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Not even a 'bump on the wing' these days when killing Palestinians

No one in Israel really talks about the killing of innocent Palestinians anymore. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us.

On Tuesday, the IDF attempted to kill Mohammed Deif, the military leader of Hamas in Gaza, by dropping five one-tonne bombs on a home. As these lines are written it is not yet clear whether Deif was killed. What can be said with certainty, however, is that his wife and eight-month-old son definitely were.

Deif has been on Israel’s wanted list for years. On Tuesday night it saw a chance, and despite the fact that it knew of other innocent civilians in the building, it went after him. The decision was made.

And as we’ve seen in the past few weeks, this is not the first time.

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack on the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family. (photo: Activestills)

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack on the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family. (photo: Activestills)

But no one in Israel really talks about these things anymore. I say this because I remember a time when we used to. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us.

I was reminded of this recently after watching a short documentary made by military analyst Yoav Limor for Israel’s Channel  2, called “The Human Shield.” If you understand Hebrew I highly recommend watching it, for it gives deep insight into the chilling justifications and rationalizations Israelis make for killing innocent people.

One poignant segment is that of human rights attorney Michael Sfard, who compares what is happening in Gaza today to what happened in 2002 when Israel killed then-Hamas military chief Salah Shehadeh. Sfard points out that there was a debate about the morality of killing Shehadeh, who died together with 14 innocent people that day, many of them children.

I’ve been writing for years about what this country is turning into before my eyes. The total lack of empathy for suffering on the other side is a result of deeply ingrained racism. In my eyes the Israeli response, or shall I say the lack of it, to the recent massacres in Gaza is the epitome of the unraveling of Israeli society over the past decade.

The Hebrew Wikipedia entry on the assassination of Shehadeh in 2002 states that the killing “gained criticism among left wingers in Israel.”

That wasn’t the only thing that happened back then. There were threats of taking pilots, officers and politicians to The Hague for war crimes. It also prompted the famous “Pilots Letter,” in which IDF pilots refused to take part in targeted killings. And there was even an inquiry panel that was formed, only to obviously point out that all was OK.

But probably the most memorable reaction to the assassination was that of then-Israeli Air Force Chief Dan Halutz (who later became Chief of Staff). When asked what he felt when he dropped a bomb on civilians, this is what he had to say:

No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked. But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.

That was 2002. A one-tonne bomb, on one building.

Fast forward to July-August 2014. The IDF is dropping hundreds of one-tonne bombs over Gaza, but nobody is talking about it.

The Shejaiya neighborhood, wiped out like Dresden.

It’s a given. It just happens.

There’s no debate. No second thoughts.

Take a look at the picture below. Based on data from B’Tselem, it shows members of families killed in their homes in 59 incidents of bombing or shelling. In these incidents, 458 people were killed, including 108 women under the age of 60, 214 minors and 18 people over the age of 60.


B’Tselem figures for Palestinian families bombed at home, Gaza, July-August 2014 (initial figures)

Twelve years ago when we murdered innocent people, there were some people who were bothered by it. They raised their voices. They did something. It made it into the media. There was a debate.

There was more than a “bump in the wing.”

But now?

Now Israelis couldn’t care less.

Read aloud the names of the Abu Jame’ family, then tell me this isn’t a war crime
When ‘not in my name’ is all you have in the face of a massacre
Don’t cry for me: A letter from a little girl in Gaza

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    1. Kolumn8

      We are done shooting and crying because it is pretty obvious the crying makes our enemies believe that we are going to stop shooting in favor of crying and all they have to do is wait. It will be all shooting from now on. Get used to it.

      What happened to Israeli society is that it realized that it is not in Europe and that it is about time to stop pretending otherwise. Israeli society is not unravelling. It is rapidly embracing a new consensus from which you and similar types choose to exclude yourselves. That consensus is pretty simple – we will do whatever needs to be done to protect ourselves and our country – the enemy can make its own choices given this knowledge.

      Reply to Comment
      • Talons of Judah

        “Tachless”, beautifully written, well spoken and TRUE.
        We are a thousand fold stronger than what the Liberal (“Please Kill me now and get it over with”) leaning Left percieve to be true. Time to stop apologizing for being alive.
        It has taken way too much Jewish blood to be spilt for many Jews to wake up and smell the threats but Jews are learning…

        Reply to Comment
    2. Talons of Judah

      Your assessment assumes that Israelis no longer care. This is not true, we do, but if they come to kill us, better they should die than us. It’s that simple.
      We, the Jewish people have DIED ENOUGH, especially 1933-45.
      Pundits around the world seem to desire an even “box score”. They would “feel” better if there were 2,000 dead Palestinians and 2,000 dead Israelis. Then, would that be FAIR?? Would that soothe your sensitive little hearts?

