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Shulamit Aloni
Photo: Ofer Amram
Blood on our hands
Shulamit Aloni amazed by public’s ability to get caught up in wave of patriotic zeal over Gaza op
Hamas men and their leaders belong to the evil camp, and their hatred for us made them cast away the rational inhibitions required of a leadership that is concerned for the wellbeing of its citizens. Indeed, Hamas’ conduct ever since the Gaza withdrawal and subsequent election victory does not merit any praise. However, Strip residents who are captives of Hamas’ leadership – women, the elderly, children, students, lecturers, hospitals, doctors, and patients – do not have to be punished with destruction, death, and bereavement because of the despicable acts of their leaders.

 

It is doubtful whether the method of punishment adopted by the State of Israel for some years now, in the form of targeting populated areas, dropping one-ton bombs on civilian neighborhoods, and using cluster bombs, has any effect or wisdom.

 

The defense minister declared that the time for war has arrived, in order to put an end to the criminal harassment in the form of murderous rockets fired from Gaza at our communities. Well, the IDF embarked on war with much force, knowledge, and advanced planning in order to sow fear and horror on Gaza civilians and leaders. And it worked for him! There, the defense minister already gained five Knesset seats in pre-election polls. The defense minister is happy, and the people - proud of their glorious army - are already resorting to exaggerated passion and are vowing to elect the hero and his party.

 

Yet why did he abandon Gilad Shalit? Why didn’t he secure his release before embarking on the operation? Hamas demanded the release of prisoners, and we argued that many of them have blood on their hands, yet when it comes to killing and assassinations we are much more capable than them. Within the first 24 hours of the operation we killed more than 300 people, including two innocent girls, not to mention the victims we killed between this operation and previous ones.

 

Why did our well organized army, with its excellent intelligence capabilities, object to the release of Palestinian prisoners, when we could send them back home and later assassinate them in the heat of the battle? After all, we are already used to assassinations from the air, sea, at hideouts, or in populated neighborhoods. Assassinate – that is, to kill and murder.

 

Moreover, the people who drop our bombs do not get stained with blood. Our system is simple: There is no need for evidence or for a trial. Once we decide that a certain someone is wanted, one bang and he’s gone. Recently, the army was also granted permission to kill civilians who happen to be near a wanted person; this was published in the press about two weeks ago next to a photo of a smiling army chief.

 

There is no doubt that had the defense minister first secured the release of our captive soldier, he would have gained more than five Knesset seats. He may have even been crowned as the king of Israel.

 

The public’s ability to get caught up in a wave of patriotic zeal because of the IDF operation is amazing. I remember how, upon embarking on the Second Lebanon War in 2006, many of my sane and enlightened friends cried out with joy: “Finally, a just war.” I believe we all remember how it ended.

 

So why didn’t we, throughout the lull period, engage in direct or indirect dialogue in order to extend the truce or secure a better agreement?

 

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