Roger Waters cried Wednesday. It was on his Twitter page, as he read, on camera, an essay he had read on the Mondoweiss news website the night before. It was about a boy from the Gaza Strip.
“I really wish I could rest, or have some psychologist help me like other people in the world who suffer wars,” said Mohammed. “No one during or after the war asks me or my family ‘How are you doing?’”
He’s the family breadwinner, a boy of 13. And only his crying, wrote Tareq Hajjaj, “melts the manly shield” he is forced to wear. “I do not want my mother to suffer like the mothers of the kids who were killed,” the boy sobbed.
Mohammed wished he could have grown up somewhere else, where he would only die “when his body is fully grown,” Hajjaj wrote. And this is where Waters could no longer restrain his tears and burst out crying. No decent person could remain indifferent to the sight of the musician’s tears. Waters, the great man of conscience
But for Israelis, this was a performance from a different planet. They have a thousand defense mechanisms against Waters’ tears. Let’s even assume that Waters really is an “antisemite” and “someone who hates Israel” – which he isn’t. But crying over a boy from Gaza? What about the children of Sderot?
Has any Israeli shed tears for a boy from Gaza? Are many Israelis even aware of what happened to children in Gaza during those three days of colossal success that deluged Israel in waves of pride and self-satisfaction such as we haven’t seen here in a long time? There hasn’t been a success like this since Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. Another few days of fighting and there would even be albums.
Only the death of Zili, a Border Police dog, in Nablus – which garnered a front-page headline in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, along with his funeral, the tears, the grave, the eulogies and the official statement of mourning by the prime minister – weighed a bit on the intoxicating mood of victory. It wasn’t disturbed for a second by the scenes from Gaza, because scenes from Gaza were never shown here. Never before has there been such a sterile killing operation here. The Israeli media showed nothing this time, absolutely nothing.
This was one of the most corrupting operations in Israel’s history. Instead of being priced at a steep discount, like its predecessors in Gaza, it was completely free. Not a drop of Israeli blood, not a single destroyed home and no condemnations from the world, not even lame ones. With a zero cost like this, the appetite for further operations will obviously grow. In Nablus on Tuesday, it would at least have been possible to argue about the results.
The usual arrogance was accompanied this time by the addictive feeling of a sweet, easy victory. Just bring us more wars at rock-bottom prices. After all, no one was killed and almost no homes were damaged in last weekend’s Operation Breaking Dawn.
But it’s impossible to ignore another factor that fed these feelings of victory. This time, the operation was launched by the good Israelis. They’re the ones in power now. Look at how they embarked on this war, with flying colors.
Consequently, this was the most political war Israel has ever fought. The right was united; it can never utter a word of criticism about killing Arabs. The center-left was bursting with pride – what a success, what management, what daring. The flattery for the operation’s commanders – Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who are two of “our own” – ran overtime.
Yossi Verter described how Lapid’s wardrobe changed due to this success. His “empty suit has been filled,” he wrote understatedly. And the next day he added, “Without a doubt, this is a feather in the cap” for Lapid (Haaretz, August 8). The suit that was filled (with blood) and the feather in the cap are the real spoils of this war, which ended in “a dream for Israel.” A dream of war.
Verter was soon followed by Uri Misgav, who shed all the disguises. The real victory picture from this war, he wrote, was that of Lapid briefing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Haaretz in Hebrew, August 7). It was worth going to war for this victory picture. For Misgav and his ilk, nothing could be sweeter.
Roger Waters cried. “What is wrong with the fucking Israelis? What is wrong with them?” he asked, in anger and despair. I just wish I knew how to answer him.
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Disclaimer: When Roger Waters Cried By Gideon Levy - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view