      You seem to have forgotten something called Intifada 1, Oslo and Intifada 2 by FATAH and the Genocidal Agenda of the HAMAS Charter.

      You have lost the NORMAL human survival instinct in favor of bowing to your enemies.

      When the ISIS and HAMAS people come to slice off YOUR head I will ask you, “but where is your sympathy your humanity for those that are about to hold your head, detatched, from your body?

      We DO care about loss of life and Israel KNOWS HOW TO MAKE PEACE, we’ve dome it a few times now so go ask the Palestinians to form their equivalent of Peace Now. Then and only then will I take them seriously…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Pedro X

      As Neil Young sang in Cork, “Don’t Cry No Tears Around Me”. It does not change a thing.

      And as Mary Blije said ” No more Drama, Ami”

      The Shejaiya neighborhood is not like Dresden. Dresden was fire bombed killing 25,000 people. Have more than a couple of hundred died in Shejaiya, mainly fighters? Dresden was of limited military importance. Shejaiya was a major military complex of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad with many hundred terrorist positions and military assets present being used to attack Israel. The Allied bombers did not for days drop leaflets and make phone calls telling Germans to leave Dresden. Israel did and as a result the majority of the population survived the fighting by fleeing. Those who did not have themselves and Hamas to blame.

      I might remind Ami what the Allied bombers in Operation Gomorrah, both American and British bombers, did to Hamburg, a city of military importance. 700+ RAF bombers ignited a firestorm causing 150 mph winds and 1,800° temperatures. They killed over 50,000 in an attack destroying 75% of the city. One million were left homeless. Ten square miles of city were reduced to rubble.

      Gazans should count their lucky stars that Israel does not do to Gaza what the British and Americans did to Dresden, Hamburg and so many other German cities.

      Reply to Comment
      • If Israel fire bombed Gaza the US would turn against it. Even a Republican Administration would turn against it. The Security Council veto you rely on would disappear. Thank your lucky stars.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Rittie Katz

      There are those who feel and those who mourn. There are grassroots organizations and individual people visiting wounded Gazans, raising money, trying to help.
      To lump all Israelies together is neither intellectually honest, nor accurate.

      Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        As a reward, the Arab imperialists will kill you last, after letting you live just right up to having served their purposes. Tzaddikut rewarded.

        For my part I say, better a survivor demonized than a slaughtered sheep eulogized. “World opinion” is for those who march into their perdition.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Pedro X

      Hamas’ southern command and 3 top Hamas commanders were killed today. Are you crying Ami that they will not be around to kill more Israelis?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Tomer

      The Arabs chose WAR. Now they must suffer the consequences.

      Reply to Comment
      • SMD


        Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        The Palestinians could have chosen peace and prosperity in 1947 or 1948, between 1949-1967, and 1978,1982, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2013 and 2014 but instead chose war and terror and have suffered grievously for their choices. Maybe the Palestinians need to make better choices. All they need to do is disarm and make peace. They need to recognize a Jewish state and an Arab state, two states for two peoples. They need to drop the demand of Palestinian descendants of refugees having a right to live in Israel. They need to agree what part of the Judea and Samaria will remain in Israeli hands and what part of the West Bank will remain in Arab hands. Then they need to accept that a peace agreement will be a conflict ending agreement preventing the Palestinians from carrying on the conflict. The other choice is war.

        Reply to Comment
        • Hilary Stookey

          And what will be asked of the Israelis? What can they be called upon to relinquish?

          Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Israelis are being asked to relinquish more than 90% of Judea and Samaria, part of Jerusalem and territory within green line Israel. Plus Israel is being asked to gamble with the security of its citizens in the heartland of Israel by giving up land for potential use for terrorists to fire onto the major population centers from the hills of Judea and Samaria.

            We have seen this movie before when Jordanians and Palestinians controlled the other side of the green line before 1967 and it was terror. Does Israel really want to go back in time when Jordan shot artillery shells into hospitals and class rooms, except now it would be Fatah and Hamas bombers doing the shooting?

            Reply to Comment
          • Hanuda

            >Israelis are being asked to relinquish more than 90% of Judea and Samaria, part of Jerusalem and territory within green line Israel

            I’ll call the territory by its real name: the West Bank. They have to give that territory up because they have no rights to it under international law. The Jewish settlements there are a war crime. They also have no rights to East Jerusalem, again under international law, which is Palestinian territory and centre of a future Palestinian state.

