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August 26, 2014

Viewpoint from Israel: ‘A lot of the people want peace’

Photo by Einat and Adi of a beach near their home in Israel.

Einat and Adi live about six miles north of Tel Aviv, long considered a safe area in Israel and not threatened by Hamas until recently.

Einat, 15, will start 10th grade this fall. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her friends and her boyfriend. She also has a musical streak, playing guitar, piano and singing in her free time, especially songs by Pink Floyd and the Foo Fighters. Her sister, Adi, is a 13-year-old who will soon enter the eighth grade. She likes to play on the computer and also plays bass guitar in her free time.

In the current conflict between Hamas and Israel, rockets have landed in the Tel Aviv area. Israel has countered those attacks using Iron Dome interceptors, one of which is stationed near the sisters’ house. Before the first attack on Tel Aviv, Adi had never heard a warning siren before.

I was really, really, really scared. I was at home. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, I was just really scared.

I was at my boyfriend’s house and we had just finished a movie. It was a really sad movie, so I was crying, and then there was a siren, and we all went down to the shelter. After 10 minutes, we all got out and I went home fast. At school they tell us to get in the shelter. My mom told me that I have to go near a wall and lie on my side and cover my head.

In my class we didn’t talk about Hamas because it wasn’t such a problem in our area. It’s scary. They’re building tunnels near our country and it’s kind of scary.

I like to watch the news. When it started, I watched the news a lot. Before that, I did not watch the news.

It hasn’t really affected my daily life, but it’s on my mind. I’m not really scared because we have Iron Dome. There’s an Iron Dome really near our house, pretty close, so we hear the rocket, and we hear the boom. We know what’s going on.

I actually didn’t learn about Hamas until two or three years ago. I didn’t really know how to react. What are you supposed to say about that?

The world sees Hamas as good people. I don’t really know what’s going on in the world, but when you see it on Facebook, Hamas is trying to show that they are the good people and we are the bad people.

They are showing pictures of things that have happened in Gaza, but it’s not true. Most of them were in Syria. [This statement refers to the alleged falsification of photos by Hamas, who, some say, showed images of children killed in Syria and claimed they depicted Palestinian children.]

They show a bunch of pictures that suggest that Israel is really bad, and we just sit and watch them die, and they’re the miserable ones because we’re killing their children. But if I asked you if you would protect your own children or someone else’s children, you are going to say your children because they’re more important to you.

We don’t want to kill them. We try to protect any innocent citizen in Gaza, but it’s hard for Israel to protect them because of Hamas. Hamas says that if Palestinians step out of their houses, they’re going to kill them.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. There are people in Gaza not thinking like Hamas thinks. A lot of the people want peace, but Hamas wants war. They want to kill us. They want to fight Israel and conquer Israel and kill all the Jews. It’s destroying their own people’s lives.

The world doesn’t know that Israel wants peace, and that we don’t want to kill Gaza. The Israelis are basically seeking peace and always have been, and prosperity, and the problem is the way we see it, Hamas is not interested in having a relationship with us. They want the land and they want the people here dead.

Adi was nervous that first day. There was a siren. I let her sleep in my room because she was really nervous and I explained to her that everything was going to be okay and that the army protects us.

I slept in her room and it made me calm a little bit, for a couple of days.

There are many rallies against Israel all over the world, and that just makes us feel like the whole world hates Jews for no reason. I don’t think that anybody can judge someone if you don’t know or live what the other person lived.

Interview by Corinne Segal. Names have been changed. Interview was conducted over Skype and transcript has been edited for clarity. Several statements were provided via translator.

For more voices from Palestine, read our interviews with other students in the West Bank and Gaza.

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