The nightmare returns. It starts with Israelis killing Palestinians, Palestinians killing Israelis, whomever. Israel decides that it “has to” kill Hamas militants. Or it “has to” round up the usual suspects. Eventually, Hamas “has” to retaliate by sending rockets that traumatize the heck out of people but rarely injure anybody. This annoys the hell out of Israel, which “has to” escalate by killing more militants, often senior ones. Then Hamas really sends barrages of rockets. And at the end of the day – and the night is still young – some Israelis are wounded, on very rare occasions there are fatalities, and tens, maybe hundreds, of Gazans are killed, many of them civilians, most of them non-combatants. And the destruction in Gaza is horrific.
And the world? Well, the world reports two things: the number of rockets fired against Israel, and the number of casualties on both sides. Nobody cares that that the firepower that hits in Gaza in a few days is more deadly and horrific than what falls in Israel in a few years.
And, like the movie Groundhog’s Day, we condemn ourselves to repeat this ritual of death and killing periodically. Some cynics call it “spring cleaning,” the need to deplete periodically Hamas stockpile of weapons. And Hamas “has to” play the game, even though they know they are going to lose, because they have to retaliate, right? I mean, they aren’t exactly a peace movement, and they can’t lose face, can they? We wouldn’t sit still; why would they?
It is 10:30 in Jerusalem. A siren half an hour ago sent our two grandchildren, who came to us for safety from Tel Aviv, to the reinforced room. Maybe tomorrow we’ll stay with my daughter in the South.
Netanyahu decided that we have to escalate. I mean, we have to do something, don’t we? We can’t just sit here!
There is nothing inevitable about this. We didn’t have to kill two innocent Palestinians in May at the Beitunia protest, and then suggest that the video which captured the killing was faked. We didn’t have to round up Hamas political leaders and imprison prisoners released in the Shavit swap after the murder of three Jewish students, when we had grounds to believe that they were murdered. When we suspected that two members of a rogue Hebron clan were involved, and Hamas did not take responsibility, we could have kept out of Gaza. We were playing with fire when we thought up ways of undermining the Fatah-Hamas unity government.
So, as usual, we are reaping what our leaders have sowed. Sure, Hamas leaders bear some responsibility. But while they are safe underground, the Gazans are suffering and dying. Every hour the numbers of their fatalities will go up, until we decide that too many fatalities will just get another Richard Goldstone involved.
Remember how yesterday the whole Jewish world mourned the death of an innocent Palestinian child? Today, how many of those “mourners” give a damn about the deaths of innocent children in Gaza?
Groundhog’s Day? Or Frozen?