            In other words, when placed under the context of international law, Israel has to give up what it is not entitled to, and nothing of what it is.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            You said:

            “I’ll call the territory by its real name: the West Bank.”

            This is just the designation for the area annexed by Jordan to differentiate between Jordanian territory from one side of the Jordan River from the other.

            The name West Bank was not mentioned in the UN proposal for partition. However real name of the area Judea and Samaria was:

            “The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River”

            You also said:

            “they have no rights to it under international law.”

            The Jewish people have a right to settle, develop and live in Judea and Samaria pursuant to international law as promulgated by the Sam Remo Resolution of 1920, the Covenant of the League of Nations establishing mandates as sacred trusts of civilization and the sacred trust for a Jewish home established by the unanimous consent of the League of Nations with the Mandate of Palestine.

            Section 80 of the Charter of the United Nations ratified the rights given under the mandate system. Under the Mandate for Palestine Jewish persons were given the right to settle in and develop the lands of Mandate Palestine.

            The rights of the Jewish people under the sacred trust of civilization can not be taken away by subsequent resolutions without the consent of the Jewish people as represented by the Jewish state of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
        • Goldmarx

          “They need to recognize a Jewish state and an Arab state, two states for two peoples.”

          But why should they when Bibi himself recently came out against a sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank?

          Reply to Comment
    7. Andi

      Racism is requirement and consequence of colonialism. That’s what you can observe on the Israeli side (and in the preceding comments above).

      Reply to Comment
    8. Amos Stein

      I am an American Jew, and just a little while ago I wouldn’t have believed your description of Israelis as a people without empathy.

      But I keep reading comments like the ones above.

      “It will be all shooting from now on. Get used to it.”

      When I was a young child, I planted trees in Israel with my temple and we gave donations to Israel. I was taught that Israel wanted peace. I was lied to.

      Now I read comments wishing for more death. I watch videos of Israelis running around yelling “Death to Arabs and Leftists” in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and even Tel Aviv(!).

      I believe my eyes and ears, not what my rabbis taught me growing up. Israel teaches hatred.

      My children will not be taught that Israel is anything other than a murderous apartheid state. And we will _never_ donate to Israel.

      You have lost your soul.

      Reply to Comment
      • Joel


        I’m an American Jew who made aliyah two years ago.

        What you say about Israelis losing their soul may or may not be true.

        What is true, is that Israelis don’t give a crap what you think.

        Reply to Comment
        • Amos Stein

          “What is true, is that Israelis don’t give a crap what you think.”


          Why does Birthright give out free propaganda vacations to people like me if Israelis don’t give a crap about what I think? Why send people to my temple to promote a connection to Israel if Israelis don’t give a crap about what I think?

          Israel invests huge sums of money and time to try to sway the way I think.

          You might, personally, think it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks of Israel, but the people (much smarter than you) who control your country certainly do.

          I have, in the course of these repeated Gaza slaughters, and the discovery that Israelis doesn’t want peace, started to support the BDS movement. I advocate (with some success) BDS to my family and community.

          It is time for some tough love. South Africa changed. Maybe Israel will too. We’ll see if it matters what American Jews think.

          Reply to Comment
          • Joel


            You and who else supports BDS?
            First and foremost of BDS supporters is the
            Palestinian BDS Committee.
            Who are they?

            The lead member on the roster of the Palestine National Committee is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine.
            Who is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, Amos?

            Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, that’s who.

            You’re ‘tough love’ looks more like a rape.

            Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Try to get the facts straight Amos. Israel has tired to make peace with the Arab Nations surrounding it and the Palestinian Arabs. Israel actually made peace with Jordan and Egypt. Every peace offer to the Palestinians has been rejected. Every peace offer has been responded to with extreme violence from the Palestinians and / or Arab states.

        The Palestinians have never made a formal peace offer which would result in two states for two peoples, that is a Jewish state and an Arab state.

        Israel is not prepared to put up with unending violence from the Palestinian side and will respond with force to attacks.

        You, Amos located in America, can nibble your nosh and drink your expresso coffees or quaff your fine American wine, without worrying if your children are going to be killed on their way home from school, traveling on the bus, in their kindergarten, or having a slice of pizza with their mom and sister.

        Israelis not only have to worry about mundane matters like having to pay the rent and mortgage but how to make sure they and their children make it to a shelter until the next Palestinian expression of goodwill crashes down from the sky.

        So like a luftmensch go nibble your nosh and quaff your wine and leave the defense of Israel to Israelis.

        Reply to Comment
        • Amos Stein

          “So like a luftmensch go nibble your nosh and quaff your wine and leave the defense of Israel to Israelis.”

