As Israel launches the Gaza Strip in its fourth major military offensive against its mostly refugee residents in the past twelve years, it demands a higher moral code of conduct.
As Israeli leaders want, the world should not be distracted by images of death and destruction, for which Hamas should be responsible, as it hides among the civilian population.
In fact, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden, “Israel is doing everything it can to not harm innocent civilians.”
In fact, Israel is sending warning shots to Gaza residents so they can escape with their lives just before it destroys their livelihoods with bombs. Palestinians should be grateful.
Israel also claims that it is targeting specific terrorist facilities, anything else is an unintended consequence. But what Israel calls “collateral damage,” the Palestinians call it loved ones: the women, men, and children who cry every day.
Netanyahu says Israel is turning to Hamas to target Israeli population centers. But while this should not be accepted or excused, the reality once again tells a different story: there is a significant disparity between the death and destruction that Palestinians and Israelis face.
Israel and its facilitators also insist on their right to self-defense, when, in fact, Israel had lost that right by becoming an expanding occupying power.
They say Israel only seeks to defend its citizens, when in reality it is defending the occupation and subjugation of the Palestinians.
Israel insists that wars not begin. This is generally false, as he began most of his past wars. It provoked the war by means of murders, bombings, closings, evictions, captures of earth, attacks to sacred places and implacable illegal establishments, etc.
The military and civilian occupation of decades in itself is a state of war and continued violence. Israel could stop the madness of war simply by ending the occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians.
Israel says it is not looking for conflict, it is looking for peace. But for much of the fourth “century of the peace process,” successive Israeli governments have insisted on maintaining total domination over all of historic Palestine and have expanded illegal settlements for that purpose.
In any case, these well-rehearsed, often repeated, “conversation points” are nothing new. They have come a long way in justifying Israeli aggression throughout its history, even though the tragedy of the war transcends every turn.
But for a long time, they also reflected a deeper contradiction in the Israeli mentality. In fact, since its inception, Israel has projected a conflicting image of powerful but insecure, superior but needy, bloody but human, violent but vulnerable, and ultimately a merciful warrior and a peaceful peacemaker.
Israel has been a formidable military and nuclear power, superior to all its neighbors together, and yet it is the only country that is constantly obsessed with its survival.
This is because this type of insecurity is not rooted in a lack of strength, but in its lack of acceptability or fit as a colonial project of settlers in a predominantly Arab region, whose people overwhelmingly reject it. .
Israel’s insecurity was born out of sin: the sin of a state founded on the ruin of another people, the catastrophic capture of Palestine, and the dispossession of its inhabitants by malignant violence in 1948.
Although the Zionist leaders of the time lied about the causes and management of the war, they could not escape the truth of their doing. As Israel’s “new historians” have documented, Palestinians did not voluntarily flee their cities or respond to some Arab calls to evacuate their homes. Israel carried out a well-planned and comprehensive ethnic cleansing offensive to ensure the Judaism of the new state.
This made many Israelis uncomfortable and conflicted. After all, many of his early Jewish immigrants were themselves victims of terrible atrocities in Europe and elsewhere.
But while many Israelis felt justified, others expressed grief over the horrible things they “had to do,” even though no one forced their hand to occupy Palestine or maintain control for decades.
In fact, more than a few early Zionists understood the horrible consequence of the war and advocated peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians in a state for much of the first half of the twentieth century.
The conflicting mentality was best understood in the old Israeli expression, yorim ve bochim, literally “shoot and cry.” It is an expression as old and complex as the state itself.
In his 1949 novel, Khirbet Khizeh, Yizhar Smilansky, a recognized army officer and author, depicted with prose the shocking planned and unprovoked destruction of a Palestinian people and the expulsion of its inhabitants to the border carried out by its military unit during the 1948 war.
As an intelligence officer, Smilansky knew all too well that this was just one of hundreds of towns and cities destroyed by Israeli forces. But, like Micha, the protagonist of his novel, he joined his colleagues in “finishing the job,” despite his guilty conscience.
The revisionist novel became a film and television series, while Smilansky became a member of the Knesset of the ruling Mapai party in the 1950s as he continued to strip Palestinians of their basic human rights.
It is this kind of conflict between the writer Smilansky and the politician Smilansky that shaped the writings of more than a few prominent Zionist writers, most notably Amos Oz, who influenced the views of millions, especially the “Jews of the diaspora ”.
I spent time during the pandemic finishing up two of Oz’s novels, Judas and Scenes From Village Life, and found them literary interesting but politically hypocritical.
However, it was the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir who brought the hypocrisy of “shooting and crying” to a whole new level of bulls ***.
In one of his famous racist gypsies, he told the Palestinians, “We can forgive you for killing our children, but we will never forgive you for making us kill yours.” This is chutzpah par excellence.
It turns out, quite obscenely, that today the Palestinians owe Israel a huge apology for the fact that their army has killed so many.
Hypocrisy goes far beyond fighting war and bringing peace. In 1993, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin boasted of Israel’s generosity and willingness to share a rather small part of the “Land of Israel” with the Palestinians on the grounds of pau. No matter, it was the Palestinians who made a historic commitment to recognizing Israel, which stretched over four-fifths of its homeland.
But all this is now in the past. In fact, it is past.
After years of acting with impunity, today’s Israelis, arguably the majority of Israeli leaders, do not shoot or cry. They do not want to share the land or make real peace with the Palestinians. Most are more likely to shoot and laugh.
One of the most disturbing images I have ever seen in my life was during the Gaza war in 2014. It was devoid of dramas or tragedies, showing only a group of Israelis having picnics on the hills guarding Gaza, eating popcorn and enjoying, while He saw the Israeli bombardment against the densely populated and overly impoverished strip.
Why let the death of the Palestinians ruin a great fireworks castle?
In the past, some Israeli leaders may have been bothered by everything they have done, by the crimes they have committed, but they considered the ends to justify the means.
Hypocrite? May be. But unlike the new generation of fanatical leaders and their followers, they were at least conflicted and some even regretted it.
By contrast, today, Netanyahu’s servants and partners use words as lament and peace as props. Worse, they have a whole guide prepared after the first war between Israel and Gaza in 2009, which guides officials on how to represent Israel as a peace-loving and well-intentioned victim of Palestinian aggression.
One could only roll one’s eyes watching Netanyahu warning Palestinians in Israel not to use violence, when they are victims of organized violence, when they are only trying to defend themselves from overwhelming police brutality and lynching by crowds of Jewish fanatics.
I wrote about this hasbara deception posing as conflict, in several articles during the 2014 Gaza war, here, here and here, for example.
What I have found most instructive throughout my study of Israel’s war and propaganda is that Israel has brought nothing new to the art of deception, except, perhaps, a slower delivery.
Most other previous colonial powers called their enemies terrorists, accused them of cowardice and of using civilians as human shields, blah blah blah.
But what happened to these colonialists and their propaganda?
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to be optimistic about the short-term prospects of a solution. But when the dust settles in another sadistic Israeli war, Israelis will once again find themselves trapped with millions of Palestinians increasingly determined to regain freedom.
Like the dozen colonial states that preceded them, especially the white settler regimes in South Africa and Algeria, Israelis will sooner or later have to choose: to live in peace or to leave humiliated.
It makes no sense to postpone the inevitable and the suffering of the process.