The news says, ‘the IDF doesn’t kill children in vain.’ And everyone here nods with a serious ‘moral gaze.’
By Nir Baram
While mourning the horrific murder of the three Israeli boys by despicable murderers, yet again we hear the familiar calls of, “in times like these there is no Left and Right. We are all together.”
While there is “no Left and Right,” MK Yariv Levin calls to deal with Israeli Muslims and make them understand that “that which was – will no longer be”; Minister Israel Katz calls to shake the houses in Gaza; Bennett, as always, wants blood; inflamed mobs are chasing and beating Arabs (something that always happens in similar circumstances, even in 1980s Jerusalem); a Palestinian boy is brutally murdered, his cousin is severely beaten by Israeli policeman; Liberman says that MK Haneen Zoabi’s punishment should be the same as the kidnappers, and; in the settlements they are calling for more building as a reaction to the murders, and then actually building.
And this is just the beginning.
There is always Right and Left. There are those who scream and those who remain silent. The majority of the Israeli public that is convinced they are always the victims have created a branched denial mechanism which stands between them and reality – our kids are brutally murdered and every Palestinian kid who is killed comes with a ready justification, recited like a robotic recitation from the news on TV. But kids that have done nothing are being murdered by live fire of soldiers – like in Beitunia, like the bombing on a family home in Gaza, like many cases of shooting at innocent kids. In the eyes of Palestinians, and rightfully so, they are all kids who were murdered.
The Israeli public doesn’t want to know anything — not about about the kids from Beitunia, the everyday beating of Palestinian youths or about the kidnapping of Palestinians — because knowing details would jeopardize the system of denial most Israelis preserve with so much dedication, and which the media consciously maintains. The news says, “the IDF doesn’t kill children in vain.” And everyone here nods with a serious “moral gaze.”
Over 1,300 Palestinian children were murdered in the 14 years. But the lazy recitation goes on: the IDF doesn’t kill in vain, we don’t kill children on purpose, We are OK. We are morally superior. The robotic recitation and moral superiority hide reality and contrive a false and dangerous feeling of being the eternal victims of past and present. A violent, occupying society has formed here, a violent society in a constant position of victimhood: we see the results now, and will see it the future.
Nir Baram is an Israeli novelist. His latest book in Hebrew, World Shadow, was published last year by Am Oved.