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What will wake Israelis from their collective coma?

Our collective moral compass has become so fundamentally twisted that even the most decent of people, those who are not considered extremists, believe that there is nothing wrong with shooting a man as he lies dying on the ground.

A Magen David Adom ambulance attempts to navigate around the body of a Palestinian man who shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in the occupied city of Hebron. The man, who reportedly took part in stabbing another soldier, had already been shot and incapacitated. March 24, 2016. (Screenshot/B’Tselem)

A Magen David Adom ambulance attempts to navigate around the body of a Palestinian man who shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in the occupied city of Hebron. The man, who reportedly took part in stabbing another soldier, had already been shot and incapacitated. March 24, 2016. (Screenshot/B’Tselem)

One of the more dangerous and frustrating aspects of the fascism taking over the Jewish-Israeli public, led by its elected officials, is the way it is fed by every single thing that happens here. Nearly every piece of news pushes this process forward — even events that should serve as a warning sign.

Take, for example, Netanyahu’s comments on the Mufti. On paper, it seemed like a crazy slip of the tongue by a leader who can no longer tell between reality and imagination and is willing to twist one of the darkest chapters in his people’s history for political gain. But Netanyahu knew exactly what he was doing: in the Israeli reality, comparing Palestinians to Nazis (and putting the blame for the Holocaust on the Palestinians rather than the Nazis) works. Netanyahu knows that once the noise dies down, he will have convinced a good portion of the population that the Palestinians were the ones responsible for the Holocaust — that they were the ones who incited Hitler to massacre the Jews. He knows that in the current climate, of all the dirt thrown at the Palestinians — no matter how baseless — something is bound to stick. The public could rise up against the lies, but instead it internalizes it.

A similar thing happens every time the public deals with another horrifying piece of news from the occupied territories. The effect is almost always the opposite: instead of being shocked, the public gives its stamp of approval — sometimes even an official one. The public was not horrified when it found out the extent of the killing of Palestinian civilians who were uninvolved in the last Gaza war. Instead, it led to a change in the IDF’s “ethical code” as formulated by Israeli philosopher and linguist Asa Kasher. Rather than shaking us to our core, we have come to accept that our soldiers’ lives come before the lives of Palestinian civilians — a notion that goes against international humanitarian law, not to mention most basic morality.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

This is exactly what is taking place in the wake of the video of the execution of a Palestinian man in Hebron. The number of people who are willing to justify the murder without batting an eyelash is stunning. Our collective moral compass has become so fundamentally twisted that even the most decent of people, those who are not considered extremists, believe that there is nothing wrong with shooting a man as he lies dying on the ground, while finding any way to excuse the act — including claiming claim that the Palestinian may have been armed with a suicide belt.

The violent reality of occupation creates a consciousness that justifies that very violence. Every single day. That is the horrible meaning underlying our reality: even exposing the inhumane face of military rule does not cause the Israeli public to wake up from our coma — it only causes us to come up with more ways to justify it.

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

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    COMMENTS

    1. Natalyia

      Also in Israel are daily children born who are like angels,
      but unfortunately the education makes good or bad people of them,
      maybe the israelis should work on their education and enlightenment in order to secure the next generations to come and wake the existing society from this brutal coma

      Reply to Comment
      • This absurd, twisted logic where the people under attack are being blamed for the way they treat their attackers! Anybody should understand that a people constantly under a barrage of terror and delegitimization is forced to put up psychological barriers in order to cope. This article is a based on a deluded mentality that thinks if the Israelis sublimate all the hatred that is directed against them and the non-acceptance of their very existence in the region that the Palestinians will change their behaviour. This is sheer nonsense.

        Reply to Comment
      • Natalyia’s remarks totally ignore the incitement that breeds the terrorists who inflict these attacks that damage the psyche of Israeli society. When it comes to an education system that instils hatred that perpetuates the conflict one doesn’t need to look any further than the hate soaked propaganda that is the hallmark of Arab societies.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          “a people constantly under a barrage of terror and delegitimization…all the hatred that is directed against them..,hatred…Arabs…”

          It never ceases to amaze me the lack of insight or the pretended lack of insight Israelis display. You’d think they were running a charity in the West Bank instead of an utterly ruthless, terrorizing, brutal occupation and creeping annexation. Just amazing the narcissism.

          Reply to Comment
        • Natalyia

          David; it will not help to go through live as ignorant and blind to the truth,
          you forgot to mention, for nearly 50 years who occupied whom and who has the weapons.(which don’t justify aggression of any side).

          When the paramedic loudly says that the dog lying on the ground is still alive instead of helping and then comes the shot, (is this a legal Democratic System which allows the execution on the street`?) it may be easily considered as ethical difference,
          that is crystal clear what has happened here, this was a shot with the intention to kill and distraction will not help.
          Moreover,sorry David, but I knows very well the education and enlightenment system in Israel.

          Reply to Comment
        • carmen

          You are perfectly capable of handling the whataboutery all by yourself. Natalyia’s comments were excellent and full of compassion for all.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      If you read Shir Hever’s “The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation” you’ll see that the Israeli government has been intentionally dismantling the Palestinian economy – partly so it won’t be competitive with Israeli businesses – for almost half a century. Combined with the home demolitions, administrative detentions and lack of freedom of movement, Israel has been trying to destroy Palestinian society for a long time.

      Reply to Comment