+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

This doesn't need to happen: Another pre-election war on Gaza

We need leaders who can talk about ending the siege, about ending the occupation, about equality, freedom, and security as the only solution for both Israelis and Palestinians.

By Haggai Matar and Oren Ziv

Israeli security forces assess the damage to a home in central Israel that was destroyed by a rocket fired overnight from Gaza, Mishmarot, March 25, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli security forces assess the damage to a home in central Israel that was destroyed by a rocket fired overnight from Gaza, Mishmarot, March 25, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The rocket fired from Gaza that destroyed a home and wounded seven people in central Israel Monday morning, took Israelis by surprise. On the one hand, that’s totally understandable; we aren’t used to rocket fire in the Tel Aviv area, and certainly not rockets that exact such a devastating price. An attack on civilians, on a sleeping family, is a terrifying thing.

On the other hand, the attack is surprising only if we disconnect it from all the stories that don’t get any airtime: unarmed protesters shot on the Israel-Gaza fence almost every week (only recently, a 14-year-old was shot dead by Israeli snipers), several deadly incidents West Bank in recent weeks, along with attacks and other steps being taken against Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. When we talk about Palestinian aggression, hardly anyone mentions the fact that since the beginning of the year, Israeli security forces have killed 30 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

The rocket attack is a surprise only if we allow ourselves to forget the wider context of the daily reality of occupation — from arrests of Palestinian children in their classrooms to settler attacks on Palestinian farmers — or the siege on Gaza, which has left the Gazans impoverished and hopeless.

None of this justifies attacks on Israeli civilians, of course, but it should remind us that Israel is the one attacking Palestinian civilians on a daily basis. We cannot lose sight of that context when we talk about what may come next.

SUBSCRIBE TO +972 MAGAZINE'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

SUBMIT

In response to the rocket attack Monday morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel would “respond with force.” (At the time of publication, those attacks had begun.) Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, who visited the destroyed house in the moshav of Mishmarot, described the Israeli government’s three options: continue shooting on “empty depots” in Gaza, re-occupy the strip, or re-institute Israeli’s targeted killing program.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Hamas must be “subdued,” while Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz, whose campaign ads bragged of sending Gaza back to the Stone Age, blamed Netanyahu for the rocket attack for not striking Hamas and Gaza harder. Far-right politicians demanded Gaza be “flattened.”

Palestinian protesters take part in the weekly Great Return March demonstration near the Israel-Gaza fence, east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, March 22, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinian protesters take part in the weekly Great Return March demonstration near the Israel-Gaza fence, east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, March 22, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Some residents of Mishmarot, however, took a different tone. Yoni Wolf, whose family lives in the house that was destroyed by the rocket, told reporters Monday morning that Israel must “regain not only its deterrence but also its sanity.” Another resident of the town said one of his former employees, a Palestinian man from Gaza, called to ask how he was doing. “Not everybody hates us,” he said.

The danger is that now, following the attack on Mishmarot, in light of the upcoming elections, and in an attempt to maintain his image as “Mr. Security,” Netanyahu could be dragged into the deadliest and most devastating round of violence we have seen since the last Gaza war in 2014.

But there is another way. We can stop the bloodshed. We do not have to wage another pre-election war. We can stop speaking in empty slogans about destroying the Hamas regime. These are lies, they have always been lies. What we need is leader who can talk about negotiations, ending the siege and the occupation, about equality, freedom, and security as the only solution for both Israelis and Palestinians.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Deborah

      “None of this justifies attacks on Israeli civilians, of course,..”. This sentence comes across totally empty. You are of course totally justifying the attacks. Benny Gantz’s sentiments (which you castigate) mirror Yoni Wolf’s sentiments (which you raise high). Tougher deterrents. Focus on solutions.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Deborah: A few Moshe Dayan quotes might be appropriate:

        https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Moshe_Dayan

        “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”

        “We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country we bought lands from the Arabs. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahalul, Gevat — in the place of Jibta, Sarid — in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua — in the place of Tell Shaman. There is no one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          Bruce: That Dayan quote has been famously used to mislead about Israel’s history. Those “Arab villages” (maybe consisting of 8-20 families) were legally BOUGHT from those Arabs fair and square, usually for hefty sums of money.

          Dayan does say in the 2nd sentence “….we bought lands from the Arabs”. However, since Dayan eventually became Minister of Defence, it is assumed that he is talking about ethnic cleansing.
          A nasty piece of historical misdirection you’ve got there !

          Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “Benny Gantz’s sentiments mirror Yoni Wolf’s sentiments”

        What are you talking about?

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        What Matar and Ziv actually wrote was, “None of this justifies attacks on Israeli civilians, of course, but it should remind us that Israel is the one attacking Palestinian civilians on a daily basis.”

        By truncating the quotation, Deborah, you are justifying Israel’s incessant, day in, day out attacks on Palestinian civilians, and trying to make the occupation disappear. It won’t wash.

