Sunday, July 30, 2006

Qana: A Tragedy Worse than a Mistake

I mourn and condemn Israel's slaughter of innocent men, women and children this morning at Qana. It is tragic in itself, part of an ongoing tragedy and an uncanny reminder of a wretched past. In 1996, Kfar Qana sufferred an IDF attack aimed at Hizbullah that killed about 100 civilians, and galvanized international pressure against Israel’s 1996 Grapes of Wrath operation.

For Israel, this bombing is worse than a mistake; it is a blunder. I would like to believe it was a deliberate act by IDF command to prevent a cease-fire that involved the ceding of Shaba Farms and hence could be interpreted by some as victory for Hizbullah. More likely, its timing and location result from operational stupidity that approaches autism -- the reduction of everyone else to objects. More generally, these reflect the callousness among Israel's leaders toward the suffering of Arabs, a callousness that is nourrished by Israeli Jews' own sense of victimization and self-righteousness. In any case, Israel's political leadership must hold the Chief of Staff Dan Halutz accountable and fire him immediately. Defense Minister Amir Peretz should also resign. He has clearly been in over his head since the beginning of the conflict.


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