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WSJ: In Nir Oz, Many Residents Are Dead & So Is The “Two-State Solution”

“There were around 150 houses in Nir Oz, including those that were burned down, and every one is empty now, its residents dead, kidnapped or living elsewhere as “internally displaced persons”—IDPs in refugee-speak,” an article in the Wall Street Journal stated over the weekend. “Only four houses remain undamaged.”

“There is beauty amid the destruction, a reminder of a paradise lost. Flowers, glossy in the rain, bloom alongside charred houses. A magnificent ficus tree, chock full of parrots, stands unharmed. Yet abandoned tricycles and strollers tell of a place that was full of children. A soccer ball sits punctured in a yard. A young boy’s saxophone lies blackened in the rubble. Ravenous cats emerge as if from thin air as you walk by. The household bins from which they once scavenged are now empty. The ‘Cat Man,’ a resident who put food out for them at stations around the kibbutz, is dead.”

“Also dead is the two-state solution—the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, which would give sovereignty to the people from whose midst came those who laid waste to this kibbutz on Oct. 7. For eight hours they hunted down the kibbutzniks, murdering 46 people and abducting 71, amounting to well over a quarter of those who lived here, making Nir Oz proportionately the hardest-hit of the kibbutzim that Hamas invaded.

“No Israeli politician of consequence speaks today of a Palestinian state, except to dismiss the idea as insane. To speak of a two-state “solution”—a word that sounds incongruous and obscene after Oct. 7—is to earn the wrath of women like Amit Siman Tov, 40, who walked me around her ghostly quiet kibbutz. She’s now an IDP in Kiryat Gat, 40 miles northeast, a city of 60,000—150 times as many people as Nir Oz. ‘It’s concrete,’ she says. ‘No birds, no bicycles, no rosemary bushes.’ She tells me her children, still traumatized, say they ‘feel safer in a building.’

“Like everyone else on the kibbutz, Ms. Siman Tov lived with her family in a single-story house. Like her neighbors, she wished the Gazans well. She recalls farmhands from the strip working the fields with her father, who raised her on the kibbutz: ‘He was their good friend. They used to have coffee in our house. The relationship was positive.’ Construction workers from Gaza would help build houses at Nir Oz. ‘They used to joke sometimes, ‘Oh, I’m building this for myself.’ But they were smiling, and we were smiling.’ Before Oct. 7 Ms. Siman Tov would point to Gaza during bike rides and tell her kids: ‘There are children and women living there, just like me and you.’ She wouldn’t say that now. ‘Our trust has gone. Completely gone.’

“She escaped with her life on Oct. 7, surviving three separate raids on her house over eight hours. The family was barricaded in their safe room—or, in Hebrew, mamad, a word that is on everyone’s lips in Israel. ‘You should add it to the English language,’ she says.

“‘The third time they came, we felt we were going to die.’ The terrorists, having failed to break down the mamad’s door, set the house on fire. Ms. Siman Tov, her husband, their 11-year-old daughter and sons age 9, 6 and 2 laid down urine-soaked sweatshirts at the foot of the door to stop smoke from seeping in. ‘My daughter was pleading with me. ‘Mom, open the door. Let them shoot me. I don’t want to be burned to death.’ ”

“Barricaded at home, Ms. Siman Tov didn’t know the terrorists had killed her mother, brother, sister-in-law, 5-year-old twin nieces and 2-year-old nephew. She takes me to their house, her composure remarkable as we enter her brother’s breached mamad. We’re joined by Mor Tzarfati, 41, Ms. Siman Tov’s neighbor and best friend, who also survived the attack with her family when the terrorists failed to break down the door to their safe room. Ms. Tzarfati points to the bullet holes in the brother’s mamad, where he and his wife died of gunshot wounds and their three children were asphyxiated by smoke. There was blood on the walls—’spritzed,’ as Ms. Tzarfati describes it.

“Ms. Tzarfati and her family were lucky. The terrorists gave up after trying to batter down their reinforced door for hours. She was in her safe room with her husband, three young kids and dog, whose snout she had to clench shut with her fist to keep it from barking. After the first two waves of attacks, she heard women and children speaking in the house: ‘They were taking things. Helping themselves to my fridge.’ The invading Gazans left shoes behind, making off with footwear stolen from kibbutzniks.

“’I don’t want Israel to have any connection with Gaza,’ Ms. Tzarfati says when asked what should happen next. ‘Our attitudes have changed.’ Both she and Ms. Siman Tov—like nearly every Israeli, right or left—want Hamas destroyed.

“’There were terrorists in our houses. And we could hear civilians. There are no innocent people in Gaza,’ Ms. Tzarfati says. ‘Even if they want to be innocent, they can’t.’ Ms. Siman Tov adds that Gaza civilians ‘chose to come here right behind the terrorists. They came on their own two feet, they took hostages, and went back home.’ She alludes to the testimony of some of the freed hostages, ‘that the scariest time in Gaza was when they passed through crowds of civilians, who beat them and cursed them.’ She speaks also of detailed hand-drawn maps found on slain terrorists. ‘They got the information from Gazans who worked here on our kibbutz.’

Neither woman wants to return to the kibbutz, underscoring a stark problem for the government. Kibbutzim like Nir Oz trace the frontiers of the Jewish state. The novelist Amos Oz (1939-2018) once observed that ‘if all the lights in Israel were turned off except in the kibbutzim, you would be able to see an accurate map of Israel.’ Ms. Tzarfati says that ‘even if there was no Gaza Strip at all, it would be hard to come back here. Everything we had, every shred of security, has been taken from us.’ Ms. Siman Tov adds: ‘This place has been ruined, not just in a physical way.’”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

One Response

  1. I feel for my people only…..Joshua purchased Temple Mount. time for this place to be ours period….partnering with this disease has to stop as well as the gifts they get and the rubbish the gov’t passes to jews…got to stop…NOW__not all is evil, sort it out….remove the garbage from Israel all of it…ever single one of these diseases….

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