To Israel: stop trying to be nice

Some Israelis still don’t understand what they are facing.

In an effort to show the ordinary Gazans that the war was not aimed against them, Israel on Sunday opened a regional medical clinic for the people of Gaza in the huge new passenger terminal at the Erez border crossing.

By Monday afternoon only three patients had shown up for treatment, according to medical officials there, none of them casualties of the war.

There have been efforts to try to make the place cheerful, with colorful plastic jungle gyms for children. But when a group of children passed through on Monday, all cancer patients on their way to a hospital in East Jerusalem, the parents accompanying them had stony expressions on their faces, and the jungle gyms and a table of Israeli candies and snacks were left untouched. — NY Times

There is no way that Israel can be ‘nice’ to the Palestinians and defuse their hatred. With the Gaza war apparently over, the situation in the real world is strategically almost the same as before, although Hamas has lost some (replaceable) weapons and personnel.

But psychologically, thanks to the continuous barrage of atrocity propaganda, ten times worse on Arab media than in the West (which was bad enough), Israel’s image as desiring peace — if indeed anything was left of it — has suffered yet another blow.

Even if CNN could sneak a camera crew through the checkpoints, it’s hard to imagine they would produce anything like what’s on Al-Jazeera – an all-day, ever-shifting drama that throws war in your face with all its gruesome cruelty. It is openly partisan, almost never showing Israeli deaths or injuries. It is also provocative and upsetting in a way that looks nothing like news in the West. Their broadcasts routinely feature mutilated corpses being pulled from the scene of an explosion, or hospital interviews with maimed children, who bemoan the loss of their siblings or their parents – often killed in front of their eyes. Al-Jazeera splices archival footage into the live shots, weaving interviews and expertly produced montages into a devastating narrative you can follow from the comfort of your own home. — Eric Calderwood

Keep in mind that the IDF fought with a concern to reduce what is euphemistically called ‘collateral damage’ that was unprecedented in modern warfare, and, given the nature of the enemy, was relatively successful at doing so.  Hamas’ cynical use of the population as human shields should have been the real atrocity story.

But also keep in mind that in the information-psychological war, truth doesn’t matter. Perception and belief is everything.

So another huge helping of hatred was added to the already enormous heap that has been growing since — oh, maybe for 100 years at least.

There is no way to change this. Trying just makes you look weak and guilty.

In light of the above, here are some suggestions for Israelis in their relation to Palestinians:

  • Stop saying that you want peace with them. What you want is for them to leave you alone, and if they don’t, they’ll be sorry. Respect is superior to affection, and more achievable.
  • Stop providing ‘humanitarian’ aid. Help is perceived as weakness. The Arab world and the EU can help Palestinians, since they are responsible for encouraging the behavior that gives rise to their ‘plight’.

And above all,

  • Stop feeling guilty. Most of what you are accused of you didn’t do, much is exaggerated, some is necessary and a very small part is caused by the frustration and anger (sound familiar?) of a nation that has been under attack for its entire existence.

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One Response to “To Israel: stop trying to be nice”

  1. ME says:

    Israel has involuntarily been subjected to a microscope.

    Reacting to judgments and critiques from Nations or Entities without the unique experience and purpose of Israel, is really not in Israel’s best interests.

    This article raises an excellent point. I do feel however, and I hope that most would agree, that Israel’s constant proactive efforts to show unity with Palestinian people, and subsequent and constant refusals, will highlight the type of brainwashed psyche of Israel’s neighbors.