SABBATICAL NOTES. 27 JULY 2014. SUNDAY. N2.
'A lifetime's worth of work, and now it's gone.'
THAT WAS how Mohammed Biltaji, 38, described what happened to his cousin's home in Shajaiya, now just ruins: 'A lifetime's worth of work, and now it's gone.'
His cousin is Khalid Biltaji, 64.
The Los Angeles Times account, "12-hour truce allows Palestinians to return" (carried by Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 27 Jul 2014, A50) written by Alexandra Zavis and Batsheva Sobelman, describes the truce this way: 'It was a day to take stock of the damage, search for the missing and bury the dead.'
'At 8 a.m. Saturday, guns fell silent across much of the Gaza Strip for a 12-hour pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas. Palestinians surged into devastated areas to see what remained of their homes and recover a few precious belongings. On the Israeli side, the truce meant a welcome respite from the need to rush to a shelter whenever sirens warned of approaching rockets.'
We are told of the 'stench of death' with 'more than 130 bodies (pulled) from under the rubble where they had lain for days in neighborhoods cut off by fighting, pushing the Palestinian death toll above 1,000.'
The deaths on the Israeli side have peaked to 42, three of these civilians, the rest soldiers.
The respite from this game of peek-a-boo, from running away from the missiles, and from hiding in shelters even when some shelters are not safe made the people of Gaza realize what had happened to them: 'yawning craters, pancaked homes and mountains of debris.'
With Hamas firing rockets at Israel, and Israel, out of self-defense, responding, there is not letup to this conflict, and the civilian populace will always be caught in between.
The Khan Yunis tragedy is a proof: 12 members of an extended family taking shelter in a home there perished in the Israeli strike.
There is so much to process from this, and the mind could hardly catch up with the regression of events, with more deaths added on the list, their numbers increasing by day in this unnecessary war between neighbors, a war that had protracted to 19 days since in started on July 8.
Something is missing in the peace efforts.
Whatever it takes, the two sides must come back to the bargaining table again, and like neighbors, must spell out the terms of their peaceful co-existence.
No Palestine can ever be built outside Palestine.
No Israel can ever be built outside Israel.
Either way, the sooner they explore the language of understanding and the promise of that language, the better for them both.
If only for the children.
Flowers on their graves, like those beautiful tulips, are always useless for the dead.
Those beautiful flowers would only become a defense mechanism to mask off the stupidity of the living.