imaging, stereotyping, misrepresentation and flat out bias in the press, entertainment industry and society in general.
On the face of it, the casualty figures in Gaza may seem not that horrific to Americans -- unless you transpose that same level of death and mayhem to the United States, 176 times the population of Gaza.