We are all saddened by the loss of life of civilians in Gaza, as well as in Israel, of men, women and children caught in war. The Israeli military is definitely doing its best in the challenge to avoid these casualties as Hamas attacks from within civilian population "shields". But we are also appalled by the use of images of Palestinian children casualties as a weapon of psychological war in defense of Hamas and against Israel. This is now rampant in the Arab press (even in Jordan, with whom we have a peace treaty), where we are accused of "war crimes" and "massacre". But it is also being used in the European and American media.
For many years we have grown rather accustomed here to seeing hords of Palestinians in Gaza marching down their streets in mass rallies for Hamas, the party they elected to represent them, burning both Israeli and American flags and burning effigies of our leaders and doing mock bus bombings, and mock suicide attacks on Israeli cafes and knifing of mock orthodox Jews with sidecurls. With great chanting for Jihad (holy war) we hear them- civilian men, women and children- shouting "death to Israel!" We are constantly saddened and sickened as we watch lovely little children saying, in response to their teachers' promptings, "We want to be shahids (suicide "martyr" bombers), and take Jerusalem with blood and fire!", brandishing their toy kalachnikovs. Yes, the innocent little children, poisoned with hatred, murder, and suicide. We also find it impossible to understand the great joy and celebrations amongst the Palestinians after each terrorist attack that kills and maims innocent Israeli men, women and children.
At the same time we see peace rallies in Tel Aviv's Rabin square, from Jewish people who are desperate for the cessation of hatred and hostilities, to which there is sadly no equivalent anywhere in the Arab world. Most Jewish people are simply not interested in war, but would rather, like the lovable cartoon character Shrek, say, "Can't we just settle this over a pint?" But unfortunately, history has proven that without a strong military our chances of survival are slim.
Nevertheless, within the Palestinian population are people of good will- but who dare not raise their voices. An Arab Christian contact here has told me that none are suffering under the Palestinian leadership more than the Christian Arab. The solution he delivered to me was, "Please tell Israel to come back!" (to those areas Israel has withdrawn from). Please pray for these men of good will.
Meanwhile the constant rain of rockets, missiles and mortars onto the Israeli civilian population continues, with miraculously few casualties due to odd "coincidences" as these deadly weapons score direct hits. Yesterday a Katyusha missile from Lebanon came through the roof of an old age home and exploded, leaving the old folks- some being Holocaust survivors from Europe- shaken but untouched, thank the good Lord.