          That is exactly what I am going to encourage my government to do: quit giving Israel weapons and money and “leave the defense (sic) of Israel to Israelis.”

          Reply to Comment
    9. micky wanderer

      Before anyone says it, this wasn’t a ‘war crime’. Under the international treaties and conditions, its regrettable that civilians get caught in the line of fire when going after a legitimate target but its not a crime.

      Reply to Comment
      • Scottish Chap

        Garbage. Geneva Conventions do not express crocodile tears. Just what can you not understand in this statement: “To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons [non-combatants]:

        (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;”?

        Your comment merely illustrates the point Ami Kaufman is making.

        Reply to Comment
    10. bor

      This article misstates facts as well as the zeitgeist.

      To remind the author, after the Shehadeh bombing, Israel changed its targeted operations into more careful, targeted ones that stress loss of civilian lives to a much greater degree and EVEN USE SMALLER BOMBS.

      In fact, precisely because of the use of smaller bombs, some of Hamas’s key leaders – men who eventually would take over Gaza and lead to the three wars Israel has had to fight in Gaza in the past few years – survived a meeting where they were all present and Israel knew about it. Seeking to avoid the outcome of the Shehadeh bombing, Israel used a half-ton bomb. It exploded on target but the Hamas leaders were on a different floor and escaped with their lives.

      What other army in the world would do such a thing?

      What other army in the world has a formal, large legal apparatus that functions in real time together with the army’s military commanders to avoid even potential violations of laws of war.

      What other country does this even while its enemies entirely ignore the laws of war and are given a pass for their violations by the same international community which criticizes Israel for actions that are minimal in comparison to the critical countries?

      In this recent Gaza conflict, Israel has killed civilians, but not because it has been callous, uncaring, insensitive or vicious. It has killed them during attacks on military targets. Period.

      Israel’s PM, an elected leader in a vibrant democracy, stood on a podium in front of the international press and during wartime APOLOGIZED for the deaths of any Palestinian civilians and stressed that any such death is one Israel sought and seeks to avoid.

      As for B’Tzelem, their views on this conflict are so biased and their methods of research so shoddy that nothing they publish may be trusted. Their numbers were proven completely wrong in Cast Lead and the IDF’s remarkably accurate. If you want to have some credibility, there are many other sources you could use to try to argue your false case about Israel and the enemy’s civilians.

      Oh, and let’s not forget the diversionary intent of this article. The author, against the extensive evidence that proves him wrong, attacks Israel but does not even bother (and never will) with Israel’s enemies OBVIOUS and DECLARED attacks and intended attacks on Israel’s civilians. Talk about projection!

      Reply to Comment
      • Amos Stein

        “What other army in the world has a formal, large legal apparatus that functions in real time together with the army’s military commanders to avoid even potential violations of laws of war.”

        Here is your “formal, large legal apparatus” at work in Gaza: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=632881363497555

        Reply to Comment
        • bor

          And your point is?

          Try to stay on topic, kiddo.

          Reply to Comment
          • Amos Stein

            My (obvious) point is that your claim that the IDF has a “formal, large legal apparatus that functions in real time together with the army’s military commanders to avoid even potential violations of laws of war” is complete hogwash. As proved by the video.

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            Your video proves nothing of the kind. The structures being bombed are almost certainly legitimate military targets and the fact that soldiers are impressed at the the destruction of such a target does not even remotely indicate anything improper or that their actions aren’t overseen by cautious commanders and cautious lawyers who are intent on the IDF remaining ethical and not breaching laws of war.

            Reply to Comment
    11. Danny

      To think that there was a time when Sabra & Shatila was an event that actually horrified Israelis. What is happening in Gaza today is maybe 10 times worse than Sabra & Shatila, yet a majority of Israelis couldn’t give a shit (and many are actually happy about it). More than anything, what saddens me about Israel is the total lack of empathy of the average Israeli to dead children and even babies in the Gaza strip. It is an Israel I want to have nothing to do with any more. It is an Israel that I have ceased to care about. And that’s my personal tragedy because I was born and raised in that country.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Danny this morning Hamas targeted Israel’s children striking two targets in the Eshkol region. A kindergarten took a direct hit. In the second incident a man laid over top of children who could not make it to a shelter. The missile hit nearby. The man was seriously injured while the children were saved. The children would have been killed if not for the man’s actions. Hamas does not care who they kill, as long as they are killing.

        Meanwhile Hamas places its children and civilians on the front line of its battlefront with Israel. It places its children at harm intending them to be killed as martyrs for the cause.

        So if Hamas attempts to kill Israel’s children and places their children in the direct line of fire, are Israelis supposed to feel sorry for what Hamas has done?

