Wednesday, February 27, 2008
By Amira Hass
".....The well-publicized army preparations had a racist subtext: Look how Hamas is prepared to send children and women to absorb the bullets. In other words, Hamas is indifferent to people's lives and can also set them in motion like pawns. But even the youngsters who two days ago threw stones at the Erez checkpoint walls, thus putting themselves in danger of being shot at and hit by the IDF, and who were arrested, did not do so because someone had "sent" them. In contrast to Israel, the Palestinians do not have compulsory military service. Everyone who puts himself in danger of dying in what appears to him and his society as the national struggle against the occupation, does so not because "the state" obliges him to do so and sends him but rather because that is what he chooses to do.....
It is not only the events of Monday that prove the hysteria was premature. Day after day, the checkpoints in the heart of the occupied West Bank prove that the Palestinians are forgoing, meanwhile, the option of a popular unarmed struggle against the siege. They wait in their masses for their turn to cross over, obediently - but with controlled and growing anger. They do not remove the hundreds of roadblocks that the IDF has set up between the villages and at the exits to the roads. That is because they are not suicidal. The Palestinians do not need warnings or reports to know the Israeli soldiers shoot the unarmed as well, and they also kill women and children.
The correct question is not whether and how the Palestinians are prepared to be killed but rather to what extent we Israelis are prepared to kill. The question is, if and when the Palestinians decide to claim their right to freedom of movement and to break through checkpoints en masse, will the order be to shoot at them with guns? First at their legs and then at their heads? Women, elderly people and babies? Or perhaps with cannons? And how many soldiers will not obey the order? Two, three or hundreds? Is there a quorum for the number of people who can be killed in one go, at the road blocks, that will extricate Israeli society from its indifference and its denial? Five or six? Hundreds of dead? "