James Responds to the War

By James Grant-Rosenhead, HDUK Boger and member of Kibbutz Mishol

The 2 supermarkets I went to here in the last few days were jam packed. Russian speakers, Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, Ultra-Orthodox Jews - we have them all in our neighbourhood, and they are all stocking up, big time. It is tense and intense - like everyone is both simultaneously horrified and terrified by what has happened but also everyone is fearful about the possibility of the war to come in the North, with Hezbollah…

On the positive side of that though, I feel really deeply grateful that I live with so many Arabs / Palestinians here in this town, so that we look each other in the eyes as humans, even just struggling through the overcrowded aisles of the supermarkets, rather than only encountering each other through the horrific headlines and hateful social media.

The main thing filling the news and social media here, probably unlike there, is a constant stream of eyewitness and survivor accounts of what happened in Kibbutzim in the South. Unimaginable massacres in Beeri, Kfar Aza, Kisufim, as well as a couple of outdoor festivals / raves. So many, many stories of innocent civilians murdered and kidnapped. Kids. Grandparents. Whole families. Totally indiscriminate slaughter, as the actual aim of the attack, not as a tragic biproduct of a military campaign which targets fighters but unfortunately costs 'collateral damage' (a disgusting phrase, but nevertheless true in terms of the IDF aims).

Those stories of people missing and dead just keep on coming, all day every day right now, as more and more survivors speak about what happened and the bodies are gradually cleared up.

I am sure that the images of Gaza which appear on the news there are also sickening - as you can imagine, those stories generally appear less here. Especially now.

Everyone here is saying that this is an historic turning point. Not just another 'mini-war' like those that have happened every few years since leaving Gaza in 2005. I've no idea what that means in reality. I know that what Hamas have 'achieved' is totally shocking everyone. But I don't have any clue what the Israeli 'game changer' response can be, other than a total ground invasion aiming to genuinely 'erase Hamas' from Gaza. If that's what's about to happen, the bloodshed will be devastating, on both sides, including many innocent Palestinians, even if they are not the targets. Also, I'm not convinced that 'erasing Hamas' is an achievable aim, any more than Hamas killing all the Jews and destroying Israel is an achievable aim. So what will really change?