Thursday, January 8, 2009
Gaza Killings--A Spectator Sport for Israelis
Many Israelis are bringing their lawn chairs and binoculars to watch death and destruction rain upon Gazans, according to a report in Wall Street Journal.
The report mentions Moti Danino, one of dozens of Israelis who have arrived from all over Israel, some with sack lunches and portable radios tuned to the latest reports of the battle raging in front of them. Some, like Mr. Danino, are here to egg on friends and family members in the fight in Gaza.
The Jewish spectators share hilltop space with many camera-toting Israeli and foreign journalists, who have so far been banned by the Israeli military from entering Gaza to report on the conflict, according to the Journal.
Here's an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal story about a joyful Israeli spectator named Jocelyn Znaty:
Jocelyn Znaty, a stout 60-year-old nurse for Magen David Adom, the Israeli counterpart of the Red Cross, can hardly contain her glee at the site of exploding mortars below in Gaza."Look at that," she shouts, clapping her hands as four artillery rounds pound the territory in quick succession. "Bravo! Bravo!" She acknowledges an uncomfortable, self-conscious awareness that she is cheering on a deadly war. Israeli planes, ships and artillery have blasted the small, sealed-off territory for more than a week, killing more than 680 Palestinians and injuring about 3,000. Ten Israelis have been killed, including three civilians, according to U.N. officials.
Here's another excerpt from a similar story in McClatchy newspapers:
A tower of white smoke rose from the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun after another Israeli bombardment Monday morning, and a half-dozen Israelis, perched on a dusty hilltop, gazed at the scene like armchair military strategists.
Avi Pilchick took a long swig of Pepsi and propped a foot on the plastic patio chair he had carried up the hillside to watch the fighting. "They are doing good," Pilchick, 20, said of Israeli forces battling Palestinian militants in Gaza, "but they can do more."
This is a really macabre situation where one community is enjoying watching the Israeli state-sponsored spectacle of murder and mayhem of their neighbors, including innocent Palestinian women and children. In Israel today, there are echoes of Christian persecution in Rome that became a spectator sport for the ordinary Romans. Can this overt display of such deep hatred by neighbors lead to peace between Israelis and Palestinians?
I just hope that the ghoulish behavior of the Israelis featured in the newspaper stories is not representative of the feelings of the majority of Israeli citizens.