Here are excerpts from two recent opinion pieces. Obviously, two pieces can never do justice to this complex situation. For one thing, they do not represent Palestinian points of view. But these two illustrate the level of internal public debate for which the Israeli media - but not the American - are willing to provide a forum.
Both are from the left of center widely read Haretz:
Here is the first by Gideon Levy:
Operation Cast Lead is a tragic campaign. Tragic, because it is causing the deaths of hundreds and injuring thousands. Tragic, because it is causing physical and emotional injury to innocent Palestinians, including women and children. Tragic, because like every war it creates intolerable human hardship and heartbreaking suffering.
Our finest young men are attacking Gaza now. Good boys from good homes are doing bad things. Most of them are eloquent, impressive, self-confident, often even highly principled in their own eyes, and on Black Saturday dozens of them set out to bomb some of the targets in our "target bank" for the Gaza Strip.
They set out to bomb the graduation ceremony for young police officers who had found that rare Gaza commodity, a job, massacring them by the dozen. They bombed a mosque, killing five sisters of the Balousha family, the youngest of whom was 4. They bombed a police station, hitting a doctor nearby; she lies in a vegetative state in Shifa Hospital, which is bursting with wounded and dead. They bombed a university that we in Israel call the Palestinian Rafael, the equivalent of Israel's weapons developer, and destroyed student dormitories. They dropped hundreds of bombs out of blue skies free of all resistance.
n four days they killed 375 people. They did not, and could not, distinguish between a Hamas official and his children, between a traffic cop and a Qassam launch operator, between a weapons cache and a health clinic, between the first and second floors of a densely populated apartment building with dozens of children inside. According to reports, about half of the people killed were innocent civilians. We're not complaining about the pilots' accuracy, it cannot be otherwise when the weapon is a plane and the objective is a tiny, crowded strip of land. Our excellent pilots are effectively bullies now. As in training flights, they bomb undisturbed, facing neither an air force nor defense system.
But all of this is well hidden from the pilots' eyes. They are only doing their job, as the saying goes, only following orders like bombing machines. In the past few days they have excelled at this, and the results are there for the entire world to see. Gaza is licking its wounds, just like Lebanon before it, and almost no one pauses for a moment to ask whether all this is necessary, or unavoidable, or whether it contributes to Israel's security and moral image. Is it really the case that our pilots return safely to base, or are they in fact returning to them as callous, cruel and blind people?
A more familiar sounding view from the same Daily by ri Shavit:
But the tragedy of Operation Cast Lead is unavoidable. It derives directly from the fact that the Palestinians did not take proper advantage of the historic opportunity given to them in 2005. It derives from the fact that when the Palestinians achieved self-government for the first time in their history they misused it. It derives from the fact that the Palestinian need to destroy Israel is still stronger than their need to build Palestine.
Israel-hating Israelis call Operation Cast Lead a war crime. They record the names of each and every Palestinian killed, denounce each and every Israeli action and portray their state as a bully. While the Egyptians are saying that Hamas is largely responsible for the tragedy of Gaza, Israel-hating Israelis place the whole responsibility on their government and military. While the international community silently understands that a sovereign state is duty-bound to protect its citizens' lives, Israel-hating Israelis believe that Israeli lives can be forfeited. ...
The real motivation of Israel-hating Israelis is not genuine concern for the Palestinians, but rather a form of reverse racism. By showing forgiveness toward Palestinian fascism they turn their backs not only on Israelis but also on moderate, freedom-loving Palestinians. Those who blame Israel for everything and exonerate the Palestinians of everything are neither serving the cause of peace nor helping to end the violence and occupation. All they are doing is proving the extent to which they are blinded by their burning self-hatred. posted by Mary at 8:48 PM | 0 comments