Again and again
I'm stunned buy these words, 'blood on their hands', that are uttered
when referring solely and always to Palestinian combatants, never to
What combat soldier has no blood on his hands?
What combat soldier has never directly or indirectly murdered
Palestinians or Lebanese? Who has not fired a tank or rifle or cannon,
or dropped a bomb from the air?
Who has not shed blood?
And the parents of dead or living soldiers who do not want Palestinian
prisoners freed who have blood on their hands (in return for the captive
soldier Gilad Shalit) – what do they believe their sons did or do in
their military service?
What exactly is there at the tip of the shell fired from the tank, in
the bomb dropped from the air, the bullet fired from a gun – a dove of
peace? An olive tree? Candy?
The tank fires a shell that kills. And he who fired a shell or bullet or
dropped a bomb, is highly likely to have shed blood.
Because that is what being a soldier means.
They learn to shoot and practice
shooting and wait eagerly to finally be able to shoot and fulfill their
military mission to the full. And indeed they usually do, for that is
what they have been meant to do. For that is what they have been
required to do. For to be a soldier means to kill the other. Even if
this other is criminal in your eyes, or deserves to die, less of a human
than you are. Still, killing is killing.
And what if the opposite were true, and there were numerous Israeli
prisoners and a single Palestinian captive, and the issue at hand was
the freedom of Israelis captives in return for that of the Palestinian.
And Palestinian parents would be saying they cannot let their leaders
free Israeli prisoners with blood on their hands in return for the
Who would then be freed? Anyone who is not a combat soldier? Only such
as have no blood on their hands, beyond the shadow of a doubt? Whoever
was not a warrior?
For what can one do – anyone who kills has blood on his hands. That is
the way it is. Regardless of his ethnicity. Even if Israeli.
If Israeli society, especially soldiers'
parents were not to insist on the inherent supremacy of their sons
versus the Palestinians resisting their Occupation.
if those parents would dare to say outright that the soldiers -
including the captive
Gilad Shalit - are not random kidnapped victims but rather
soldiers sent forth to harm the Palestinian people, oppress it
and control it, and deny it liberty. And that this was the framework in
which Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner - a soldier manning a tank
outside besieged Gaza.
If, instead, they did not suggest to starve and kill the Gazan population and deny
it food and medication and basic utilities, and would instead say the
only possibly relevant thing: namely demand to accept Hamas' offer
without any self-righteous poses nor placing the responsibility on Hamas
only because it is the consensual thing to say – in other words, if they had struggled
over the Israeli captive and not their own images, the images of
moral superiority so rampant and malignant in oppressive Israeli society
- then soldier Gilad Shalit would already be back home with his family,
like hundreds of Palestinian victims with and without blood on their
hands, buried alive in Israeli prisons without just trial, their human
rights violated. They would be back with their parents and families so
eagerly waiting for them.
But apparently that which seems objective is not experienced as such.
For the world is manifested in language, maintained in language, created
in language. Language is what establishes and casts meaning in the blood
of words. Apparently it is not the deed that establishes its moral
appellation but rather he who does it. And whether he belongs to the
tribe or not. The other, belonging to another tribe – even if he might
be carrying out a similar deed – will be given a different moral
The other is a murderer. The similar kills or defends. The other is a
terrorist. The similar – a soldier. Not the deed is different but the
identity of the doer.
But in spite of all the folds of language and discourse, the moral
superiority, the self-righteousness, the murderousness and the treason,
the different moral vocabulary attributed to the other, still and in
spite of it all, shooting is shooting. And the other is dead because
someone shot him, whether in defense or offense, whether the dead man's
blood had to be shed or not, whether he belonged to them or to us. His
blood has been shed. And the person who fired the shot and caused his
death has blood on his hands.
Even if the shooter was Jewish and the dead man, 'only' a Palestinian.