Earlier today I read your “Open Letter to Khalil from Gaza,” the one in which you conjured up an imaginary Palestinian, someone like yourself — a loving husband and father, trying to do right by his family — and informed him that tonight his seven-year-old daughter would die.
“You’ll wake up in the middle of the night,” you wrote, “to a deafening explosion. Your whole house will tremble. Parts of the ceiling will fall on you. You’ll run to your daughter’s bedroom, and find the northern wall gone, your daughter lying on the broken floor, a charred husk.”
You went on to explain that although it will be your government, the Israeli government, that fires the missile that perpetrates that atrocity, Khalil mustn’t be mad at them, or you, because it will be Hamas, not Israel, who will have placed his daughter in danger, Hamas who will have condemned her to death.
And so I have a question for you, Boaz. My question is this.
Even if I accept your fictional narrative of the murder of Khalil’s child, and the moral calculus you impose on it, what about the other Palestinian children?
What about the children killed by your country’s wayward missiles, and its jumpy border guards? What about Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa, shot down earlier this month by a stray Israeli bullet fired by a soldier who never knew he existed?
Is there no room in your response to such tragedies for ambivalence, for doubt, for taking up the moral burdens of your own country’s actions?
Can you honestly imagine no other way to reach out to a Palestinian who has just lost his daughter than to chastise him? To chide him? To lecture him? Is that where your moral imagination, your capacity for humanity, ends?
Is this actually what you would want to say to a person whose child your government’s army was about to murder? To a person, an innocent, whose life was about to be destroyed as the side-effect of an attempt to keep your family whole?
Is that it? Is that really it?
And if it is — if you were speaking from the heart in your open letter, if it represents the truest and best of who you are — then tell me this, please: Why on earth should he not hate you?
Why on earth should I not hate you?