Israel's Leaders Sacrifice the People for Their Own Ego

Now, more than ever before, our leaders sacrifice individual citizens for "nationalist" reasons, so to speak, that serve mainly their own private national ego.

"For those who want total quiet, there is Finland and Western Europe, and they can go there," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said this week, apropos the situation in the south of the country, in a radio interview with Aryeh Golan. That's not a mistake. Barak said that in his own voice. Those who came here, to the State of Israel, in order to set up a national home after 2,000 years, should also be able to face the tests. Those who want total quiet, can go to Finland."

Beyond the fact that this statement totally contradicts any Zionist concept - after all, those who came here after 2,000 years came expressly for the quiet, Barak, in saying this, summed up with the entire doctrine of the regime in Israel: I am the ruler, you are my cannon fodder. You'll do exactly what I decide for you, and not the opposite.

This reality has shaped every social struggle here over the past 30 years, and even more so the "political" struggles demanding an end to the occupation, making peace and, in effect, the cancellation of rule by a security sect over us.

"All the possibilities are available to us," Barak continued in the same interview and added immediately: "Hamas is elaborating and the Israel Defense Forces is elaborating." That is the equation and there is no other.

Peace, an agreement, are not among the possibilities available to us, according to Barak.

Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yom-Tov Samia, former OC Southern Command, wrote in Hebrew Haaretz last week that "there is no army in the world that was forced by its leaders to rule over another people for almost 40 years." The key word here is "forced."

For 44 years, the regime in Israel has forced its citizens, the vast majority of whom want peace and do not want the settlements, to continue to die on the front and to be blown up on the home front, simply because it can.

In his book, "Wars Don't Just happen," Motti Golani shows how in 1967, before the Six-Day War, Levi Eshkol forbade the then head of the Mossad to go to Egypt for talks. In 1970, Golda Meir forbade (World Zionist Organization Chairman ) Nahum Goldmann from speaking to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. She said: "There's no one to talk to." Sound familiar?

In 1973, the government refused attempts to reach an arrangement with Egypt and Jordan, turned down offers of mediation from the United Nations, the mediation of the English and mediation on the part of former American President Dwight Eisenhower - even though the results of this refusal were completely clear; it was worried how it would look to the public, but this did not prevent the government from going ahead with full force to war.

The regime continued in this fashion, with the lingering of the first Lebanon War, with the lack of planning for the Second Lebanon War, with going to the talks at Camp David without prior planning and without backing for a failure, in ignoring the Saudi initiative, in the disengagement from Gaza without an agreement, in the continued construction in the settlements.

Since then, we have had additional shock-shelled people, and we continue to become more shell-shocked and traumatized citizens after being forced to be selectors at roadblocks, to break arms and legs, to kill civilians, little girls and boys, to be victims of suicide bombings and Qassam rockets and terror - people who live in a perpetual nightmare year after year.

Now, more than ever before, our leaders sacrifice individual citizens for "nationalist" reasons, so to speak, that serve mainly their own private national ego. Ehud Barak, who has been compared to Napoleon, apparently is closer in identity to Louis XIV in feeling that "l'etat c'est moi" ("The state is me" ). Therefore, anyone who doesn't feel good with me should kindly get up and go to Finland.

The time has come for us to say that "the state is us" - and that we want leaders who would like to achieve quiet here, not in Finland.