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A Pampered Israel Carries Out Violence Because It Can

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza on TuesdayCredit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

It’s been proven once again: Israel is too strong. Its army is too strong. America has fattened it for years with large quantities of sophisticated weapons beyond its needs, and with sweeping, automatic and blind international support. Israel overfed its army with huge, unlimited budgets, at the expense of much more important needs of course, and the result is now before you: Like an unfortunate goose that was constantly force-fed, Israel is no longer capable of self-restraint. The stuffed liver has become diseased.

Supposedly there’s no such thing as a country that’s too strong, but Israel is proof that there is. A large proportion of its violent activities, in war and in maintaining the occupation, it carries out simply because it can. Because it has the power to carry them out, even if there is no need or use for them.

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When a mentally unstable older woman approached soldiers in the West Bank holding a small kitchen knife in her weak hand, and she was barely able to stand – the soldiers fired barrages at her. An unarmed teenager could have stopped the woman, but the soldiers emptied their magazines at her. Why? Why not? They were able, so they did it.

Israel treats Gaza just like the elderly woman at the checkpoint. Israel lands the entire arsenal of its sophisticated air force, shamelessly, almost without inhibitions, on this imprisoned, groaning, impoverished neighborhood, and empties all its ammunition on it, the glory of its arms industry and that of the United States.

What was designed for bombing a nuclear reactor in Iran is also good for bombing a surfboard in the sea of Gaza. There’s no need for that, only terrible damage is caused to both sides, and still there are 150 planes in the air over Gaza. Why? Because Israel can. Because why not?

Israel wreaks destruction on a terrifying scale. Sometimes it warns the residents and gives them an hour to save their entire world, sometimes it doesn’t. Because it can. Israel topples high-rise residential and office buildings like houses of cards in fearsome spectacles that are meant for the eyes and ears of the panic-stricken residents of Gaza, and no less than that for the eyes of the cheering residents of Israel. We’ve got it. We’ve got power. Look how strong we are. An air force display and it’s not even Independence Day. Look how Gaza is trembling. Look how the towers are collapsing into themselves.

The pilots’ fan club in the media and among the public look on with amazement, the images of the destruction are aired repeatedly on Israeli television – which shows nothing from Gaza except for its falling towers. All this when Israel could have made do with precise shelling of the houses that may or may not be used by Hamas, without destroying 15 stories and 150 destinies. But why bother? Israel can, the Israel Defense Forces can, the Israel Air Force certainly can, opposite the naked, helpless skies of Gaza – so why not?

Had Israel been somewhat less strong and well-armed, it would have been more cautious in its actions. This surplus of power gives rise to arrogant, belligerent, barbaric behavior, and the strength is not only military power, but political power as well: The world permits Israel to do what very few countries are allowed to do. That is also a destructive power. It’s causing Israel to rot. Nobody will stop it, nobody will punish it for its actions. So why not? It can do what it wants.

The one who is allowing all this is a friend of Israel in exactly the same way that the force-feeder of geese is a friend of the geese. When U.S. President Joe Biden says unreservedly that Israel has the right to defend itself – the carte blanche to destroy is back. Bomb as much as you can, dear friends, after all you’re only defending yourselves, and for that purpose everything is permitted to you.

Then the allegedly hostile president signs another check for the supply of additional weapons, which Israel will use in the next round. Thank you, friends of Israel, for strengthening it so much. It’s already so bloated.

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