I have seriously upset some of my friends with my previous post.
The way they reacted to it, which was to send emails to my private address rather than to our Blog, partly explains why they were so offended: They felt that it was wrong of me to wash Israel’s dirty linen in public.
They felt that as a former Israeli I should have acted more discreetly: perhaps by sending “eyes only” letters to influential people, or discuss my thoughts in private with friends and let them deal with the matter in a more diplomatic way.
But, frankly, I am in no mood to act in such a way.
Israel, I know, and this is the lesson of history, only moves under open pressure, and matters are urgent enough at the moment for people like me to join-in and do whatever we can to save Israel from herself, and also save those who, as I write, are watching television, or visiting a shopping mall in Gaza or elsewhere in the Middle East, not knowing that they are going to die, unless we take action to save them.
Do not misunderstand me: saying that Israel only moves under pressure is not an open invitation to attack her physically, although it is safe to say that such a physical pressure did provide good results in the past, benefiting Israel, the entire Middle East and the world. The Arab attack on Israel in October 1973, for instance, was a critical event, pushing Israel to return the occupied Sinai and sign a peace deal with Egypt in 1979; the successful Palestinian first intifada played a major role in convincing Israelis to recognise the PLO and later sign the Oslo Agreements; successful Hezbollah guerrilla tactics forced Israeli troops out of Lebanon after 18 years of occupation; and the second intifada played a major role in convincing Ariel Sharon to pull out of Gaza in 2005.
Back to the present situation, I strongly believe that only open pressure on Israel could ensure that she investigates – for her own sake – the serious allegations made against her in the Goldstone report, where she is accused of “committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity”, during her three-week war in Gaza in January 2009. Such pressure – by the US, Europe, by the UN and by ordinary people like me and you – will also achieve another aim (and the following refers to my previous statement about those not knowing they are going to die, unless we take action to save them), which is forcing Israel to rethink her military tactics and be more cautious in using force and fire in heavily populated areas, notably in the Gaza Strip, if and when she operates there again.
There was, to be sure, another matter in my previous post that bothered some of my friends, namely the paragraph where I said that, “I think it is a good thing that some Serbs, Africans, Arabs and – yes Israelis too – who have been involved in conflicts, have their balls (excuse my French) shaking a bit, before landing in such places as Britain, Spain, Belgium, out of fear that upon emerging from their aeroplanes they might be shown the connection flight to The Hague”.
Now I know that some of you guys, out there, will immediately think that the criticism emerges from my reference to private parts. But no. What actually upset my friends was that I mentioned, in the same breath, Israelis and … Serbs! It was, apparently, alright to refer to Arabs and Africans, but Serbs? With their reputation of being war criminals?
The truth, however, is that Israelis and Serbs are similar in so many ways; not only in their worldview (where among other things they both believe that, “the world is always against us”), but also in the tough tactics (I would refrain here from using the words “cruel tactics”) used by their armed forces against their enemies, and the dogged insistence of both Israeli and Serb leaders that their armies are “the most moral in the world”.