Monday’s events aren’t a ‘tragedy’. They are the result of our leaders choosing not to listen. Suggesting otherwise paves the way for more bloodshed
Commentators have again reached for the word “tragedy” to describe Monday’s clash at the Gaza border fence, which resulted in the highest death toll in a single day since the end of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. But “tragedy” is the wrong word. Tragedies are inevitable catastrophes, like natural disasters; and it was not inevitable that more than 50 people had to die on Monday. The word signifies a wider problem: by repeatedly asserting that nothing can be done to change things for the better, we are allowing the next round of violence and bloodshed to take place.
Israel is my home and the conflict has affected every aspect of my life, from the 1991 Gulf war that burdened my childhood; through the second intifada that cast its shadow over my school years with buses exploding regularly in my home town of Tel Aviv; to the 2008-2009 Gaza war that I experienced in the Israel Defence Forces, which I enrolled in for three years as part of my national service and where I served as a journalist and presenter in the official forces radio station. I do not need any convincing about the role that Hamas has played in escalating the crisis in Gaza that led thousands of desperate Palestinians towards the border fence during Monday’s fatal clashes. Life in the Gaza Strip under Hamas rule is defined by despair and scarcity.