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Trump's reckless statement triggered the Gaza snowball effect

Last week Trump made a reckless statement regarding the USA acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The recklessness of it is less about what was said, but more about the context, the timing and by whom.

The result is that it has triggered a snowball effect which we cannot yet estimate its size or intensity, however damage has already happened and it is costing lives.

Last Friday evening a "Color Red" alert was heard in my town Sderot. A few blocks away from my home a rocket fired from Gaza hit between houses, causing trauma to several people nearby and damage to property. Earlier in the day Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated near the fence with Israel and dozens were injured and at least one killed from Israeli firing following these demonstrations.

Next morning I read that at least 4 people were killed in Gaza following Israel's response to the rocket firing into Israel. This is the snowball effect I am talking about. We live in such a fragile region that one carless and stupid move can lead to destruction, trauma, injuries and death. The possibility that this is only the beginning of a larger round of violence where many more will be hurt is not unlikely.

The disgraceful reality is that since the end of the last war in Gaza (Summer of 2014), my government has done absolutely nothing to prevent the next war from occurring. While at the same time it invested billions of dollars in reinforcements, barriers ammunition and attack plans for the next round. Such Stupidity, obtuseness, carelessness in a leadership that does not even try to prevent the next disaster that everyone knows will come.

True, the "other side" has failed as well. They too were preparing for the next round, but my government is supposed to care about me, my family, friends and neighbors and had the duty to do everything in its power to reach a long term agreement with our enemy that will prevent what we are now facing. They did nothing!

Every Friday for the past 6 months a small group of civilians from Other Voice קול אחר صوت آخر stood at the Yad Mordechai Junction close to the Gaza/Israel border calling our government to talk to the other side. We were too few, although we did try to recruit many others. Thousands of people drove by there and saw us each week. Most ignored us, some cheered us and few cursed, threatened and even threw objects at us.

We were Naïve. Not because our call was wring in any way, but because of the hope we had that many others would join us. Sadly only when war breaks up people wake up, and then it is too late…

Without a solution to the terrible reality in Gaza and the Palestinian issue as a whole, there is no chance we will get out of this cycle of violence where every few years there is another round where more people get hurt and the fear and pain and hatred deepen. Everyone understands this, however no leadership has taken a brave step to move out of this cycle.

The leadership in Gaza is a bad an extremist and cruel one. Its own people are the ones who pay a highest price for this. However, Israel's policies over the years have only strengthened it and encouraged extremism to thrive even more. Without hope this process will only get worse and we will keep living in the impossible reality of violence rounds, trauma and no hope.

I have very close Palestinian friends both in Gaza and in the West Bank. Through these acquaintances I know that the vast majority of Palestinians want a just solution that will bring an end to the conflict. I am certain that if the Palestinians will have hope that basic rights of self-determination, security and freedom will be achieved, the process of radicalization will be replaced by a process of moderation and we will eventually be able to live as neighbors and friends.

Another war in our region will be a catastrophe. We see how it started, with Trump's miserable statement, but we do not know how and when it will end. We do know that it will bring more pain and suffering to many innocent people.

I call upon my government to immediately initiate talks with the Palestinians and reach a long term agreement that will bring hope to all of us.

Eric Yellin - Sderot