It is terrifying to think that next time it might be you. You’ll open the door and a military officer will be standing there with a death notification. This time it will be you who has to figure out how to live with the loss. How to get out of bed into a world where the person who was supposed to be with you is no longer there, realizing you will never argue again or share private jokes. We all suppress this fear, perhaps because we cannot otherwise go on. But we all know – that there are those among us who pay the price of wars, military operations and terrorist attacks. Any name can be drawn up in this terrible lottery including yours and those closest to you. And we also understand that when a bereaved parent says that s/he has “paid the price” only a few fully understand what s/he means.
This week two bereaved fathers broke into a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Operation Protective Edge. Two out of thirty-two bereaved families have called on Netanyahu to establish an investigative commission about the Operation. Grief does not automatically make a person right. But, I think, that it requires of us, as a society, at least to listen and try to do better.
It is insane that Prime Minister Netanyahu can call Operation Protective Edge (July-August 2014) a success. It is amazing that Netanyahu thinks he can feed the public a lie so crude and so easy to refute.
A few facts:
- In Operation Pillar of Defense (November 2012) 6 Israelis and 223 Palestinians were killed. In Operation Protective Edge 72 Israelis and over 2,200 Palestinians were killed. Even by the standards of the Netanyahu government Israel paid a price twelve times higher in Protective Edge than in the previous horrible operation. This is what he calls success.
- In Protective Edge Hamas rockets reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. People from the south to the center sat in shelters. Israel’s south was shelled regularly, and Netanyahu’s government could offer neither adequate protection nor the evacuation of residents. This is what he calls success.
- Only after the fighting began the government instructed soldiers on how to identify and destroy tunnels. The soldiers had not been trained to fight in similar tunnels, and were forced to improvise. During the Operation we learned bombing tunnel shafts from the air impeded soldiers’ ability to locate the route of the tunnel. If that’s not enough, the ground forces lacked the equipment needed to demolish the tunnels. This is what he calls success.
Netanyahu is preparing for State Comptroller’s report of Operation Protective Edge. From what we know, the report reveals a frightening list of failures. Instead of correcting his mistakes, Netanyahu is defensive. People paid with their lives for these mistakes, and people might soon pay again if we don’t face it straight on.
More bereaved families join the club as one operation follows another. We can no longer sit and hope that someone else and not you will pay the price in the next war. We do not have this privilege.
Translation: Maya Haber