The most moral army in the world stands armed over 20 bereft African migrants imprisoned for a week already between the fences of Israel's southern border, and this army's soldiers are given the diabolical order to provide them water, but only "as little as possible." The most moral army in the world, of the Middle East's only democracy, does not give them food.
Soldiers of this army have also in the past day prevented some groups of young and determined Israeli activists from bringing food to those who are trapped. One group of 40 activists tried two days ago to reach the area in the middle of the night with food they had bought: cans of food that don't need a can-opener, fresh bread and vegetables that don't spoil quickly in the sun. Other groups tried to reach the spot on Wednesday with similar goods. The soldiers prevented them all from approaching. One officer admitted that the Israel Defense Forces do not provide food to the trapped migrants, but refused to transfer to them the food that the young people brought.
Don't help, don't report - army's orders. The most moral army in the world closed the section of Route 10 that leads to the scene of the crime and declared it a closed military zone in order to prevent these young people, who tried to save something of Israel's honor, from reaching the place and also to prevent journalists from reporting what is happening there. Haaretz and its correspondent Gili Cohen exposed this disgrace that has been going on for a week now on our southern border.
There is no need to enter a legalistic debate (even though the law also decrees that Israel is violating international law and the conventions it has signed ) to understand the dimensions of this evil and intensity of the malice. One only has to ponder the fate of these migrants, trapped without shelter, without food and without minimal human conditions, with "as little water as possible" for a week in the beating sun, after a terrible journey through the wilderness with the danger of death lurking in their home country and the country they trekked through, Egypt.
In a country based on migrants and refugees, these pictures should have produced particular turmoil. Then one should think of these young soldiers, whose commanders told them to treat human beings in such a way. A thousand heritage tours of Hebron and 100 marches of the living in Auschwitz cover up the moral corruption of this military standing armed over refugees - even if some of them are unwilling and in private conversation identified with the activists, but did not refuse the order. The next time the IDF dispatches, with great media coverage and self-glorification, a rescue mission to an overseas disaster zone, it's worth remembering how the soldiers behaved at this disaster zone. After we got used to the hunting of people in the streets; to the interior minister, Eli Yishai, threatening to arrest masses of migrants after the Jewish holidays for years without trial and without legal authority, only to please his voters; and after we got used to calling these migrants "infiltrators," as all the media outlets except Haaretz maliciously call them, came the pictures of 20 imprisoned Eritreans in the thicket of barbed-wire fences like hunted animals, which should have made every decent Israeli sleep uneasily. But Israel is busy with other matters. Please do not disturb.
Should we go back to reminding ourselves of the source of this matter? Is there any point? Israel must not deport these migrants without ascertaining their status, as it has signed conventions banning it from doing so. It also cannot block their entry when their lives are in danger. And especially, we must not block up our hearts to their distress. They include a pregnant woman who miscarried while in captivity, according to reports.
If no protest convoy of thousands of Israelis went south yesterday, and no loud voice of protest was heard against what is happening, then not only are we not talking about an exemplary society, the chosen elite nation, but a frighteningly complacent and debased one.
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