The other night on Israeli television a reporter called the wave of protests against the government and against the Chief of Staff the possible start of a tsunami that could eventually topple the current government. Hassan Nasrallah must be pleased: His work might eventually be crowned by the Israelis themselves.
We should not allow the orange protesters of the summer of 2005 and their political allies to abuse the legitimate and justified protests of angry reservists and bereaved families for their own narrow political goals, which they twice failed to achieve in the last twelve months.
For years Palestinian and other terrorists – with the support and encouragement of puppet masters abroad – have been trying to influence Israeli politics. The months preceding Israeli elections often witnessed a significant rise in the already high number of attacks and attempted attacks by terrorists.
Apparently the terrorists prefer to see nationalist and rightwing – extremist and not so extremist – parties rather than more moderate and leftwing political forces in power in the Jewish state. The prospect of a Palestinian state next to the Jewish state appears to be as unappealing to the leaders of Hizbullah and Hamas as it is to Effi Eitam and Bibi Nethanyahu.
Acts of terror have often been 'welcomed' by Israeli rightwingers with told-you-so reactions and with proposals of a destructive been-there-done-that type.
Arab extremists and Israel's – not necessarily extremist – rightwingers seem to have one thing in common: they feel most comfortable dealing with a reality that has anything but moderates leading the other side. Fortunately for them, in most cases the other side delivers the goods.
The primary example is the period that preceded and followed the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. Without coordinating their moves among themselves Palestinian terrorists and one Jewish assassin succeeded in preventing what extremists on both sides feared most: Some sort of peace deal that would eventually have allowed two states to somehow coexist side by side.
Based on a similar logic Hizbullah, Hamas and other organizations succeeded in 'proving' that withdrawing from occupied territories only would bring Israel more, not less terror.
Israeli rightwingers eagerly use the terrorists' unrelenting efforts to show that their own self-fulfilling doomsday prophecies have been correct all along. Both Palestinian and Israeli political leaders help to escalate 'the situation' by falling into the snares set by the various fanatic individuals and organizations that determine our realities.
Their goal: Rightwing majority
Of course the government and some of the leading IDF commanders made terrible blunders during the last Lebanon war, blunders that soldiers and civilians presumably paid for with their lives. Demonstrations against the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff and others, and calls for thorough inquiries are not only justified, they are a necessary part of the democratic process.
Still, it is obvious that most of the bereaved families of the reserve soldiers do not raise their voices, and that many of the protesters have ulterior motives.
They want to succeed in doing what they failed to do one year and half a year ago: To bring down a government that has recognized the fact that the occupation hurts us more than it works for us, and to bring about a rightwing majority which will ensure the continuation of the status quo.
That status quo serves the interests of the fanatics on both sides of the conflict, not those of the average Israeli or Palestinian. We ought to criticize and punish the men and women who are responsible for the fashloth in this war. In addition, and even more importantly, we ought to try and make Israeli society less corrupt and the Jewish state better functioning as a state.
These days, with the Israeli state and society functioning as they are, it would be better if the Israeli army were not a mirror of Israel's society. Yet we should not concede our most dangerous enemies the ultimate victory by changing one government with another, more rightwing, hardly more competent or less corrupt one.
Our first priority must be to prepare ourselves for the next wars and to finally learn from our mistakes and those of the people who are supposed to lead us.
Investigations into what went wrong and preparations for future wars must be separated from attempts by politicians and by interest groups – extremist or not – to settle scores with those responsible for the disengagement.
If political parties and interest groups succeed in capitalizing politically and personally on the authentic anger and frustration that the war caused, Hizbullah truly won the war and all our victims died and suffered for nothing. If the right conclusions are drawn and real lessons are learnt, this war could help us win the next one.
Yonathan Dror Bar-On is a historian. In 1995 he immigrated to Israel from the Netherlands