Psychological versus mortal danger: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in real time

Marianne Azizi writes:

As I sit looking at social media, messages are flying around from both Israelis and Palestinians; the dominant emotion is fear and justification for the action on both sides.

Marianne Azizi

Marianne Azizi

But one side is a nuclear power, with armed forces, weapons and a strategy, and the other has random missiles with no real aim.

Some 1.8 million people are squashed in a small area – the Gaza Strip – scrabbling for shelter, as 29 people lost their lives today. The score is 29 Palestinians vs 0 Israelis. The rest of the world is watching Brazil and Germany with a score of 7-1 to the Germans. Ironic? [Editor’s note: at the time of publication the “score” had risen to 41 Palestinians dead and more than 300 wounded vs 0 Israeli dead and 0 wounded.]

Messages fly in – we are under attack – guess which side is saying this? Both of them write this. Both are under attack, and both sides are defending themselves.

I have friends and family in Israel and fear for them but I know they are only in psychological danger. I have friends in Gaza and I fear for them because they are in mortal danger. This is the difference.


Pro-Palestinian groups are sprouting up all over the internet, wanting to protect and save the Palestinian people from death, affected by photographs and garnishing their attitudes against Israel.

It will get them nowhere. The UN, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Arab neighbours cannot change the mindset fixed in the Israeli governments psyche. They won’t listen to popular arguments.

If millions of people in the UK campaigned against the Iraqi war and lost, it seems likely the growing pressure of ordinary people will have the same effect upon Israel’s policies, a zero score.

One person in Israel writes she can hear rockets firing constantly while simultaneously a Palestinian writes that the rocket fire is scaring the children. We will continue to comment, give opinions as the 24 hour news channels and internet fill up with the blame game.

But there is a voice in Israel, a small quiet one that is trying to grow. Breaking the Silence – a website set up by soldiers to tell their stories of brutal orders they didn’t want to carry out; voices for peace; voices begging for a real process for Human Rights for Israelis and Palestinians alike are leaking out and trying to get the media to listen to them.

So let us listen. Let us search for those voices of reason. Talk about the need for a human rights process and channel. Dare Israel to risk treaties which will enable Palestinians, but also enable Israelis a channel and a voice for their own rights. They don’t want to live in poverty any more than a Palestinian. Israel is all smoke and mirrors. Yes, it should have a right to exist but not at the cost of confining people to a ghetto, and shooting them for daring to object.

I shall hold my breath tonight and this week for all the people I love in the region. I cannot distinguish between them, the Jew or the Arab. They are just people and when we stop caring for human beings, we can be sure when the time comes they might not care about us when we need them most.


Marianne Azizi is author of the book Sour Milk and Stolen Honey.

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