The following article by Israeli journalist Gideon Levy was first published on hareetz.com
When will the moment come in which the mass killing of Palestinians matters anything to the right? When will the moment come in which the massacre of civilians shocks at least the left-center? If 60 people slain don’t do it, perhaps 600? Will 6,000 jolt them.
When will the moment come in which a pinch of human feeling arises, if only for a moment, toward the Palestinians? Sympathy? At what moment will someone call a halt, and suggest compassion, without being branded an eccentric or an Israel hater?
When will there be a moment in which someone admits that the slaughterer has, after all, some responsibility for the slaughter, not only the slaughtered, who are of course responsible for their own slaughter?
Sixty people killed didn’t matter to anyone – perhaps 600 would? How about 6,000? Will Israel find all the excuses and justifications then also? Will the blame be laid on the slain people and their “dispatchers” even then, and not a word of criticism, mea culpa, sorrow, pity or guilt will be heard?
On Monday, when the death count spiked alarmingly, Jerusalem celebrated the embassy and Tel Aviv rejoiced over Eurovision, it seemed that such a moment will never come again. The Israeli brain has been washed irrevocably, the heart sealed for good. The life of a Palestinian is no longer deemed to be worth anything.
If 60 stray dogs were shot to death in one day by IDF soldiers, the whole country would raise an outcry. The dog slaughterers would be put on trial, the nation of Israel would have devoted prayers to the victims, a Yizkor service would be said for the dogs slaughtered by Israel.
But on the night of the Palestinians’ slaughter, Zion rejoiced and was jubilant: We have an embassy and a Eurovision. It’s difficult to think of a more atrocious moral eclipse. Neither is it difficult to imagine the reverse scenario: 60 Israelis are killed in one day and the crowds celebrate the embassy in Ramallah and rejoice over a concert in El Bireh to cheer the winning of the Arab “A Star is Born,” while television hosts and interviewees giggle during the live broadcasts. Oh, those Palestinian animals, oh, the monsters.
On the eve of this black Monday, I found myself sitting in one of the television studios beside a giggling right-winger. Giggling isn’t the right term, he was bursting with laughter. It made him laugh so hard, the mass killing, and he found it even funnier that someone was appalled by it. Israel Hayom opened with the “Shehecheyanu” blessing in its main headline about another matter, unaware of the dark irony. Yedioth Ahronoth held a learned discussion over whether Hamas leaders should be eliminated now or not, who’s in favor of the murder and who’s against it. Imagine a discussion in a Palestinian newspaper: for and against murdering Gadi Eizenkot.
The truth is that Israel is well prepared to massacre hundreds and thousands, and to expel tens of thousands. Nothing will stop it. This is the end of conscience, the show of morality is over. The last few days’ events have proved it decisively. The tracks have been laid, the infrastructure for the horror has been cast. Dozens of years of brainwashing, demonization and dehumanization have borne fruit. The alliance between the politicians and the media to suppress reality and deny it has succeeded. Israel is set to commit horrors. Nobody will stand in its way any longer. Not from within or from without.
Apart from the usual lip service, the Trump-era world won’t lift a finger, even when Gaza becomes, heaven forbid, Rwanda. Even then our observers and analysts will recite that the IDF has accomplished its goals, that the IDF displayed restraint, that it’s the most moral and “what would you suggest doing instead?”
The chief of staff would be crowned man of the year, the moderate, good man, the opposition would tweet their applause. In the town square the “leftist” singer’s victory will be celebrated, nobody would even think of canceling the party going on, or at least set aside a moment for the dead.
We’re already there. That moment is here. Rwanda is coming to Gaza and Israel is celebrating. Two million human beings we’ve imprisoned already, and their fate matters to no one. The pictures that occasionally flicker of children without electricity and parents without water, of crippled people being shot to death and of leg amputees, all children of refugees from the 1948 disaster we landed on their heads.
What has that to do with us? It’s Hamas’ fault. Sixty individuals killed in one day, and not a shred of sorrow has been sighted in Israel. From now on, it never will be.