How long will this carnage last? How much more suffering? There are times and places when voices calling for peace sound severely out of tune. Today it is happening in Israel. They resemble the song of a nightingale amidst the howls of a pack of hyenas fighting over carcasses. Of carcasses, once again and worse than ever, Israel and Gaza are overflowing. And this is only the beginning. Human carcasses mauled by the vicious fanaticism that gushes insatiably from the magma of our deep psyche. Once again, the irreconcilable imbalance between our death drives towards the different and the silence of reason is evident. Millennia of civilization have not been enough. We are left at the mercy of our tribalism of origins, and there is no hope. Each side invokes the reasons of its own tribe, deaf and blind to those of the other. And torn apart by rockets and bombs, it certainly takes a forensic doctor to label the scorched flesh, fragmented bones and shreds of brain in the right box of national and religious affiliation.
This time the culprit is Hamas. It is obvious. Hamas is the quintessence of Palestinian fanaticism. It is the weed that has certainly grown on the lush soil of misery, isolation, the hopeless desolation of the place where its followers were born and live. But, let it be clear, the criminal ferocity displayed by Hamas on Saturday 7 October makes it directly responsible for the suffering of their brethren in Gaza.
In Israel, never before has the religious fundamentalism of two thousand years of isolation and persecution flourished. It has certainly allowed us to maintain the heritage of our ancestors, it has protected us from assimilation, it has ‘preserved’ us. The Jewish people owe it much. But Israel was born out of the secular impulse to protect the Jewish people from anti-Semitic fanaticism, to the rebirth of their own nation in which the dictatorship of the strongest could not prevail and oppress, in which they could defend their existence with industriousness, ingenuity and even with arms. Both peoples of Palestine, and the powers that sponsored them, have made unforgivable mistakes that have hindered any compromise aimed at finding a just peace. Peace is not the natural condition of man. It is an achievement that is brought about with commitment, effort, renunciation, all resources available only if enlightened by our rational component. Between Israelis and Palestinians, the darkness is thicker than ever.
But in the current situation, is it possible to imagine a hypothesis of reconciliation?
In an engaging article a few days ago in Repubblica, the great Israeli writer David Grossman writes: “[…] two peoples distorted by an endless war […]. Many years will have to pass, years without war, before we can think of a reconciliation, a healing’. Opprobrious and easy to agree with. But if a single, good and just God of all the living appeared on Earth, I like to think He would proceed first by rescuing Hamas hostages and sparing Israeli and Palestinian civilians as much as possible. Then he would cut the evil at the root by beheading the Hamas leadership and dispersing its militiamen and force the Israeli settlers to withdraw from the West Bank. By putting himself at the head of the table, He would bring together the representatives of the two enemies, forcing them to discuss until the only possible solution is reached: the creation of the State of Palestine alongside and in peace with Israel. Fantasies… lest we succumb to the devastating horror of today.
I join Grossman who writes: ‘Even in wickedness there is a limit’.
COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE (at the bottom of the page)