Wednesday, June 08, 2005
The two women stood less than 30 feet apart in front of the U.S. Courthouse, but they but never spoke, never appeared to see each other, both surrounded by reporters with microphones into which they pleaded their cases.
One was the mother of a young woman killed in a suicide attack on a bus in Israel 11 years ago. The other was the wife of the man accused of aiding the attackers, Sami Al-Arian.
We are then dramatically told that both women "called for justice."
Both women, Yaffa Elharar and Nahla Al-Arian, called for justice.
It would be interesting to find out just who financed Yaffa Elharar's trip to the US. The same public relations crew who advised taking a bombed out bus to the Hague while the apartheid wall deliberations were going on, no doubt.
Rather than serving as a dupe for reactionary elements in the Israeli government, Yaffa Elharar would do a lot better to further peace and understanding if she hooked up with Nurit Peled-Elhanan. Nurit, daughter of the late general Matteyahu Peled also lost a daughter to a suicide bomber, but unlike Elharar, Nurit understands the motivations of suicide bombers and shows an immense capacity for empathy. Nurit is a great human being; one can not read her works without recognizing her inordinate humaneness.
Nurit in a speech to Women in Black said, "When my little girl was killed, a reporter asked me how I was willing to accept condolences from the other side. I replied without hesitation that I refused it: When representatives of Netanyahu's government came to offer their condolences I took my leave and would not sit with them. For me, the other side, the enemy, is not the Palestinian people. For me the struggle is not between Palestinians and Israelis, nor between Jews and Arabs. The fight is between those who seek peace and those who seek war. My people are those who seek peace. My sisters are the bereaved mothers, Israeli and Palestinian, who live in Israel and in Gaza and in the refugee camps. My brothers are the fathers who try to defend their children from the cruel occupation, and are, as I was, unsuccessful in doing so. Although we were born into a different history and speak different tongues there is more that unites us than that which divides us."
Nurit Peled-Elhanan gets it. One can only hope that Yaffa Elharar will get over her desire for vengeance one day, and understand that she is being used and duped by her government. When a minister representing "Citizens For A Fair Trial" spoke to her outside the courthouse he said,``The thing that we want so much is to get at the root causes ... it has everything to do with poverty and desperation,'' Elharar's husband replied, " It also has to do with unbounded hatred."
Yaffa Elharar added, ``I didn't raise my children to throw rocks.''
The Elharars are mired in their own hatred and desire for vengeance. One only hopes that they and those interested in fewer killings and a desire for greater justice heed the wisdom of Nurit Peled-Elhanan.
"It is time to tell Jewish children that the only way to discourage anti-Semitism is by condemning the only government in the world who deliberately sends young Jewish boys and girls to their certain death and who persecutes to the point of genocide a whole Semitic nation, explain to them that this government and the actions of its army, not some primordial hatred for the Jewish race, are the reasons for the invention of the new sign where t he Star of David is equated with the swastika.
"It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to say "no more", to keep our children from obeying unlawful orders and pursuing racist ideologies. And it is time to look at the mutilated bodies of our dead children and ask their forgiveness for not refusing the evil forces before and for letting them be the victims of the horrible, mental infection we are all suffering from, to look at their innocent, astonished, disillusioned small faces and ask ourselves: why???"