On November 8, during an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) incursion into the Gaza Strip in order to dismantle a smuggling tunnel beneath the border fence, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, attacked the Israeli ground forces, injuring an Israeli soldier. The attack was perpetrated in response to the death of Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa, a thirteen year-old Palestinian who died from crossfire earlier that day.
On November 10, an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip hit an Israeli army jeep patrol near the Karni border crossing, injuring four Israeli soldiers. The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), claimed responsibility for the attack. Subsequently, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched several retaliatory air strikes that killed six Palestinians, and Palestinian militants fired more than 180 rockets into Southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Following an Egyptian mediated ceasefire agreement, the IAF bombed three targets in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the IAF achieved direct hits on a smuggling tunnel and a weapons storage site in northern Gaza, as well as a rocket-launching site in the southern part of the Hamas-controlled enclave. Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, declared that “Israel did not abide by the agreement”, and thus, the rocket fire subsequent to the Israeli aerial intervention in the Gaza Strip “was a retaliation to the Israeli violation”.
On November 14, after six days of incessant cross-border fire, the State of Israel renewed its policy of targeted assassinations in order to “cripple the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure”. Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades chief, Ahmed Jabari, who was behind the 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and his son were killed in a targeted IDF air strike. Subsequently, according to IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, the IDF deployed additional infantry units in Southern Israel for a possible ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.
The above narration of the latest headline-grabbing round of cross-border violence illustrates how the conflict and the mainstream media have dehumanized both Israelis and Palestinians. The following love story does not.
Joujou, a German-Palestinian editor who studied Literature, Drama and Art, is the representative of Palestine loves Israel, a Facebook page linked to The Peace Factory, a non-profit, non political organization promoting peace in the Middle East region. She is the granddaughter of Palestinian refugees from Haifa who were forced to abandon their home following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Her father was born in a Lebanese refugee camp and she has family in Lebanon and Syria, among other countries.
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“Both Palestinians and Israelis feel like victims, and as long as (they do), both…will have a reason to attack each other. As soon as the victims humanize the enemies and understand the fear and trauma of the others, the conflict will finish,” she said.
Under this premise, Joujou created Palestine loves Israel, “a Facebook page about peace and not about taking sides-” For this she has received “threats as well as critics like, for example: you are mad, you are insane, Israelis will never love Palestinians back.”
“Israelis conceive the word Palestine and its derivates as synonyms of threat, it is not hate toward the Palestinian people, it is fear for annihilation, that is why promoting coexistence is important, and the base for coexistence is education,” she said.
“At school, Israeli children only learn the Israeli historical narrative, when in truth, our history is bonded to Palestinian history, and if you prevent knowledge, the children do not understand the other”.
At the time of writing, Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad has commenced. Nevertheless, as Ronny Edry, the founder of The Peace Factory, says:
“You have to believe in peace even in the bad days.”