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The Chutzpah of Gaza, Refusing to Die

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File photo: Palestinians stand near the remains of a building that was completely destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City November 13, 2018.
File photo: Palestinians stand near the remains of a building that was completely destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City November 13, 2018.Credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS

The criticism leveled at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he agreed to a cease-fire during the recent round of fighting in Gaza – and by his opponents, the “peace lovers,” of all people – is sickening. It seems that aside from stomping on the neck of bleeding Gaza, nothing will satisfy the hunger of this fake left for revenge, and as long as Gaza doesn’t prostrate itself, we mustn’t agree to a cease-fire. First let them surrender, and only then will the Israelis, in their great goodness, grant the humiliated losers a cease-fire, so that they can bury their dead and carry on with their routine in the shadow of the siege.

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The pampered Israelis, who have become accustomed to 1967-style “once and for all” operations, refuse to accept less than that: “Once and for all,” and they’ll awaken joyously to a new day. After all, there have already been several rounds of fighting when it was clear that Israel had the upper hand by every measure – the number of dead and wounded, the destruction, the masses of homeless people. And in spite of that the prime ministers had to conduct a campaign of awareness as well, in an attempt to convince the pampered Israelis that they were the victors, while the Hamas leaders celebrate their own victory over the “Zionist enemy” on the ruins of the houses.

Now too, Gaza has the chutzpah to refuse to surrender, and according to all the signs it has no intention of doing so, either. So let’s whisper in the ears of the hawkish Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and in the ears of the hawks pretending to be pure white doves: Forget about total, clear-cut, glittering victory – it’s impossible to defeat those who are severely oppressed. It’s impossible to defeat a populace for whom, thanks to Israel, death has become a refuge from a terrible reality.

And to ease the disappointment, we will ask: Do you believe that the fate of the Israeli occupation will be better than that of the American occupation in Vietnam, where in the end the Americans fled for their lives in spite of all their modern weapons and shiny planes? Will the fate of the Israeli occupation be better than that of the French occupation in Algeria, which fled from there one fine day with its tail between its legs, and it was as though it had never happened? And you don’t have to go so far afield: Will the fate of the present occupation be better than that of the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, when the Lebanese pursued the Israel Defense Forces right up to the border?

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The truth is that the more the occupier is humiliated by those who are occupied, the better psychologically for the occupying nation – which will learn that even force has a limit, and will start to face the reality. That’s why it’s important to explain that defeating the occupation is a historical imperative.

Why? Because most Israelis have not fully experienced the terrors of the Gaza wars, and are not experiencing them, while the Gazans, men, women and children, experience it incessantly. They have no respite for even a moment, from the time they wake up until they go back to bed, if there still is a bed. And that’s why every hudna (truce) and every arrangement will give rise to the next clash, until the lifting of the siege and the end of the occupation.

At the moment, Israeli hatred of Gaza is reaching pathological dimensions, requiring urgent psychological treatment. Because what are they actually so angry about? After all, Gaza today is the result of all the injustices that Israel inflicted on the Palestinians for generations, beginning with the hundreds of thousands of refugees who were expelled to there in 1948, and up to the massive bombings, mass killing and the siege, one of the longest in world history.

And in spite of all these blows – indeed, as mentioned, because of them – the Gazan phoenix rises from the ruins, shakes itself off as though it has just awoken from a refreshing sleep, and begins everything anew. What hasn’t Israel tried from 1948 until today: innumerable rounds of war, innumerable homes demolished, tens of thousands of dead, hundreds of thousands of wounded – and it’s all as though it never happened.

Yitzhak Rabin once said, in a moment of anger, that he would like Gaza to sink into the sea. Up until this moment it’s the sea that has refused to overflow its banks and make Gaza disappear. So perhaps Israel should drop an atomic bomb? Once and for all?

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