Israel’s addiction to military force, its only response in times of crisis.

People have short memories. It’s an all-too-human quality that frankly allows politics to continue. But even so, there are times when Israelis’ short-term memory loss can leave me breathless.

When three yeshiva students were kidnapped two weeks ago, the collective response was immediate, and visceral: Bring the boys home, and spare no effort, no matter how costly or violent. The nation’s security forces leapt into action, and Israelis’ prayers were mixed with palpable rage. Few worried that dozens and then hundreds of people – Palestinians -were being swept up in a massive and indiscriminate dragnet; few paused to consider the efficacy or ethics of raiding well more than a thousand targets, including private homesuniversities, and media outlets; few questioned the wisdom of using live fire against those who dared protest it all, killing (among others) a 15-year old boy and a mentally unstable man on his way to morning prayers. Military spokesman Peter Lerner told us, and few questioned it, that the government and military “are committed to resolving the kidnapping and debilitating Hamas terrorist capacities, its infrastructure and its recruiting institutions.”

And perhaps – perhaps – if these methods had successfully resolved past abductions, if the forces intent on grabbing Israelis had abated, perhaps we could at least understand the impetus, struggle as we might with the unending horror of this unending war. But the simple fact is that all of these methods, all of them, have been used time and again, and all have failed spectacularly.

To continue reading, please click through to Haaretz.


  1. Gary

     /  June 29, 2014

    The link to the Haaretz story does not work. I Googled the story to find the correct link but you have to have a subscription to access it (I do):

  2. Neocortex

     /  July 1, 2014

    I was on a health & human rights delegation to Palestine (the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and a few mixed and Palestinian-Israeli towns and cities within Israel) from 6/13-6/27. The crackdown followed us around. The IDF raided homes and arrested 10-ish people in Balata Refugee Camp one night while we were sleeping in the guesthouse, including a guy who as only targeted because he was the brother of someone they were looking for (and he told us that they beat him). We were driving past the Hebron area one evening and we saw the IDF raiding someone’s home and the tear gas smell wafted into our van (we also toured the Hebron area, which was interesting and tense). The Aida Refugee Camp was tear gassed while we were touring it, and had the IDF at people’s doors at night. Every day we would look at the news to find out if anybody else was dead and whether it was reasonably safe to go to the places that we were supposed to go. We sat in traffic jams at the checkpoints caused by all the people with Hebron IDs being turned back, and we saw the police station in Ramallah that had been vandalized after the IDF shot a young man at a protest and the Palestinian Authority did nothing about it.

    Reading how the media is covering the situation makes me so angry, especially all these sources referring to the crackdown as a crackdown on Hamas rather than a crackdown on the entire West Bank population.

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