“Come you masters of war, I can see through your masks You lie and deceive, a world war can be won, you want me to believe, but I see through your eyes, and I see through your brain. You’ve thrown the worst fear that can ever be hurled, fear to bring children in to the world.” (From Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”)
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And look, they’re back, our masters of war. Here they come, those warmongers. They don’t pass up a single chance to grab a microphone and threaten to push toward another war. Yet no one asks them: Why? What for? The north is quiet, as is the south, relatively speaking.
But it’s been two and a half years since the last war in Gaza and the Israeli DNA demands another round of bloodshed. And their current jobs – construction minister or education minister – are also boring for those with a mind for it. Encouraging high school students to take advanced math or building new public housing is deadly dull. They need another war, after which they may get the positions they covet.
The Gaza Strip is dying. Its inhabitants have just three years to live, according to a United Nations report that predicted that in 2020, Gaza will cease to be a place fit for human life. It has long ago become a cage unfit for life. But when they’re not shooting at Israel from Gaza, no one takes an interest in its fate. Hamas is holding its fire, but it’s enough for two rebel rockets to be fired to prompt 19 (!) Israeli aerial attacks and to extract all of our warmongers from their holes.
Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant’s eyes lit up and the color seemed to return to his face when he talked about Gaza. “I believe we should be prepared by spring,” determines this master of war, who dreams of returning to Gaza and killing more, as he did so well in Operation Cast Lead eight year ago. Why in the spring? Don’t ask. There’s a reason you don’t know. Maybe it’s because Charles Aznavour sang about returning in the spring.
Last week, Galant didn’t pass up a single media opportunity anywhere but on the Kol Hamusica classical music station to fan the flames and push for a war. And who would bother interviewing this failing, boring construction minister whose party colleague Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon also detests him if it were not about Gaza? Since he has not chalked up accomplishments in building, Galant, a former military man is trying to get back to destroying. The Likud party is waiting for him.
The Defense Ministry is also coveted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Getting there, however, requires fanning the flames. No official report about the failure to deal with Hamas tunnels in Gaza will suffice, so Bennett is also dreaming about another war. “The next round of war is approaching,” he said, making a prediction that always comes true in Israel. He hasn’t concealed the extent to which he is in a hurry to return to the killing fields of Shujaiyeh and the confidential briefings with army officers.
And then, of course, there is the current defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who even in his new temporary role as a moderate, also won’t pass up a chance. “Until the other side cries gevalt, we’re not stopping,” said the minister of arrogance. Again came the hollow promises of decisive victory that will never come about and yet again everyone is willing to buy the argument. Again everyone is waiting for the next war, as if it were fate handed down by the almighty when it isn’t even handed down from Gaza.
Gaza actually is crying gevalt, but none of the warmongers are listening. Gaza for them is an opportunity to advance their careers, to get the forces moving and to conceptualize a war against an enemy that is nothing but an army of hooligans, nothing but an assault on the powerless. Gaza would bring the warmongers back into the headlines, back into their glory, the return of the good old days of combat jackets. Otherwise, there would be no reason to embark on another attack on Gaza.
The deterioration could be quick. Just another few declarations of war, another few disproportionate responses by the Israel Defense Forces for every cap gun or kite fired from Gaza and we’re there. Israel also pushed for the wars in Gaza in 2008 and 2014 more than Gaza did. Before you can say “cigars and champagne,” the IDF is in Gaza.
And there is no one to yell “stop,” no one to say that those who don’t want war in Gaza should open it rather than destroy it a third, fourth and fifth time. But saying so requires courage, which is the quality most lacking among our masters of war, whom, as Dylan’s lyrics state, will never be forgiven.