Opinion |

It's a Disgrace to Be an Israeli These Days

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Palestinians evacuate mortally wounded Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, 31, during clashes with Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border, April 6, 2018. Picture taken April 6, 2018.
Palestinians evacuate mortally wounded Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, 31, during clashes with Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border, April 6, 2018. Picture taken April 6, 2018.Credit: \ IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS

Okay, I get it. You can’t say “I’m ashamed to be Israeli.” After saying that, you have to apologize to avoid being fired.

If so, is it okay to say I was shocked? That I couldn’t believe what I was hearing? That I felt an overwhelming nausea rising deep in my gut at hearing the number of people killed and wounded in Palestinian demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza border?

It’s legitimate to order the army to keep the demonstrators from crossing into Israel from the Gaza Strip, but it must do so by nonlethal means: water cannons, tear gas grenades and sponge-tipped bullets aimed at demonstrators’ legs. Anything but live bullets, and certainly not live bullets aimed to kill.

Anyone who gives an order to fire live bullets at unarmed demonstrators who aren’t endangering soldiers’ lives is giving a patently illegal order, one over which a black flag flies. Only an evil heart could fail to grasp this.

This week, a shocking video was published. It showed a sniper shooting a Palestinian who didn’t endanger him at all. The Palestinian in the pink shirt was a substantial distance away from the border fence, so there was no reason in the world to shoot him.

In the clip, you can see him standing for a minute, and then you see him fall, shot in the leg. And then you hear the sounds of excitement and joy from our side: “Wow, what a fabulous video, son of a bitch, he’s flying with his leg in the air; get out of here, you sons of bitches.”

The young man in pink didn’t even know he was in the sniper’s sights. You can see him roaming about without fear. He didn’t know that Israel had declared a “kill zone” of 80 to 100 meters inside Gaza’s sovereign territory, and that anyone who enters it can be killed.

Commenting on this incident, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “The sniper deserves a medal. ... The IDF is the most moral army in the world.” A medal for what? For having a sophisticated rifle with telescopic sights and shooting unarmed people like sitting ducks while he himself is well concealed, at no risk at all? For an operation like this, the army deserves the accolade of the most moral army in the world? They should do a remake of “1984,” Lieberman-style.

The Gazans had several types of “weaponry.” They had slingshots, like David against Goliath. They had tires, which they burned. And they also had mirrors which they brought from home, which they used to try to blind the snipers, a tactic first used by Archimedes against the Romans 2,000 years ago. With this sophisticated weaponry from ancient times, the Gazans fought unsuccessfully against the snipers, who killed 32 of them, including photographer Yaser Murtaja, who was wearing a vest with “press” written on it in giant letters. They also wounded some 300 people with live bullets, 20 of them seriously, and another 1,000 or so with sponge-tipped bullets and tear gas.

These are numbers the mind can’t digest. We’ve apparently reached the point where human life isn’t worth a cent.

But that’s not quite true. It depends on the person.

In 2009, the book “The King’s Torah” was published. It discussed what Jewish law said about killing non-Jews. Basing itself on “proofs” from the Talmud, it claimed the Torah’s prohibition on murder applies only to Jews; killing non-Jews is permissible.

The book sparked a storm at the time and generated fierce opposition, but today it would apparently be received with complete understanding. The fact is that many politicians and pundits weren’t upset at all by either the live fire on demonstrators or the large number of people killed and wounded.

They said the Gazans “sent their children to commit acts of terror, so it’s good that we stopped them.” They said, “We left Gaza, so we aren’t to blame for anything.” They described the demonstrators as “a terrorist invasion whose goal was to destroy Israel,” adding, “Kudos to the IDF for blocking the invasion with no casualties on our side.”

And what about the unarmed civilian casualties on the other side? That’s okay. See “The King’s Torah.”

It’s a disgrace to be an Israeli these days. Disgrace accompanied by overwhelming nausea.

Click the alert icon to follow topics: