Cover of Righteousness
by Shulamit Aloni
March 7, 2003
We do not have gas chambers and crematoria, but there is no one fixed method for genocide.
Dr. Ya'akov Lazovik writes ("Academic Genocide", "Ha'aretz", 4 March) that in the State of Israel it is impossible that the regime and the nation will plan and commit a genocide. It is difficult to determine if this is naivety or self-righteousness. As we know, there is no single fixed method for murder and not even for genocide. The author Y. L. Peretz wrote about "the righteous cat" who does not spill blood, but only suffocates.
The government of Israel, using the military and its instruments of destruction, is not only spilling blood, but it is also suffocating. What other name can be given to the dropping of a one-ton bomb over a dense urban area, when the justification uttered is that we wanted to murder a dangerous terrorist and his wife? The rest of the citizens who were killed and injured, among whom are children and women, do not count, of course.
How is it possible to explain the expulsion of citizens from their homes at three o'clock in the morning on a rainy night, then depositing bombs in the house and then departing without warning? When those expelled returned to their home, the bombs were exploded and a brutal murder and destruction of property was thus committed. And what is the justification for what happened in Jenin? We did not destroy the whole neighbourhood, just 85 houses; it was not slaughter, we killed only 50-some citizens. How many does one need to murder and destroy for it to be a crime? - A crime against humanity, as determined by the Laws of the State of Israel, not only the laws of Belgium.
And more: A curfew and closure of an entire city so that a few celebrants from the racist bunch in Hebron could walk to the Cave of the Fathers, and tanks destroying fruit and vegetable stands, and bulldozers that destroy houses, and Generals who, in their arrogant hubris, are willing to destroy a whole neighbourhood for the convenience of a group of settler hooligans. Curfew, closure, brutality, murder, destruction of homes of suspects, while we keep parroting the incantation that a person is innocent until proven otherwise (as in the case of our Prime Minister and his sons).
The order that Ariel Sharon gave to the soldiers who went to wreak revenge in Qibiah: "Maximize losses in life and property", has not been forgotten. Today Sharon, Mofaz and Yaalon, the three Generals who manage the policy of this government, behave like that self-righteous cat - suffocating all the time. Curfew and another curfew, arrests and more arrests, destruction of roads, brutality to the residents at road stops. Benny Alon, (a minister in the present government), already said: "make their life so bitter that they will transfer themselves willingly".
This is done on a daily basis, in addition to the destruction. The Chief of Staff, Yaalon, already announced that he is "destroying for re-building". One can understand from his moves that the "building" is building of more and more settlements. So that they will not be obliged, as military rulers, to take care of the residents' well-being, the army uses sorties, followed by retreats. They enter a village, they kill, they destroy and they arrest, and then they retreat. Those who remain on the ashes and the ruins will take care of themselves.
Many of our children are being indoctrinated, in religious schools, that the Arabs are Amalek, and the bible teaches us that Amalek must be destroyed. There was already a rabbi (Israel Hess) who wrote in the newspaper of Bar Ilan University that we all must commit genocide, and that is because his research showed that the Palestinians are Amalek.
The nation is not planning to commit genocide; the nation really does not want to know what's happening in the territories. The nation is following orders given by the legitimate representatives of the regime. After the legitimate Prime Minister who wanted to bring peace was murdered, the hand is loose on the trigger, greed is paramount, and there is always some reason to brutalise all of the residents of a city that number tens, if not hundreds of thousands, because there are always people there who are on the "wanted" list. It is sufficient that one person is wanted to bomb and kill, by mistake, of course, also women, children, workers and other humans - if indeed we still count them as humans.
Of course with our self-righteousness, with our self-adoration in our "Jewish ethics" we make sure to advertise how beautifully the doctors take care of Palestinian victims in the hospitals. We do not advertise how many of those are executed in cold blood in their own homes.
So it's not yet genocide of the terrible and unique style of which we were past victims. And as one of the smart Generals told me, we do not have crematoria and gas chambers. Is anything less than that consistent with Jewish ethics? Did he ever hear how an entire people said that it did not know what was done in its name?
Shulamit Aloni is a retired Israeli MK and Minister, member of the Meretz Party.