I’ve been reading about the airstrikes in Sudan. I first read about it as part of a threat from Khartoum, that they reserve the right to strike Israel back. It was, according to the Sudanese, a foregone conclusion that Israel was responsible. My first reaction was a snicker that combined two thoughts simultaneously, “yeah, like they can reach us” and “sheesh, something explodes and they blame us.”
I stand by the first response, but retract the second one. The more I read, the more I think it could have been us – that it should have been. There were in fact two attacks – one previously that wiped out a convoy of vehicles loaded with arms for Gaza; and then last week, an arms manufacturing plant owned by Iran.
I find it rather ironic that here the Sudanese are, allowing weapons for terrorists in Gaza and Iran to be manufactured on their land, and they have the nerve to complain when the target of those weapons preemptively strikes and obliterates the factories.
One of the things I love about Elie (whose name will apparently soon be changing to Eli if I can remember to type it that way according to the preferences of the amazingly wonderful young couple…and what is wrong with Elie?…well, never mind…) – so one of the things I love about Elie is his ability to analyze, to keep up to date and digest the information he accumulates. In this case, it is part analysis and part reading the news.
One of the papers Elie read over the weekend showed two maps – a map marking the distance from Israel to Khartoum, and a map showing the distance from Israel to Iran. Significantly, the distance to Khartoum is quite a bit further and so, in this airstrike, Israel is sending another message to Iran.
Oh yes, we can hit you – and we will, if you don’t stop. We do not want war. We really truly just want to raise our children and our grandchildren in our land – and oh yes, it is our land. We were ready to share it in 1948 but you Arabs refused it. You turned down the offer of half the land in favor of war and to this day, you haven’t understood that you caused the “Middle East conflict” – not us.
Every turn of the earth bears testimony to our history in this land and promises our future. By whatever reckoning you make – history, might, right – this land is ours. It is you who came later, you who have gone to war repeatedly to take it from us instead of choosing to live here in peace.
You can choose peace and life; you can choose war and death. Whatever you choose, we have no choice but to accept your actions and deal with them. This is the lesson for Iran and the lesson for Gaza.
Last week, dozens and dozens of rockets were fired at Israel; people were badly injured, maimed by your violence. Last night more rockets, this morning four GRAD missiles were fired at Beersheva – a beautiful, quiet city in the middle of the Negev desert – where schools are canceled today because we are not willing to risk the lives of our children.
You can choose peace and life – or you will get war and death. That is the lesson Israel delivered last week in Sudan. We can reach you in Gaza; we can reach you in Sudan. We can reach you wherever you are, if the promises you make are threats against us.
And one more thing – our patience is wearing thin. The rockets will be stopped. Four years ago, when I picked Elie up from the edges of Gaza after he’d fought in the Gaza War, he told me, “Ima, they stopped us too soon.” They stopped because Barack Obama had been elected and was coming into office in two days and Israel was feeling the pressure; knowing Obama wanted the focus on him and not a war in the Middle East.
I can only hope four years later, we are smarter. Smarter about Obama, smarter about Gaza, smarter about the Iranians. A lesson for us; a lesson for them.
Visit A Soldier’s Mother.Paula R. Stern