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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
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Did Anybody Say ‘The Children of Gaza?’

Did Anybody Say 'The Children of Gaza?'

Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

A runaway hit twit right now is this one:

“Hamas Bumper Stickers: Baby Suicide bomber on board.”

And a joke that’s getting old already goes: Two Palestinian mothers watch their children playing and one of them sighs and says, “They blow up so fast.”

The image I picked this morning is of Arab children visiting what looks like a makeshift amusement park in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern part of the Gaza Strip last summer, during the Eid el-Fitr holiday (marking the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan).

I can understand kids playing with toy guns (although in Gaza they’re not always the toy kind). If a child is surrounded with nothing but war talk and shaheed (martyr)n talk all day long, he’s not going to be playing with a toy microscope.

What I can’t understand is how someone sees these children playing and figures, this is a good time to shoot rockets at Israeli civilians across the border, so that one thing would lead to another and in the end, a few weeks down the road, these very children’s images would be plastered across the world media, carried by their mourning fathers, torn up and bleeding.

I think all of us here, in the tiny space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea need urgent psychiatric care, but if I were the psychiatric nurse doing triage for the worst cases, I would definitely send all my psychiatrists to Gaza first.

It makes no sense. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. A population under serious confinement, left to its own devices, with issues of poverty and housing and unemployment – and with money pouring in to help (just two weeks ago the Emir of Qatar came by to deliver half a billion dollars in aid), and all they end up doing is dragging Israel into yet another massive attack to stop the rocket fire.

Compulsory therapy, that’s what I’m for. A couch on every block, from Erez to Rafah. You have to attend one individual and one group session a week, or a cop will stop you, check your therapy papers and send you to therapy prison.

Or just re-occupy the place and re-integrate it into civilized society, taking out in the process the 10 thousand or so seriously mentally ill Hamas and Jihad and Salafi zealots. It don’t look like the “disengagement” that ruined the lives of thousands of Jewish ex-settlers has done anyone in Gaza much good, either.

Think of the children.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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