As of press time, at least 155 casualties were reported from the Israeli assault on the Gaza strip. This number is bound to rise over the next few days, and the tide of Palestinian corpses will doubtlessly carry more then a few Israeli ones with it. We just entered a new war. The name given the operation, "Cast Lead", is taken from a Channukah children song. It seems that the Israeli government is using the holiday spirit and the memory of a military struggle tousands of years old to enhance the concensus around its actions.
60 KM away from the battlefiled, I don't see anything of this war and the only thunders audible are in the voice of my father, critical of me for joining an anti-war demonstration yesterday. "There comes a time, when someone keeps showing aggression towards you, when you must give them a slap," he explains.
Yes, but what will be the result? what constructive scenerio can we draw?
"The more they shoot at us, the more eager they make us to attack them," he explains.
"And what do you think will happen the more we attack them?" I ask.
I agree that the shooting at Israel is intolerable and that if you threatened to slap, you usually should fulfill your threats, but this Gaza operation (try using the exciting word "operation" with one of the hundreds of widows, widdowers, orphans etc. that were created this morning), is deeply unpragmatic and looks like the clone of the 2006 Lebanese initiative. Not only is it a terrible, bloody disaster, but it's a terrible, bloody disaster that will solve nothing, and since when do terrible bloody disasters solve things anyway?
The Hammas heads don't really care for the lives of Gazans to begin with. They are in a terrible "Shaid" state of mind and will fight to the death, preferrably the deaths of others. Shooting at them won't stop Kassam and Grad rockets from flying into Israel, unless we kill the entire population of the strip.
I, being the pragmatic sort, am for one of the two: complete annihilation of all Gazans or discussing other options. No optional response to the Gaza bombing was ever discussed here except boom boom boom. Israel does not communicate with Hammas, does not give Egyptian and other mediators an easy time, Does not propose any solution for Gaza's dreadful siege situation, and yet almost its entire political spectrum, including the generaly Meretz party, support this pointless misadventure.
We've just been sitting here like hungry dogs waiting to devour the residents of that poor hellhole for years. Now our dog is off the leash. I can't stop it, (though I do intend attend the second anti-war demonstration, meeting tonight at 7:30 at the Tel-Aviv Cinemateque and marching down to Allenby), but the next time they tell me, as they often do, that "Arabs only speak the language of violence", I will have an answer ready.