        Golda Meir once said about 50 years ago:

        “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

        The Arabs still hate Jews, more than they love their children. Otherwise they would lay down their arms and accept the peace which Israel has been offering.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Mikesailor

      Sometimes you wonder how the Hutus could kill the Tutsis without reflection or empathy. Or the Serbs with the Bosnians; the Turks with the Armenians; the Germans with the Jews. Now we have a new member to add to the list: the Israeli Jews with the Palestinians. Same excuses, same racism, same unquestioning belief that the “other” deserves their fate. The difference? The Rwandans stopped, the Serbs were stopped and the Germans lost WWII. The Jews? They continue on blithely blaming their victims for not acceding to the wishes of their Jewish overlords and the Jewish idea of “peace” which never contains the complemantary concept of “justice”. The killing is accepted or even applauded by the majority, no matter the age, combatant status or sex of the victims.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ray Dar

      Colonialism has no conscious as it devours all in its path to reach a goal- manifest destiny in the US and a return to Zion in Israel. We need not show statistics of Gazans mass slaughter as it means nothing to the coloniser. Solution? Kill the support of colonialism and you will vanquish its abhorrent existence.

      Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        “Colonialism has no conscious as it devours all in its path to reach a goal”

        Hamas and ISIS and other Arab/Islamic colonialist organizations exemplify this well.

        Reply to Comment
    14. Joel

      Hamas admits to the kidnap/murders.
      They planned a West Bank coup.
      They started this skirmish with rocket attacks. They’ve violated ceasefires with rockets and kidnap attempts and they won’t accept a long term true.

      If you have any sympathy for Hamas, then you really need to get your head examined.


      Reply to Comment
    15. It’s not about Hamas.It’s about a deadening of the soul that makes doing terrible things to your fellow human being possible. It’s not about everyone in Israel at all. It’s about something happening in the world. Thankfully, many Israelis like the author have not stopped caring. On the contrary.I have translated this into French for my blog. Mr Kaufman, please check it out for anything you would like me to change and let me know.

      Reply to Comment
    16. stephen

      There can be no such thing as liberal Zionism. That was always an illusion.

      If you want to take someone’s land you have to kill and die for it.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Eliza

      Are you nostalgic for the good old days when the most moral army in the world slaughtered but had the good grace to have a good weep about it along with a fiery debate?

      Whatever did you think would happen to Israeli society? For decades, the young have been kitted up in their soldier clothes and lorded it over non-Jews. Of course, Israel (or Zionism) is eating its young. Positively shovelling them down the collective Zionist throat.

      The killing or transfer of the non-Jews has always been a necessary, if unpleasant task for Zionists. 1948 has not gone away. But all this killing and occupying does wear one down somewhat.

      Just pity the children of the children who now run around the streets of Israel calling out ‘Death to Arabs’.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Josef Rose

      For years I wondered what could make the German people, one of the worlds most advanced civilizations, do what they did in the 1940’s. How could their minds be twisted to believe that the annihilation of entire ethnic groups was righteous and sane. How could they be convinced that all the land to the east was their birthright, and that the current population were simply an expendable inconvenience. Germans aren’t pathologically malevolent or more susceptible to manipulation, Nordic, Slav, Arab, Taiwanese, they’re all the same as you and me, the same fears, emotions, desires. In fact, as history has shown, its not that difficult to convince a population of all kinds of nonsense. Using patriotism, propaganda, revisionism and fear, a committed ruling class can make enough of the population believe and do almost anything. That Jews suffered at the hands of this mass manipulation is tragic, but that’s precisely why they as much as anyone should be aware of this sadistic phenomenon. That they, within a generation, are the one’s being mass manipulated is the ultimate irony.
      As the hero’s of the Warsaw ghettoes fought back against their oppressors, the Germans cursed the animals, the snakes and said “It will be all shooting from now on. Get used to it.”.

      Thank you to Ami Kaufman, proof that not everyone can be fooled.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Jews who survived the Warsaw Ghetto and the German onslaught on Stalingrad lived in a Jewish community before the 1948 war named Yad Mordechai. It was named after the Jewish leader of the Warsaw Ghetto. The Palestinian Arabs tried to destroy the community and the Egyptians completely destroyed it. In the 1948 war every Jewish community conquered was destroyed and made Judenrein.

        the survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto, Stalingrad and Yad Mordechai and their children and children will continue to defend themselves and their fellow Israelis from attacks from their enemies who seek to destroy them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tomer

          The Arabs started this war
          Now they must suffer its consequences.

          Reply to Comment
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