One of the most intriguing questions I've been asked in the last two days is why the American people will not speak out for the Palestinians. There they are like fish in a barrel and we are silent. I will not link to the blog where this was asked, I can't promote the Anti-American slurs or the racist epithets directed at the Jews. I find it interesting that someone with such slogans everywhere would wonder to herself why I don't come and help. I answered it there; I will answer it here. It's because they hate us.
I don't think most Americans spend enough time in their days thinking about the Middle East to have a true emotion one way or the other about the Palestinian people. They are as foreign to us as the other side of the moon. All we know is what we have seen on our televisions. They burn our flags. They burn our presidents in effigy. They chant and scream "Death to America!" Then they are angered when we don't have sympathy for them. We should cry our eyes out for a people who, we suspect, would happily blow themselves up if it meant they could take a few of us with them. They are frightening and unfathomable to us, and Americans don't like enigmas. We like the predictable and the knowable.
We remember the images from the evening news of September the 11th as the rest of the world cried with us and the Palestinians danced. They cheered and shot their guns into the air in a celebration of the deaths of our countrymen. They danced as if in our blood and rejoiced in our sorrow. Now they are angered because we sit in silence at the deaths of less than a third as many.
Americans are genuinely sorrowed at the reports of death on both sides in this conflict. We ache at the thought of a father cradling his dead child in his arms, no matter what nationality that child happens to be. We are eternally thankful that we do not live in a similar situation and wonder to ourselves how much of this each side has brought upon themselves.
We side with the Israelis because they are our friends. When our children die, they cry with us and offer help and mourn openly. They grieve for the lost promise of each American citizen. Even if it is all a show put on for the cameras (and I suspect a part of it is), I am okay with that because appearances are important. The ways in which people respond to the tragedies of their friends says much about their character. The Israelis wept and the Palestinians slaughtered goats and held a party.
The bottom line to Gaza is: Don't expect us to hop on our white horses and come in to save you. You'll be waiting a long time. We don't seek revenge for the insults of the past, but we aren't quick to forget them either.