Photo: Yaron Brener
Lighting candles in memory of slain teens. 'Initial reaction is to kill, shatter, destroy'
Photo: Yaron Brener
Eitan Haber

The hour of the boiling blood

Op-ed: What should cabinet do to satisfy Israeli revenge impulse, so that justified anger dies out?

As these words are transferred from the keyboard into print, the initial reaction of every person in Israel is most likely: To kill, to shatter, to ruin, to lose, to destroy.



That same reaction belongs to the family of "the Arabs only understand force," it is the offspring of "let us take care of the Arabs," and the defiance in the words taken from an ancient Palmach song: "The floor is given to the Parabellum comrade." The Parabellum, for those of you who don't know or don't remember, was a revolver used in the days of the undergrounds against the British rule. This pistol's barrel killed several British policemen and soldiers, and likely a few Arab rioters as well.


Now is the hour of the boiling blood: Avenging the spilled blood of thy servants. You killed three innocent teens who wanted to get home safely, we will kill five Arabs for every murdered Jewish teen, we will kill 50, we will kill 500, we will kill 5,000. And then what?


That is the exact spine-tingling dilemma facing the security-diplomatic cabinet ministers, who were enlisted to a meeting Monday night to show the people of Israel that someone is thinking about them and about their safety.


This will also be the dilemma of the prime minister and his ministers in the coming days: What should be done to satisfy the Israeli revenge impulse, so that the justified anger dies out? Will they announce another Air Force strike in Gaza? Will they impose a siege on the town of Halhul and stop the joy of the Ramadan? We are sad here, so you will cry tomorrow there?


And what about the day after tomorrow, and next week, and two weeks from now, and a month from now? And how will we respond if on the day after tomorrow, God forbid, small children will be killed in a Grad rocket attack from Gaza on a kindergarten in one of Israel's southern communities?


This dilemma is not unique to the Netanyahu government. It was inherited by every government, definitely since the Six-Day War. It was faced by clear security prime ministers like Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon. They didn't have a special patent and a proper response either. One of them suffered difficult blows of terror. The other managed to convince the Israeli media that he had succeeded in eradicating terror. The two of them and others, including those who will succeed Benjamin Netanyahu, didn't have and won't have a solution – because there is no solution to terror.


The only solution which may work, temporarily, is to expel millions of Palestinians from Judea and Samaria and the Gaza region, and there is no Israeli prime minister who would dare do that. From his office in Jerusalem, the prime minister sees what every "death to the Arabs" shouter doesn't see.


The worst thing, apart from the teens' horrible death, is if it turns out that not a single Palestinian leader, from Hamas or any other organization, was behind this attack – didn’t plan it and didn't know about it.


The worst thing is if it won't be possible to blame an organization, a headquarters, someone. If it turns out to be the "private" initiative of two Palestinian murderers who killed three Israeli teens who only wanted to get home.


Difficult questions will be raised in the coming days, some of them of the low and unnecessary kind. The grieving families will not be left alone. And after that the silence will arrive – until the next time.


But peace will not come to the home of the three families in Elad, Talmon and Nof Ayalon, who have no comfort, and no hug or words of encouragement will help them anymore. It is about them that poet Avraham Halfi wrote the following words:


"First you cry, then the weeping freezes. Then you remember only one thing: The fall of the son. And you don't say anything. Or talk about rain and what's new. And about something else. And about something more. And the ear will not hear anyway. And you are silent. And you get up from the chair and sit down. And get up. And again. And you know one thing: He won't come back."


פרסום ראשון: 07.02.14, 00:47
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