Yesterday night, I highlighted an act of extraordinary empathy and courage by the Palestinian victims of the Beit Hanun massacre. Despite many sleeping family members being savagely killed by negligent Israeli shelling, they expressed a solemn wish that they would be “the last victims of this war” and that no further harm would come to Jew, Muslim or Christian through this conflict.
Today, Haaretz brings news of another remarkable and related development: Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, will tomorrow visit the wounded victims of Beit Hanun in their hospital beds:
Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, is to visit the Palestinian civilians injured in the bombardment of Beit Hanun who are recovering at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
Shalit said he was going to express sympathy for those injured in the terrible tragedy that struck them, and to wish them a speedy recovery.
He will take the opportunity to call for a cease-fire.
Shalit said he was not bothered by those who criticized him over the visit, coming after the Qassam attack on Sderot on Wednesday.
“Of course I also identify with the residents of Sderot and I am very sorry about what happened,” Shalit said. “Clearly violence begets violence and hatred begets hatred, and therefore both sides should stop the bloodshed and try to reach some kind of dialogue.”
There is a sea of raging hate between Israelis and Palestinians. My gratitude goes to both the Atamnas and Shalit families for breaking free of the hate and meeting the other side halfway. Now, if these two suffering groups can rise above their pain why can’t Ehud Olmert and Ismail Haniye?