Posted: January 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, this is personal, war | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

The war in Gaza has ended. That is, if you can call it a war. It was more like a one sided operation. Against heavy artillery, tanks and F-16s, Hamas took the only reasonable course of action: hide instead of fighting. Israel killed mostly civilians.

Even so, I get the feeling that most Israelis see this as a clear victory. If victory is measured by the suffering you inflict upon the other side, they are correct. We had a handful of casualties (some of them from friendly fire), but we destroyed large parts of Gaza, and killed more than 1,300 Palestinians.

On the other hand, if victory means improving your position in the region, we have yet to see what this war brought us. Hamas is still in power. Our siege on Gaza looks even less legitimate than before. Our allies in the Arab world are in an embarrassing position (the relationship with Turkey suffered the most). And the rocket threat remains the same.

Some people think that we “taught the Palestinians a lesson”. I even heard a theory according to which the damage to Gaza was meant to show the Syrians and the Iranians that we are not afraid to use force. It puzzles me: do we seriously think that anyone in the Middle East still doubts that? We proved time and time again that we are ready to use force. What we’ve neglected to show, however, is that we are ready to negotiate. There is an extensive Arab peace offer on the table since 2002. Seven years have past, and Israel has yet to answer it.

But what worries me the most is the ugly side of the Israeli society that was revealed in this war. Many People were actually happy that so many Palestinians died. Almost nobody cared who they were. Civilians, children – they were all the same to us. Soldiers took pride in their action. 

Israelis have become incredibly absorbed in their own pain and totally indifferent to the Palestinians’. The media covered extensively the minor damages that Hamas rockets caused, and avoided showing the public what our bombs did to Gaza. The images, it was said, “were too disturbing”.

Hundreds of protesters against the war, most of them Arabs, were arrested. In one case, the police demanded from the court not to release some protesters because “they hurt the peoples’ moral”.  On the last day of the war, while dozens of bodies were pulled out of buildings in Gaza, the headline in Ynet, Israel’s most popular news site, read something like: “a missile hit a poultry enclosure. Chickens die”.

These are the syndromes of a cruel and spoiled society, indifferent to the rest of the world, detached from basic human emotions – like feeling the pain of a father who lost three of his girls. Even if you consider this man to be your enemy.

It makes me sick.



5 Comments on “Victory”

  1. 1 Sparkle said at 10:58 am on January 20th, 2009:

    The reaction of most Israelis really does sadden me and scares me. The cynic in me can’t help but think that “a missile hit a poultry enclosure. Chickens die.” would have been appropriate in Catch 22.

  2. 2 Rebecca said at 10:18 pm on January 21st, 2009:

    Thank you. I’ve been quite disturbed by the lack of protest in Israel to the Gaza campaign, especially when it became clear how devastating it was and how many civilians were killed (included the poor child you show in that horrendous photograph). Some people did bravely go out to protest but got arrested (Leah Shakdiel in Yeruham was put under house arrest! A Jewish Orthodox feminist! Hardly a threat to the state!) or harassed by on-lookers. I was in Israel during the first intifada and certainly remember the harassment protesters received, but at least the police minimally interfered with our protests (aside from a goodly amount of tear gas, of course!).

  3. 3 Michael LeFavour said at 11:37 am on January 31st, 2009:

    “Israel killed mostly civilians.”

    Where did you get this information? You are a dupe of the insidious racists bent on maintaining the politics of victimization.

    What makes me sick is that you look at a photo of a dead child and blame the IDF, the only ofrce on earth that sends leaflets and calls to its enemy to evacuate before attacking. Would the child’s father offer Israelis the same? No. They would fire into the womb of an 8 months pregnant terrified mother stranded on the road (Tali Hatuel), proceed to execute her 4 daughters in cold blood at point blank range, then receive a heroes jubilation in the streets of Gaza for his actions.

    What makes me sick is the moral perversion of people like you that strain to prop the Arabs up with moral relativism that does not represent any shred of reality.

  4. 4 Promised Land » Blog Archive » Clausewitz Says Hi said at 2:23 pm on February 28th, 2009:

    [...] anyone still think that our great victory in Gaza helped us in any [...]

  5. 5 Promised Land » Blog Archive » The Hammer said at 8:13 am on March 9th, 2009:

    [...] Barnea goes on to noting that this time around (as opposed to past wars), there were no military failure, no limitation on the IDF actions and there was a political consensus within Israel in support of the war. Israel can’t blame anyone for this failure. [...]