One Israeli who hasn't lost his mind (or sense of humor)

February 8, 2010

In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Assaf Gefen wonders whether Israel does hide something in respect to Gaza War

Assaf Gefen
Published: 02.08.10, 00:06 / Israel Opinion

A year after it ended, Operation Cast Lead in Gaza looks like the Jim Morrison of wars – a short operation whose effect and myth keep growing after its death.

Months after it was published, the Goldstone Report still holds the top spot in the best seller list of Israel’s headaches. It’s clear to everyone that it won’t be going anywhere without the help of a commission of inquiry, but today we have no energy left for it. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.

The establishment of commissions of inquiry is a traditional Israeli hobby, yet not when it has to do with festivals that involve the killing of many Arabs. The Israeli objection to establishing a commission of inquiry into Operation Cast Lead – as if we have a shortage of former judges and elderly generals who have nothing to do with their lives – comes with several explanations, all of which start with “we have nothing to hide, but…”

The options are varied: Why the hell should they meddle in our affairs? Why the hell should they be telling us how to conduct ourselves in the next war? Why should you be interrogating our soldiers? Why haven’t you interrogated American soldiers in Iraq?

Then there are other options, such as: Why are you anti-Semitic? Why do you want this inquiry today, when I just got tickets to see Avatar? How dare you take away our incredible victory via a committee?

All of the above are weighty justifications, which can certainly serve to explain the Israeli aversion for a commission of inquiry. However, in light of the defense establishment’s oh-so-vigorous resistance to an external examination – even though we have nothing to hide – we must not reject out of hand the seemingly radical and baseless possibility that we may have something to hide after all.

Perhaps, in addition to the United Nations’ anti-Semitic tendencies, Judge Goldstone’s self-hatred, and the Palestinian attraction to white phosphorous, a small part of what the Goldstone Report says may be related to things we really did do during the Gaza war.

Only last week, for example, after months of denials and concealment efforts, the IDF admitted that it made use of white prosperous bombs in the war, and even revealed the fact that two officers were punished for it (by being deprived of their weekend vacation or something like that). Yet besides that, we’ve done nothing wrong; until further notice at least.