If I were not an Israeli, I would have been filled with rage reading Roger Waters' piece about the unfortunate children in Gaza. But since I am an Israeli and I've been living the Arab-Israeli conflict every day since I was born, I was only filled with sadness and despair. Here is a man who seems to be going out of his way in order to do something good, and doesn't realize that if anything, he's doing the exact opposite. I'll explain.
Waters piece is part of a campaign. As such, it fails to truly present a case. In Waters' world there is no Hamas, and this terror organization doesn't live by its sword, doesn't swear to death and violence, and doesn't rule the Gaza strip with primitive Shariya law. In the imaginary world he presents there are no rockets, and Hamas hasn't fired thousands of them at Israel this summer, aiming at 75% of the Israeli population which was saved by the Iron Dome. In his world Hamas has not exploited Palestinian funds in order to purchase arms and build military tunnels with supplies that were intended to build Palestinian homes. In his world Hamas doesn't exploit the UN facilities for military purposes, and doesn't hold public street executions of Palestinians who dare to protest. In his world radical Islam isn't going wild, so Hamas doesn't threaten to overthrow the more moderate leadership in the West Bank, and ISIS is not mass-murdering innocent people in an attempt to take over neighboring countries just around the corner.
But in the real world all these things do exist, and it's impossible to choose not to see them just because it fits the campaign message. In the real world a simplified solution to a complex problem won't solve anything at all.
While all this can be viewed as just an honest overlook, the outcome of such campaigns can be destructive. Israel is far from being holy, but the the conflict has two sides and it is not being kept alive just because of one of them. Waters is not the only one affected with this sort of thinking, but all it does is portray a twisted picture and fuel hatred towards one of the sides, not peace.
While senseless and brutal slaughtering has gone wild in the Middle-East, with 200 thousand butchered in Syria alone in the past 3 years, Waters chooses to focus only on Israel's shortcomings, and on a conflict which had a total death toll of 25 thousand in the last 66 years. His explanation for this is the funding Israel receives from the US, but the fact is that the US, among other countries, also funds the Palestinian leadership. 5 billion dollars in US aid alone has been given to the Palestinian leadership since Hamas seized control of Gaza. The Palestinians are among the world's largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid. Doesn't that call for just a bit of responsibility from their leaders as to where this funding goes?
Just this week in Cairo, donors pledged 5.4 billion dollars to rebuild the destroyed parts of Gaza. But how much of this funding will go into rebuilding Hamas and lining its leaders' pockets instead of being used for the benefit of the Palestinians? How much of it will be used to redig the network of terror tunnels into Israel? And will forced child labor be used again in order to complete this project, in which at least 160 palestinian children tragically died the last time around? A mechanism had been agreed in Cairo with UN involvement, to ensure that international funding not be diverted to finance the rebuilding of Hamas's military capabilities. But sources in Gaza said there was no practical way to control how such money would be spent. If one truly cares for Palestinian children, all of these facts should be a huge concern.
Waters mentions the vote on Monday in the House of Commons of the British Parliament to recognize a Palestinian state, and that's great. Most Israelis still favor a two-state solution, but for a solution to actually crystalize, both sides need to make concessions and change their ways. Waters forgets to mention that Malcolm Rifkind, who served as foreign secretary of the UK, argued that "the Palestinians lacked the basic structures needed for a state at the moment, due to political splits between Hamas and Fatah". He warned that simply voting for the motion could "make ourselves feel important while exacerbating existing problems". Waters also chose not to mention how this vote was explained by the British embassador to Israel: it is a result of Britain's public opinion, which is swaying away from Israel. But what part of this public opinion is influenced by growing anti-Semitism in Britain and in Europe as a whole?
Waters' piece had thousands of shares, but one can't help wondering what it will really promote. If important facts will continue to be buried for the sake of a campaign, only Hamas will have anything to gain.
One-sided campaigns form wrong opinions, and wrong opinions lead to wrong policies. Waters declared that Palestinians should enjoy the same freedoms that he enjoys. That's a very nice thought which no-one could disagree with, but one should remember that no Palestinian, whether child or adult, will enjoy any freedom at all as long as Hamas is in charge and doesn't change its ways.
Campaigns that fuel anti-Semitic sentiments do not promote peace, they promote the interests of Hamas, which poses the biggest threat on young Palestinian children. So while this post may seem like a good deed to some, people who are aware of the complexity of the situation know that this sort of activism regretfully doesn't promote a good cause. It can only cause more harm.