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Security Through Peace, Not War

by Oui Sun May 12th, 2024 at 01:10:44 PM EST

After 7 Months First Signs of Sanity ... there is HOPE after all. ✌🏽 ☮️

"We Jews know what it is, we live with a lot of loss in our genes," says Polak. "All that violence doesn't help, you can't bomb ideologies to pieces." What will the children in Gaza need later? 'My heart bleeds when I think of them. Recognition. And trucks full of psychologists, but there aren't that many psychologists.'

In her recently published essay Letter in the Night,  Chaja Polak writes about the war between Israel and Hamas and the search for nuance. As a child of Jewish parents in the Second World War, she knows the pain and sorrow of all parties, while her family in Israel is hardly able to do so.

Empathy for the suffering of both Israel and Gaza | Buitenhof Twan Huijs interviews Chaja Polak | 5 May 2024 |

Today another exception to the rule, Dutch corporate media are complicit in the war crimes of Israel in Gaza. As if a switch has been thrown ...

Except the political leaders in The Hague are adding fuel to the fire of pro-Palestine protest for being biased pro-Israel and support for war criminal, murderer Bibi Netanyahu. A number of (Israeli) Jews in the Netherlands clearly distanced themselves from themselves of the most right-wing, neo-fascist government in Israel ... "Don't put blame on us, we didn't vote for him, nor his ultra-right wing fascists."


This week in Buitenhof: Jouke de Vries about student protests, Sheher Khan and Itay Garmy about conversation amid polarization, Alon-Lee Green about 'Standing Together', Renske Leijten and Eva González Pérez join us to talk about the lessons of the Benefits Scandal .

Now universally available via YouTube

Must watch and listen to the taped interview on Buitenhof with Alon-Lee Green.

Shabbat Vayikra/Shabbat Zachor: Standing Together Guest Speakers Alon-Lee Green and Sally Abed | 27 Mar 2024 |

Book reviews:

'Beautiful and clear in language. So honest, even to the point of being painful. Chaja Polak looks behind the walls of hatred and ignorance and does not shy away from self-examination. I am deeply impressed by it.' - Adriaan van Dis

'An essay that deeply affected me. It touches on everything I constantly think about.' - Bertien Minco, director of the Camp Westerbork Remembrance Center

'An essay that deeply affected me'. Pre-publication Letter in the Night by Chaja Polak

Reasoning quickly become black or white, also to avoid the yes-but trap. It is understandable, says Chaja Polak, but solutions other than violence must be sought for the protracted conflict between Israel and Gaza.

The Jewish monthly magazine Vrijdagavond hereby publishes, thanks to Cossee publishers, the first two chapters of Polak's essay Letter in the night, Thoughts about Israel and Gaza.

As I write the first sentences of this essay, bombs are falling on Gaza, rockets are falling on Israel, October 7, when the world tilted, is already months behind us, and four innocent Hanukkah lights are burning in my room, my family in Israel is begging for a miracle and I keep thinking of an article in Ha'aretz - a left-wing Israeli newspaper read by only five percent of the population -, I keep thinking of an article that keeps me going. It tells the story of two journalists, Yuval Abraham, an Israeli journalist, and Ahmed Alnaouq, a journalist from Gaza. Two young men, only in their twenties. Both convinced that knowing the 'enemy', knowing 'the other', could bring peace closer.

In 2019, they launched a plan inviting Gazans to write about their daily lives, their worries and concerns, their desires. The digital letters would be placed under the name Across the Wall on an Israeli site, intended for Israeli eyes. And hearts. Immediately after announcing this project via Facebook, one hundred and fifty Israelis offered to translate the digital letters from Arabic to Hebrew. And so it happened. It was a modest project, but it was there. The letters opened a crack in the blackness of that unknown strip of overpopulated land, bringing some light and air.

It was not just everyday concerns that were written about, poverty and dictatorship were rampant in that shithole of a country, and yet, in that crack of light, created by words and sentences - by language - ordinary people appeared to live, people who lived on their own. on my days off I also liked to go outside with family and friends, to the sea or to a park. People who celebrated birthdays, worried about their children's school performance, or were proud of it. People who fell in love, got married, cooked dinner and put their children to bed. These letters transformed Gaza residents, in the eyes of Israelis, from hostile neighbors, hidden behind high fences and high walls, into recognizable people.

They had met, the two journalists. I imagine myself somewhere in Europe, perhaps at a conference. They started talking, coincidentally they were at the same table with pamphlets and books, or were waiting in front of the cloakroom at the same time. That's how it might have happened. They started talking, soon surprised by recognition of concerns, surprised by shared dreams. They put on their coats and decided to continue the conversation in a cafe. I imagine them sitting across from each other at a brown wooden café table, drinking black coffee, lots of black coffee with lots of sugar, and as they talk their thin, heated faces move across the table closer to each other.

Impressed by their unity and recognition of hope and enthusiasm. It is still far before October 7, 2023, four years before that. The young men look alike, their resemblance is obvious to the guests in the cafe. Both have dark hair, dark eyes under dark eyebrows, and one of them has a beard of several days. Their clothes are washed out, their voices whisper hoarse. They must be brothers, the guests think. Or cousins.

In my imagination the plan of hope is born there in the café.
Across the Wall, translated by Israeli, will be read for a number of years. Sometimes with an open mind, sometimes with reluctance, but it was read, and more and more people from both countries cautiously participated in the project. And then it becomes October 7, the day of the sadistic massacre by Hamas. With more than twelve hundred dead and two hundred and thirty hostages. Mainly young left-wing peace activists.

And the world is tilting.

And the letters project floats above Israel and Gaza, lost among the bombs and rockets, high in the digital sky.

And it hurts to know that, as Foreign Affairs (an American magazine for in-depth analysis and debate on international relations) writes on October 25, 2023, the vast majority of Gazans were frustrated with the Hamas leadership just before that attack and most were not supported their ideology.

That seventh October and the weeks that followed, Ahmed Alnaouq, the Gazan journalist, was somewhere in England. I assume in London. He can't go back. As worried as he is by the alarming reports from his native country, he wants nothing more than to be with his family. But the borders are closed to him. Then Ahmed Alnaouq receives the message that his entire family, twenty-three people, are buried under the rubble of their house. The peace project of the two passionate men comes to an abrupt end. Perhaps also an end to the friendship between them.

I see the young Palestinian from Gaza wandering the streets of London, evening falls, night falls, he just walks and walks. He tries to come to terms with the death of his family. I am alone, he repeats with every step, alone. My parents are gone, my grandparents are gone, my sisters and brothers and their young families, they are gone, I am alone.

It becomes light again, it's dawn and he walks and walks.

Across the wall: The role of Palestinian stories in Hebrew | The New Arab |

States of Journalism: Ahmed Alnaouq's conversation with an Israeli journalist turned into an ambitious media project that is shifting perspectives and shines a light on Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people through Hebrew-language content.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fGQayJE__O0

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