Yitzhak Laor: We are all victims of terrorist logic

By Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz – 23 Aug 2011
www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/we-are-all-victims-of-terrorist-logic-1.380157

So this is how the occupation develops into war, which the commentators, in their righteousness, call a war “that neither side wants.” Really? Do Military Intelligence and Shin Bet not know that Hamas will fire rockets if the air force kills people in the Gaza Strip? Of course they know.

Yitzhak Laor

Yitzhak Laor

There’s no doubt that the terrorist too has logic, and this logic is also technological. If he can outsmart the opposing power, why would he forgo the opportunity to sneak through a heat wave in the desert to approach a car with vacationing couples and kill? How can he not exploit his tactical advantage?

There are an abundance of moral justifications: occupiers should be eliminated; occupiers are not civilians (they are all soldiers ). And revenge, of course. And there are strategic justifications, too, that we can only guess at – September, the nature of the solution, etc. That’s the part of the picture that’s easy to digest.

The occupying side has its own terrorist logic: If it can use its technological knowledge to prove to the other side that “we’re stronger” and that we know how to kill, why pass up the opportunity? There are numerous moral justifications: There are no civilians (they are all terrorists ), this is our country, there is no occupation in Gaza, our dead are still lying before us. At night we are shown the bodies; the next night, the funerals. And revenge, of course.

Surely there is also a strategy: deterrent power (which is always good, even if we have no clue what it is ), toppling Hamas, September, the defense budget, to score points with the West, scuttling the Palestinian struggle for independence, and even blurring the blunder of Bloody Thursday – the inability to translate warnings from the Shin Bet security service into real readiness.

So this is how the occupation develops into war, which the commentators, in their righteousness, call a war “that neither side wants.” Really? Do Military Intelligence and Shin Bet not know that Hamas will fire rockets if the air force kills people in the Gaza Strip? Of course they know. But the terrorist logic includes, “What, we shouldn’t respond?”

What every intelligent person knows – when you’re confronted with a bully who takes your parking space, you keep your distance rather than be drawn into a fight – the terrorist doesn’t know. He’ll show the world who has the bigger Rottweiler. He’ll show everyone who’s tougher. He’ll have the last word. Only death is mute.

And so ends August, which was meant to mark a great change in Israeli awareness. The commercial channels are allowed to return, after the funerals, to their stupid entertainment programs. Television builds a “private life,” and in one’s private life, “life goes on” and nothing is holy other than that which entertainment dispenses. Only the Israeli collective – that which perceives itself as the Israeli collective – stands silently to attention when the terrorist logic sings its song.

And thus, the young leaders of the social protest, who have not yet been through any war, also don’t know how the Israeli left died in war – the left that Shelly Yachimovich calls “social” and calls for it to move forward, in its shrouds, from the place it was buried, as if we’ve learned nothing from history. When the collective becomes addicted to “unity,” it dies from friendly fire. For a social struggle, unity is opium, despite all the lovely sentiments.

When the tent protest began, MK Zahava Gal-On expressed the fear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would come up with a reason to call the residents of the tent camps to reserve duty. But she should have also been concerned about how to respond to an authentic alarm: What can be done in the cage of terrorist thinking? How does one continue being a collective opposition to a government whose “national prestige” is determined by Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon?

How does one overcome Tzipi Livni as an “opposition” that wants another war? How does one overcome the orchestra of the live broadcasts that fan the flames of the “fitting response?” Will the next terror cycle again be avoided solely because of the fear of a crisis with Egypt?

Here’s more proof that it’s impossible to remain silent about war en route to social justice.

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