Monday, March 20, 2006

The Cycle Continues.

We've all heard the "vicious cycle" cliche when it comes to the Middle East. The Palestinians do something stupid and violent, such as, say, blow up a bus, and the Israelis retaliate, by, say, killing some Hamas leaders (or some bystanders, whatever). Double-points if the settlers take it upon themselves to kill some of those super-threatening olive trees. Gotcha, you bastards! We all knew it was only a matter of time until Islamic Jihad would start recruiting Olea europaea to do its dirty work. It's a little thing called pre-emptive strike, people, you know, ticking trees bombs?

What was I talking about? Oh yeah.

Sometimes the cycle model manifests itself in other ways. Case in point:

Kooky leftwing nutjob Uri Avnery, former reformed Irgun fighter, Knesset member and muckraking journalist, personal pal (sort of) of Arafat, and generally something of an irascible old coot called the recent IDF operation in Jericho a "disgusting exercise", and mentions equivalency between killing Ze'evi and killing Yassin.

And what's the response? Stuff like this from our favorite "ex-"Kahanist:
In response to comments by Avnery calling the 2001 assassination of cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi a Palestinian "targeted killing" - a term generally reserved for IDF strikes on terror leaders - Marzel said the IDF needs to target Avnery.
That's really mature, Baruch. Way to like, have a rational conversation.

Now, you might disagree with what Avnery said, but his op-ed wasn't without its points. For instance, noting (as other media commentators did) how close to an election this happened, and how it seems fairly transparent as a gimmick to win votes. Indeed, several analyses I read following the Jericho developments seemed to agree with this interpretation: one phrased it like, "Olmert did Amona for the Left, and Jericho for the Right"- and the responses by Peretz and Bibi in the aftermath of these actions seem to back it up.

Similarly, Avnery's point that stripping the prisoners and photographing them before arresting them was dehumanizing also seems right on point. You can argue that it doesn't matter- they're terrorists; they're murderers, they're Arabs, whatever. But the official explanation that it was part of a "security" check clearly seems to be a bunch of BS.

Yes, Avnery's piece makes moral equivalency, and it humanizes Ze'evi's murderers. I also have some issues with how much you can blame Israel for not living up to an agreement to respect Palestinian sovreignity of prisons when Israel was responding to the prison releasing convicted terrorists.

But, in his favor, when he's talking about how killing Ze'evi is like killing Yassin, he's being up-front about it. He isn't, for instance, arbitrarily picking and choosing when violence and brutality is ok and when it's not. He says what he thinks, plain as can be: "I oppose all murders."

Then again, maybe it isn't that surprising that Marzel's response was what it was. "You hate murders? HULK SMASH!"

No comments: