Once upon a time I saw an old Italian comedy. It featured a farmer who was accused of raping a chicken. “I’m just a man,” he explained to the judge. “What could I do?”
This is just like me, your honor. What could I do? Even leftist bleeding hearts like me, with round glasses, are men (some of them, at least) and that night of targeted eliminations in the Gaza Strip last week, I must admit, did not fill me with sadness. The opposite was true.
Primitive joy rushed through my veins. For six or seven seconds I even muttered to myself all kinds of manly and patriotic mumbles such as “what professionalism” and “great execution” and “way to go” and “bravo.”
Yet after six or seven seconds, I regained my senses. I’m sorry. Life here is not some kind of western, where the sheriff brings the bad guys to justice, and justice sends them to the gallows. Because in a western, the story ends right there, while here the story insists on continuing.
And when the story continues, we see that it looks like the previous stories, which followed the previous operational success stories. Again we see the inflation of ego, an erect posture, some color returning to withered cheeks. Again we hear the good old “we shall win” pledges.
And when Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh expressed his interest in a hudna, a temporary ceasefire, we were all overcome by terror and fear. A hudna? With that guy? First he should remove the non-recognition of Israel from Hamas’ platform. First he should eliminate the Islamic Jihad. First he should learn Hebrew. First he should make us some hummus. First let us hear him sing HaTikva, our national anthem.
A hudna does not constitute recognition of the enemy. It is merely a technical state of affairs where a ceasefire takes place. It can be stopped if the other party does not comply with its terms. Such ceasefires have been introduced in the past between longtime, bitter enemies. We too were party to such arrangements in the past.
A temporary ceasefire may spare human lives. It may free residents of the southern town of Sderot and other Gaza-region communities from the grip of constant pressure, ongoing risk, and the grinding reality they are facing at this time.
Yet one night of testosterone made our leaders readopt their old bad habits.