Sunday, July 06, 2014
Israeli soldiers do not neglect to fight a proportionate battle with the enemy; still less do they forget their humanity in combat.
The proof of this isn't the video of the teenager Tareq Abu Khdeir, the cousin of the murdered Mohammed Abu Khdeir, being beaten by IDF soldiers. It will be the military judicial process which exonerates the assailants. It will be the tearful cries of the soldiers on their day in court, "we told you we were innocent!"
It will be the daily reminders in the Israeli meme-flow that "hating Arabs is not racism, it is values!" It will be the exhortations from Israel's apologists to remember, always remember, that life is cheap to these Arabs, that they kill their own. It will be the uncomprehending rage at the world's double standards: no other country in the world would put up with what we have to! Whatever we do, we are attacked by the Arab-lovers. It will be the 'retaliation' narrative, endlessly affirmed: the people demand revenge. It will be the invocations of the shade of Golda Meir: we will never forgive them for making us kill their children. This is a myth of national innocence, eternal inculpability.
There are limits to this. Netanyahu has already felt compelled to denounce the murder of Mohammed, burned alive, as 'despicable': a risky move on his part, since he does not yet know whether IDF soldiers had any role in the killing. One assumes it was 'settlers', but practical alliances between the troops and the colonists are not uncommon in the occupied territories - a form of parapolitics that often arises in situations of racial and national oppression, because there are things which states need to do which they cannot do in their own name.
The trouble with Mohammed is that nothing can be done to show that he brought his horrible death upon himself. Had he been a thirteen year old girl with a backpack in a 'secure zone', no problem. Had he been part of a group of boys throwing stones at occupying soldiers, no further questions. But a teen abducted, taken to the woods and burned to death? The crime cannot be externalised onto the victim in this case.
Here, Israeli immaculacy is established by other means. The hasbara-mill shows us how. We have been told that Mohammed was killed by his own family for being gay. It was an 'honour killing'. Because that's how they do: they kill their own. This vicious gossip was apparently instigated by Israeli cops, disseminated through the nation's media, and subsequently became a social media obsession.
And if this myth will not hold, then at least it will be proven that in general the Palestinians are responsible. They who refuse to make peace; they who fire rockets; they who have accepted no token of Israeli generosity in good faith; they who have punished every Israeli good deed, who rewarded the Gaza withdrawal by voting for Hamas; the barbarians, the brutes. Kill them all. Slaughter them. Send them to the gas chambers.
We are innocent.