        And to parrot the right wing and somehow equate “tougher deterrents” with a “focus on solutions” is to really miss the point altogether.

        Anyone who wants to understand the brainwashing driving the settlements, and driving the Israeli cruelty necessary to maintain the occupation, just has to listen to Daniella Weiss talk frankly and unabashedly about the brainwashing she does:
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-palestinian-conflict-solutions/.premium-on-a-clear-day-in-the-west-bank-you-can-see-the-israel-you-lost-forever-1.7044362

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          And ‘Aliza Kessler’ is a prime example of the brainwashed ones. Illustrates the end product perfectly. It’s a cult.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      On the whole theme of “this doesn’t need to happen” Peace Now just came out with a 6 minute video that serves as a mini-history of the Israel-Egypt peace process – at one time people would say “Egypt just wants to destroy us…”:

      https://www.facebook.com/PeaceNowIsrael/videos/2120778454828431/


      “40 years ago our lives in Israel changed forever. Watch to see how it happened, and what lessons we can learn for solving our problems in the present.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        Bruce:
        In the long term, the Gazans need to go.
        Only after we have forcibly removed their presence here, will there be peace.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          In other words…”Don’t watch the Peace Now video, children, nothing to see here, move right along!” Lewis, a judeofascist if there ever was one, is afraid of the truth and does not want you to discover it.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ray

          Why don’t YOU people go? What the hell kind of “native” of the Middle East goes around with a name like “Lewis?” YOU should go move back to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Have some vodka with Dov Hikind and the other JDL buddies

          Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Lewis is my “stage name” for the comments section of this absurd Leftist magazine.

            As I have previously stated, I was born in Israel and moved to an English-speaking country for a large fraction of my life. Then, I returned to Israel years ago. Thus, I have a Hebrew first name and family name.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            Well, obviously living in a country with a modern, civilized culture didn’t rub off on you much. My condolences, we failed you (and your kids, if anyone is unfortunate enough to have you as a father).

            Stage name. Exit, stage right.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Ray:
            I am now living in a country with a modern, civilized culture ! This differs from the US, where people without medical insurance are left to die if they develop a serious illness.

            You guys seem to have a very 1980s view of Israel. You don’t realise the country has a GDP per capita that exceeds that of Japan, France or UK. The government holds over $100 Billion in reserve. You really need to join the real World.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Harry

      This doesn’t need to happen:

      Hamas building rockets for no purpose other than to attack Israel

      Seriously, what is your major malfunction?

      Reply to Comment
    4. average american

      I’m constanty amazed at people who don’t see what is happening. This is The Jewish State, how many clues do you need? How much clearer can a statement be made? This land is Jewish, and the Greater Israel will be Jewish, from Cypress to Kuwait and proud of it, and if you oppose the lebensraum there’s something wrong with you.

      Reply to Comment
      • itshak Gordine

        You are wrong.Only from the Mediterranean sea to a part of Syria. This will be done in Messianic times. In the meantime we must protect the territories that have already been liberated.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Anyone who wants to understand the messianic Halevy better, and wants to understand the brainwashing driving the settlements, and driving the Israeli cruelty necessary to maintain the occupation, just has to listen to (all too typical) messianic fanatic Daniella Weiss talk frankly and unabashedly about the brainwashing she does:
          https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-palestinian-conflict-solutions/.premium-on-a-clear-day-in-the-west-bank-you-can-see-the-israel-you-lost-forever-1.7044362

          Daniella Weiss: “People say to me, why don’t you explain to the Jews of the United States what it is exactly behind your thinking? I explain,” she laughs, “‘You have to brainwash all the time… You know, we have a family confrontation, my husband says to me every week, ‘Why do you speak to your children all the time about Zionism, pioneers in Judea and Samaria, settling and settling?’ And all my family are settlers here. Because this is the only way to continue Zionism. If there is no enthusiasm, there is no sex. If there is no sex, there is no pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, there are no babies. This is the problem in the United States today… Now, you may ask, but you live here, and you know the things that I’ve said, and you do not change your mind. ‘Okay. Why didn’t the brainwashing work on me?’ Because I didn’t do it on you. Two hours of a meeting is not brainwashing. I do it to my children a few hours every day. My husband says to me, ‘What do you do all the time?’ I brainwash.”

          Reply to Comment
    5. Firentis

      So, some fanatics try to storm the border and they are shot and the understandable reaction of the Palestinians is to shoot at rockets at civilians in Israel. And of course Israel should make concessions as a result. This is a great summary of the thinking of the complete and utter idiots that inhabit the Israeli far left.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        You have glaring reading comprehension issues. You could have that looked at.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        Protesters are “fanatics.” That’s a nice euphemism you got there. Nixon would be proud.

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          Foreign fanatics trying to storm the border.
          There, fixed it for you, Ray.
          Now it does not sound at all like Nixon !

          Reply to Comment
    6. Click here to load previous comments