On repetition – Roger Cohen in NYT:
‘“Each side begs for the status of five-star victim,” said Mohammad Darawshe, the director of strategy at the Givat Haviva Center for Shared Society in Jerusalem, which promotes Jewish-Arab dialogue. “If you are stuck in victimhood, you see everyone else as victimizing and dehumanizing.”’
‘The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence, is the Nakba, or catastrophe, to Palestinians. Nakba vies with Holocaust as each side invokes “genocide.”
The relentless weaponization of history goes all the way back to biblical times and the divergent fates of the estranged sons of Abraham — Isaac, the patriarch of the Israelites, and Ishmael, a prophet of Islam.
“On Oct. 7, Hamas trampled on every sensitive nerve in the Israeli psyche,” said Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States. “Hatred, fear and anxiety are now at their most extreme. But in the end there are two peoples coveting the same land, and two sides to the story you have to try to see.”’
‘Almost forgotten are the Palestine Liberation Organization’s recognition in 1993 of Israel’s right to exist in peace, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s determination to pursue that peace, a decision that cost him his life in 1995 at the hands of an extreme right-wing Israeli assassin who said he acted “on the orders of God.”
These were the ephemeral glimmerings of shared humanity, soon quashed.
In the intervening decades, Hamas and the ultranationalist religious Israeli right have each extended their influence. The conflict now involves fundamentalist religious ideologies, distinct in critical regards but equally convinced that all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River has been deeded to them by God.’
‘Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, told me in an interview that year: “Israel will be eliminated because it is a foreign body.” Referring to Israeli Jews, he said, “Why should they come from Ethiopia, or Poland or America? There are six million in Palestine. OK, take them. America is very wide. You can make a new district for Jews.” The delusional fantasy that the enemy can be made to vanish has since grown. “On the Palestinian side, the ideal solution has become that Israel disappear,” Professor Shany said. “On the Israeli side, there is a desire for Gaza to go away, even if that means bombing it away. Of course, that is not a solution.”’
‘The Palestinian hatred Moshe Dayan perceived and vowed to resist by being “prepared and armed, strong and determined,” grows still, fed by Israeli oppression, fencing-off and control, as well as chronic Palestinian misgovernment. Palestinians in Gaza, whose dead number more than 12,000 according to the health ministry in Gaza, fear annihilation.
These fears are met by the “Never Again” of a Jewish people that knows the meaning of genocide in the form of the Holocaust and sought through the foundation of its own state to put an end to millennial persecution.
The defeat on Oct. 7 was a shattering blow to this aspiration. This war in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’s ruthless application of its charter, is existential in that sense for an Israel that suddenly feels smaller and more vulnerable.
“If we cannot get beyond the walls, share this land, and come to value life over death, we are all doomed,” Ms. Daoud said. “Every three years or so, we will be sending kids of 18 and 19 to their deaths.”’
Read the article here.
This is true, and a problem in many regions in the world, albeit nowhere so deadly as in Palestine and Israel, almost everybody there wants to be a five-star victim, indeed.
There seems to be no end to the cycle of sending young men to their death every four or five years.
Some predicted that a great catastrophe is needed to end this bloody cycle, I believe I did so in my novel Occupied Territories, but I’m afraid that all the massacres are not yet the catastrophe that will end this cycle.
The longing to be the first and foremost victim is too big, too urgent.