Kites are colorful fabrics attached to a string, soaring on the wind like a bird, with the added frill of petite bows attached to the string, the stuff of a child’s summer joy.
Balloons are also the joy of a child who holds the string as the colorful billowing ball rises in the air, sometimes with a basket attached.
And cars: Aren’t they machines on four wheels with internal combustion that carry people on roads to get from place to place? And airplanes: Aren’t they crafts propelled by motors on fixed wings that enable them to lift into the air and carry people from one city to another, across the world?
Airplane travel has been literally hijacked. Cars have become a tool for vehicular terrorism. And now, kites and balloons, too, have been repurposed for murder.
These are the Palestinian inventions of recent decades. While Israel was developing ReWalk to help people who are paralyzed, and designing irrigation technology to preserve and recycle water in the most arid of places, and creating groundbreaking treatments that have saved lives and alleviated suffering, the cynical use of everyday objects and even toys are what the Palestinians and Gazans have developed.
It’s a contrast of societies: Water. Life. Helping the vulnerable. Death. Destruction. Terrorism.
To see the prairie of southern Israel burning is a frightening thing. The fire’s proximity to Sderot is alarming. From the video footage right outside Michlelet Sapir, it feels a passerby in the foreground can easily be singed by the burning orange glow of towering flames whose heat changes the look of the air, never mind the billowing smoke that has overtaken the skies and completely obstructed the view. Acres of farmland going up in smoke, destroying 30 years of blood, sweat and tears. How? By sending burning kites from Gaza, just a few miles away, to reach Israeli farmland and set the crops on fire.
And so a new form of terrorism is born: environmental terrorism. Agri-terrorism. Or maybe kite terrorism. If you thought kites were for little kids to play with on a summer day, that is now passé. Kites have been repurposed.
Imagine if the international media was not silent, or chose not to be accomplices to this terrorist activity by calling it peaceful protest, but instead reported it for what it is: terrorism, plain and simple. The silence is, as usual, deafening, with no outcry from the media, environmentalist groups, or the U.N.
It has been 51 years to the week since the so-called occupation, and I hate it. It’s a soul-destroying thing. When I lived in Israel as an adult, and for the first time really understood its complexity on a human level, I couldn’t stand knowing that I lived with a measure of freedom and ease that people right alongside me couldn’t have. The lives of Palestinians and Gazans are truly sad.
They are also the byproduct of their own leaders’ hands.
Israel’s hands were tied in 1967, and still are today. Every other nation that wins a war of defense gets to decide what it will do with the territory it has won. But for some reason, unlike any other sovereign nation, Israel is different.
The position Israel finds itself in is sad, but very necessary. Look at the Gaza debacle, the result of Israel having left Gaza unoccupied. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the South remain hostage to Hamas terrorism, their children living with ongoing anxiety, running to bomb shelters in fear of their lives.
In Gaza, where Palestinians were handed an opportunity to rule their land autonomously, no Palestinian state was established. Instead, as many feared, a terrorist entity has risen on Israel’s border.
A human life, or a piece of fabric, living or inanimate, they are all materials for advancing havoc, fear, destruction, and death. And in the end we all suffer for it. Both in Gaza and in Israel.
Forget, for a moment, the dream of an Israeli and a Palestinian child together playing and flying a kite. For now, I dream more modestly. I dream of a day for Gaza, for Palestinians, for Israel, when a kite is just a kite.
Copyright Intermountain Jewish News