This Weeks Markings

This week marked two things. You could say both had been a long time coming. One was a bit more obvious, and that was the fact that this is my last week of living in Rehovot and volunteering! I can not believe how fast the time has flown. Like time, where did you go? If I find you will you let me at least stay with my students until the end of their school year?

I think we all know this isn’t really possible. On Mondays Amir and I stay after school and work with five third graders. We play fun games that are supposed to help them with their English. Today we were getting ready to begin teaching and one of the girls came in and said she had to go get something from her mom but that she’d be back soon. When she came back all the little kids were yelling, telling us we had to leave because there was a surprise. So we went into the other room and waited.

After a lot of running around back and forth we were eventually told to come back to the room. Eyes closed and holding Benyamin’s hand, Amir and I were eventually told we could open them. When we did all of the kids had crumpled paper in their hands that they threw in the air over us. They had set the table with napkins, spoons, paper cups, and the yummiest of all … cake! One of the girl’s mom had baked a cake for us as a way of saying thanks from all of them. What a nice surprise this was! Time, did this story convince you to give me a little bit more to spend with these wonderful kids?

Now I want to move on to what else this week marked. It marked some justice for the country of Israel. In 2009 the Goldstone Report was released — in other words, the ‘United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.’ The head of the project was Richard Goldstone, hence the shorter and more common name, Goldstone Report. He is a [Jewish] lawyer from South Africa who also worked on prosecuting war crimes that had taken place in Rwanda and Yugoslavia (kind of bizarre because I am going into Croatia in three weeks which was formerly Yugoslavia). What I am trying to say is that Richard Goldstone was very qualified to head the United Nations Human Rights Council of investigating all of the alleged violations [against both Israelis and Palestinians] that took place during the Gaza War.

Now granted Israel chose not to cooperate with the investigation when it first began. But once the Report was released they looked into more than 400 accusations of misconduct. On Friday Richard Goldstone wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post entitled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report.” You can read it for yourself here. But in a very shortened version he is basically apologizing, saying that a lot of what he wrote in the report is in fact, wrong. Israel never intentionally meant to harm or kill civilians. Plain and simple. This is something I have always thought, and since living in Israel, have come to know as fact. I am just glad that justice has prevailed. I can only hope this marks the beginning of the end. [RE: justice for Israel. Let’s be clear — NOT for my time ending here].

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