Israel's Endless Season of War

The people who decide on the assassinations do not think about the dead in Gaza, but neither do they think about the little girl who screams in fear in Ashkelon or the boy crying in his sleep in Ashdod.

In the ending of this war, too, the foundations of the next war were laid. It was enough to listen to Yaakov Amidror, the national security adviser, on Channel 2's "Meet the Press" as he spoke of the possible need to conquer the Gaza Strip to understand what lies behind the words and the echoes of other generals and statesmen: "We have not finished the job."

The IDF cannot abide a tie; that is another name for "loss of deterrence." It also does not like to keep agreements with weaker parties, which certainly have an interest in stirring things up. And siege, daily suffering, targeted assassinations and firing at protesters by the fence are a kind of barbaric behavior in the best colonial tradition.

Other contributions to the next war could be heard around the ostensibly devious opening sentence: "There is no argument that Israel has a right to defend itself." The next war will be supported by this new definition of the Jewish consensus, an eight-day production of propaganda broadcasts. Now it is agreed that the government and the IDF have the "right to act," and yet "we settled for only" destroying and killing. Thus the massive support of "the people" has once again been prepared for the next war. The people have not been so unified for years. This is the material for which wars are fought, this is the material with which wars are fought.

Haaretz did well to publish in its Hebrew edition a table of the operations of recent years, and the number of those killed on both sides, because Israelis forget. Every time a fire is sown anew, it covers over the previous killing fields. Who even thinks about the thousands of Palestinian mothers and fathers who have buried children in operations Rainbow, Days of Repentance, Summer Rains, Warm Winter, Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense?

This is the context in which we must understand the suffering in the Israeli south, which is nowhere near as severe as in Gaza. There is no chance for quiet in such a context, which gives Israel the right, in the name of "self-defense," to choke, restrict, kill, impoverish and decide for the natives what they may do, and especially what they may not.

How is it that that the masses of Palestinian dead are forgotten? Their blood is cheap to the Israelis. Within this colonial framework, Israelis are also protected from the link between cause and effect. "They started it" constitutes permission to forget. Even the table published in Haaretz did not count, it denied the number of targeted killings that led to the firing of rockets and brought about operations and mass killing. But the extent to which every incident of fire, and the outbreak of war, depends on an itchy trigger finger can be seen in the way the last war started. A Palestinian child was killed in crossfire, an IDF officer lost limbs, then our side in its wisdom killed Ahmed Jabari and it was clear that this killing would lead to war. We do not monitor the army's actions. The army is above debate.

We must beware and warn others about the people who decide on the assassinations - that is, our leaders. Do they think about the rockets that are fired in response at Sderot? Officially, yes. They assassinate to bring calm, but that is just ideology. In fact, they are ruled by a different logic entirely. The people who decide on the assassinations do not think about the dead in Gaza, but neither do they think about the little girl who screams in fear in Ashkelon or the boy crying in his sleep in Ashdod. Very soon the agony of the south will be forgotten, until the next round.

It is not bomb shelters that are missing there, but rather the realization that the government is indifferent, the realization of the cynicism inherent in this circle of death: The conflict with the Palestinians has no solution, our rulers say, and therefore we will go out from time to time to harvest corpses. The refusal to solve the conflict with the Palestinians ensures the continuation of the cycle of sowing death and harvesting blood. Those who did not want to fulfill their obligations to Arafat the strong, and did not want to talk with Abu Mazen the weak, will have to negotiate with Haniyeh of Hamas. Meanwhile, the lord of war, Ehud Barak, has advised us to emigrate to Finland or Switzerland if we are too weak for wars.