In this testosterone-rich competition, there will always be more checkmarks on the Israeli side. But Israel is clever enough to act like the threatened party and to hide its deadly performances. Who cares that the “appropriate Zionist response” to 50 mortar shells, which sowed fear but did not kill, was the killing of two 16-year-olds? Imad Faraj Allah and Qassam Abu Uteiwi, from the Nuseirat refugee camp, were the people killed by Israel’s retaliatory bombing later that evening – not “two terrorists,” as our media obediently said, parroting the commanders’ dictation.
Though they didn’t denounce those 50 mortars, Palestinians who are not Hamas supporters did give them a political interpretation. This wasn’t “the attacked party’s right to respond” (or, more accurately, the fly’s right to play Ping-Pong with the elephant ), but a clear message to young Palestinians, reinforced by the brutal suppression of their demonstrations: You aren’t in Cairo or Tunis, so stop pestering us with theories about a smart popular struggle in our emirate.
But the neighbor/occupier to the east is crazy. It’s wrong to provide it with pretexts that would enable it to once again put Gaza’s children and old people through an ordeal like Cast Lead, or even one half as bad.
So for all those who demonstrated in support of the Gazans when they were trapped under Israeli fire, all those planners of past and future flotillas, this is your moment to raise your voices and say clearly: The Qassams merely feed Israel’s madness. It is not the Qassams that will ensure the Palestinians, both in and out of Gaza, a life of dignity. It is not the Qassams that will topple the Israeli walls around the world’s largest prison camp.