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How sad to see how the "defense establishment" wriggled uncomfortably when we learned the raid on the Hamas headquarters in Nablus killed not only terrorists, but also two children. Once again, we were witness to that undignified denial that has become almost standard procedure among official and layman spokesmen of the Israel Defense Forces, as in countless cases before - and who knows in how many to come.

Although Israel did not hesitate to express its sorrow, some "official sources" nevertheless expressed "doubts whether indeed any children have been killed," and were even a little bewildered by the fact that no pictures of the slain kids have been published and that "the Palestinians didn't raise hell like they did in other cases." And then the mystery was resolved when not only were the pictures of the dead children published, but also those of their funerals. But the skepticism of these "sources" was unyielding. "The pictures did not fully clarify where it was that the children were killed," they were quoted, "it smells of a rat," and "it feels like a bogus story" ...

Elementary, my dear Watson: The bastards may have used two children who died of the Black Death for their propaganda. And who knows, maybe these child-killers who will stop at nothing, simply killed them themselves ... Oh but wait - perhaps these kids, who would eventually blow themselves up as suicide bombers a few years later - decided to commit suicide now, just to win their people more brownie points

Only toward the end was an awkward apology uttered ("We never intend to harm children - on the contrary!", was yet another of the pearls of wisdom that Labor's primary-elections-minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer produced on the Friday evening news.) And the omnipresent Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz, wore his special agonized face, the one he reserves for just such cases; as if this were some noble ethical feat, he reiterated that, "Had we known there were children there - we would have aborted the mission." "The IDF is the most ethical army in the world," he added in the same breath. Just a reminder: This very same mantra ("You are the most righteous soldiers!") was voiced by then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin after he gave his troops clubs and instructed them to break arms and legs.

There would not have been any point in picking at this wound, unless all this wiggling was reflective of the deep, truly agonizing cognitive dissonance to which we are all party: No matter what turns the conflict might take, we never relinquish our right to remain the one and only perpetual innocent victim.

We are trapped in a cruel and depressing crying game; As every new week begins, we don't know what to fear more: the victims within ourselves, or the victims we make of others. It is incumbent upon us to bring this crying game to an end as soon as we possibly can, because if it continues it is bound to become a lose-lose situation.