So I have a cynical take on all this, and a non-cynical take.
The cynic in me notes that this latest round of bombings did not happen by chance. We, the Israel Defence Force, took a choice to take out a leader of the Popular Resistance Committee. We also injured a couple of other bystanders too. Why did we do this?
The cynic answers three-fold:
- We did this so as to provoke a response that would distract everyone from everything else going on, and boost Netanyahu’s popularity. For the past few days Yisrael Hayom, the free paper funding by Sheldon Adelson, has had more than 10 pages full of reports from the South. “The Heart is with the South” I read this paper every day, in order to find out what my Prime Minister would like me to be thinking about.
- We did this so as to show off the Iron Dome defense system to the Iranians.
- We did this to fix the imbalances of the Gilad Shalit exchange. Al-Quaisi was, after all, released from jail as part of the Gilad Shalit deal…
But then I check myself back in the other direction.
What are we supposed to do with our sworn active enemies?
Even if I go so far as to agree that, yes, oh yes, the Palestinians must have their own state, and that we must end the occupation, and that their enmity towards us is only because of the occupation and all will be hunky-dory once we fully withdraw to the 1967 lines.
But what do we do until then?
Bearing in mind that the utopian peace deal will not flutter into our lives in the foreseeable future, what do we do with the people working very hard to kill our citizens?
It’s clear to the world that we cannot do another Cast Lead invasion of Gaza. Too many Palestinian civilians suffered from that campaign. And more international pressure was brought to bear on Israel in a day than was brought to bear on President Assad in a year. So that’s out. And we can’t arrest the guy, because we withdrew our army from Gaza. And the overseas assassinations are out of favour after the Dubai uproar. So what form of pre-emptive defense would be morally right?
It seems to me that a targeted assassination may well be the least worse option. (I’m never going to go so far as Donniel Hartman and argue that it’s Tikkun Olam(!), but I’ll accept it may be an appropriate form of pre-emptive defense)
So why am I nevertheless left with a bad taste in my mouth?
D put her finger on it.
It’s the whining.
We took out a terrorist because that was the least worse thing to do. We knew that the response would be missiles on civilian areas. So can we please praise the heroism, the strength, and the steadfastness of our fellow-citizens in the South rather than turning to the world and crying “poor us”? These people have been effectively recruited to be part of a military operation: We take out a terrorist, and you get bombed. We all know this is the equation. The least we can do is give our Southern citizens the honour of their sacrifice and not humiliate them with our self-pity.
There’s just something about our constant stretch for the comforting blanket of victimhood that is so undignified, so disingenuous, so anti-Zionist.