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Bombarding Gaza as a Gesture of Love

yossi klein
Yossi Klein
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Smoke billowing from a building struck during an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on Sunday.
Smoke billowing from a building struck during an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on Sunday.Credit: Said Khatib/AFP
yossi klein
Yossi Klein

The relationship between the army and civilians is based on trust. No penalty in the world could force parents to send their children to the army if they didn’t believe that the Israel Defense Forces has any other goal but protecting our security. But this trust has eroded.

According to the Israel Democracy Institute, since the beginning of the year, public trust in the IDF has fallen to its lowest in 13 years. The army spokesman has earned this mistrust honestly. A long list of lies trails him. Why should we believe him now?

I don’t believe the government, the army or the fawning pundits in the studios. When they bombard Gaza to “prevent escalation” and when they kill to “achieve calm,” I feel like they’re making a laughingstock out of me. After all, we’ve already seen this movie.

Again, the “destruction of the terror infrastructure”? Again, children killing themselves and the houses exploding of their own free will? Why were people killed in Gaza? Ah, the answer is complicated, we can’t tell you everything, trust us. Wasn’t it a sweet operation? We’ve already come to terms with the fact that the IDF takes part in the elections.

We already don’t ask why, even two months before the election. Who should we ask? We sigh, we count, we are the less important element. The one who strikes the terrorist in Jenin knows that in Ashkelon they’ll pay the price. Does he care?

The soldiers are pieces in a political game. The army obeys the government, and that’s the way it should be. Does the government want to kill? The army will show it how. Lapid wants maturity in battle? He got it. The IDF will go along even if it knows it’s no more than a pawn in the contest of who is bigger. Everybody takes part; look at the social media posts: He taught Bibi a thing or two! Lapid also knows how to kill!

The public is more nationalist and more religious and so are the army officers. The impact of the rabbis on the army is growing. The rabbis have a political agenda, and it is to prevent a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank. All governments since Rabin have served this agenda, and so did Operation Breaking Dawn, so do our children.

So why should we stand around with our hands in our pockets and continue to send them to the army? Out of habit, out of bogus patriotism, because our children themselves want to kill. We have to trust the IDF, what choice do we have? To be responsible for their fate in a body we don’t trust?

The IDF is the neighborhood bully. It provides the neighborhood with protection in exchange for services. Us and Hamas aren’t friends. The relationship is correct; the roles are clear: It won’t let Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas control the Gaza Strip, and we’ll give it killing services in exchange. Is Islamic Jihad bothering you? Just say so. Consider it toast. Yesterday Hamas was against us, today it’s with us. Yesterday an enemy, today a friend.

But Hamas didn’t bring us to Gaza. The fear of the violence of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters is what sent us there. What, we’re afraid of the clown Amsalem, the blithering Regev? Yes. A denied and repressed fear, but a pervasive one. These are not just threats. Because it’s not just them, it’s the street that supports the demolition of the Supreme Court, the media and the left; it’s the street that wants to line them up against the wall, it’s the street that dictates the conditions of the next government.

We’re afraid of it, and we want it to like us. And there’s no greater gift to it than bombardment. Bombardments are the ultimate confirmation of love of the land, they are the proof of the humiliating surrender of the bleeding hearts to fear and despair. Look, they say, we’re doing, we’re not just talking. Bibi, back us up!

The war turns us into infantile cheerleaders for whoever does what they did before him and will do after him: They’ll kill children and women just so they can come out like men. Nobody has the courage to stand up and say: “Everyone is wrong.” In June 1982, Yossi Sarid had the courage to stand up against the war in Lebanon. Before, the generals Mati Peled and Meir Pa’il stood up. Today, no one stands up.

Just before the Gaza operation started, Eli Aminov died. In September 1967, Aminov signed a declaration that was worded with chilling precision: “Occupation leads to foreign rule/Foreign rule leads to resistance/Resistance leads to oppression/Oppression leads to terror and anti-terror/Terror’s victims are usually innocent.” But allow me to update: Terror and anti-terror bring disintegration. First the good will leave, and those who are left will slaughter each other.

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