As promised, here’s my translation of the Michál Wasser piece אל תגנו עלינו, לא ככה that appeared in Haaretz on November 15, 2012, during Pillar of Smoke. Wasser, a resident of Kfar Aza, teaches at Sha’ár haNègev School.
Don’t do us Gaza envelope residents any favors
First things first: Don’t protect me like this, please. Not this way.
Here I sit in my security room in Kfar Aza, listening to the explosions from the war-to-end-all-wars going on outside. I still can’t distinguish between “our” explosions and “theirs”; the kids are better at it than I. After all, their “musical ear” has been honed from an early age, so that they can tell the difference between artillery fire and a missile fired from a helicopter; between mortar fire and a Qassam. Blessed are they.
Is this what “defending the home front” looks like? I don’t get it: Did our leaders sleep through history class? Or perhaps they were fed the MaPa’i [party-line Labor] curriculum, or the [hawkish Minister of Education] Gid’on Sa’ar curriculum — unfortunately there’s hardly a difference between the two — and therefore misinterpret the word “defense”. Does protecting the citizenry mean Armageddon every few years? Has no politician ever heard of long-term planning?
Those who wish to defend me, listen up: Don’t send us the IDF in order to “win”. Start thinking long term, and not just ‘til the next election. Negotiate until we see white smoke. Extend a hand to Mahmoud Abbas. Stop the targeted assassinations. Look the other side’s civilians in the eye.
I know that most of the public will accuse me of being a bleeding heart. But I’m the one sitting here while mortars fall outside my window — not Sa’ar, not Benyamin Netanyahu, and not even Shelly Yachimovich and Yair Lapìd. I’m the one who chose to raise her children here, even though I have other options.
Go ahead and accuse me of not being patriotic, of being namby-pamby, but I can’t be accused of hypocrisy: My children served in combat units in addition to a voluntary pre-army year of community service. We live here and love our country. Our war is a war for its integrity, not its borders. It’s a war for our country’s democratic character and for the dignity of its citizens. It’s a war for sanity. So please: Stop killing civilians on the other side of that fence “in order to defend my life”.
If you really want to halt the hostility from the other side, open your ears and start listening: If we’re important to you, stop defending us with missiles and “preemptive killings” and “aerial softening”. Instead of Operation Pillar of Smoke, conduct Operation Hope for the Future. Sure: It’s more complex, requires more patience, and is less popular. But it’s the only way out.