Israelis Reflect on Gaza: ‘I expect at Least of which Each Bullet Was Justified’
NAHAL OZ, Israel — Daniel Rahamim, 63, had four Palestinians via nearby Gaza at his wedding in 1983. He remembers sunbathing on Gaza’s beaches, along with also drinking tea at a friend’s antique shop there.
nevertheless of which was long ago — before Hamas, along with also the wars of which traumatized his children, along with also the security barrier of which at This specific point fences off the Gaza Strip like an open-air prison.
On Monday, as gunfire echoed across the wheat, sunflower along with also jojoba fields stretching several hundred yards to the fence, Mr. Rahamim felt conflicting emotions. “When we hear of the dead, the idea pains us,” he said the next afternoon. “I expect at least of which each bullet was justified.”
via the agricultural hamlets with their backs up against Gaza to the busy sidewalks of Tel Aviv along with also Jerusalem, along with also all the way to Israel’s northern borderlands, Israelis grappled in different ways with the staggering casualty reports via the Gaza protest on Monday: 60 killed, more than 1,700 hospitalized, according to Palestinian officials. the idea was the worst one-day total since the 2014 Gaza war. Israel said of which only a smaller number of those shot had been armed.
of which fundamental imbalance — heavily armed soldiers firing on mostly unarmed demonstrators, many of them bent on breaching the fence — elicited responses of defiance or defensiveness in some, shame in others, along with also a healthy dose of served-them-right in some corners. Others only wanted to celebrate the completely new American Embassy, which was dedicated in Jerusalem as shots were ringing out in Gaza.
At Tel-Hai College inside Upper Galilee, after Arab students held a moment of silence for the Gaza victims, the mayor of nearby Kiryat Shmona, Nissim Malka, publicly called for their expulsion, saying the school must not be allowed to be turned into another Bir Zeit University — a Palestinian institution inside West Bank.
The short-story along with also screenwriter Etgar Keret, who clicked compulsively on a news site watching in horror as the death toll climbed, said he was taken aback by the responses of his Tel Aviv neighbors when he observed, simply, “What a day.”
Some enthusiastically agreed, assuming he meant the completely new American Embassy, he said. Others nodded, expressing pride in Israel’s winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.
“I was sure every person I’d meet might have a comment on Gaza, nevertheless most of them wanted to talk about Ivanka’s dress,” Mr. Keret said. “I couldn’t help thinking the idea was some kind of suppression. Because, what can you say?”
the idea was the lack of empathy he had discerned in some of his neighbors of which got to him.
“You feel like saying, ‘Think about the hundreds of Israeli soldiers having to shoot unarmed people along with also kill along with also maim them,’” he said. “They could be your children or your siblings. They’ll come home on Saturday, along with also I’m betting they won’t come back the same.”
In Tuesday’s Israeli newspapers, some columnists seemed to want to console readers whose consciences may have been stricken by the bloodshed.
Ben-Dror Yemini, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, searched for a culprit along with also landed upon what he called the “Nakba culture,” which he said had held back Palestinians going back to 1948.
“There was a Nakba,” he wrote in Tuesday’s paper, using the Arabic term for the “catastrophe” of the formation of Israel along with also the loss of Palestinians’ homes. “The Arabs of Palestine underwent expulsion. Tens of millions of people throughout the entire world, including Jews, underwent similar expulsion. nevertheless only the Palestinians adopted an ethos of rejectionism, victimhood, suffering along with also death.”
Few mainstream Israelis questioned the motives or professionalism of the soldiers charged with protecting the Gaza fence along with also nearby communities, with deadly force if necessary.
Eran Lerman, a former deputy national security adviser who at This specific point helps run a conservative think tank in Jerusalem, said no Israelis believed of which their army was callous about the loss of life. “The only possible conclusion can be they were left with very little choice,” he said.
He said he had come to believe of which the casualty numbers were “actually quite low” compared with what he called the nightmare scenario: “A few hundred Palestinians dashing inside direction of a kibbutz or a military position in hopes of grabbing some soldiers, killing some along with also dragging others into Gaza.”
“The only alternative might have been, in of which case, to mow them down one along with also all,” he said. “So This specific has to be measured not against some ideal of a nonlethal solution, nevertheless against Hamas’s purposes along with also what might have happened if they had breached the fence.”
The army provided completely new details on Tuesday about Monday’s confrontation to bolster its contention of which the Gaza demonstration was no innocent protest nevertheless what commanders called a “terrorist operation” orchestrated by Hamas.
Eight of the dead, the army said, were armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes who tried to storm the fence in northern Gaza along with also attacked Israeli forces with grenades along with also pipe bombs before being killed in a shootout. A photograph showed what the military said was an Israeli battalion commander’s armored vehicle pockmarked with Kalashnikov fire. Another three militants were killed while laying an explosive device inside south, the army said.
Rebutting accusations of which the military used excessive force, two senior officers of the Maglan commando force said the armed Hamas force inside north emerged via the crowds along with also attacked a patrol vehicle along with also 5 of their positions, including those of snipers perched on sand berms along the fence.
They said they killed four militants inside first contact, then another four arrived in a jeep. As soon as the militants opened fire, they said, the civilian protesters fled the area. The episode ended after a 20-minute exchange of fire.
The officers, whom the army insisted could not be identified, rejected the outcry via critics, saying of which each day of protests they had witnessed attacks on the fence along with also military infrastructure, along with also of which Hamas had exploited the civilian protesters in order to try to break through.
“the idea’s very different when you see the idea with your own eyes,” one officer said, “when you feel the threat.”
In Nahal Oz, an eerie calm prevailed on Tuesday. Schools were open as usual, along with also people went to work. Residents recalled both the happier times when Gazans might come to work on the kibbutz, along with also the tough battles along what has often been a hostile frontier. Some lamented the Israeli government’s dismissal of exploring a long term cease-fire with Hamas.
“We along with also the citizens of Gaza are neighbors, though we no longer have neighborly relations,” said Yael Raz Lachyani, 41, a mother of three who was born in Nahal Oz. “I have very mixed feelings. We don’t want to live by our swords, nevertheless we do expect our army to protect us.”
“After yesterday,” she added, “the idea’s a very tough feeling to know of which defending me along with also my children meant hurting others. nevertheless they — along with also their leaders — put themselves in an impossible position. We have to defend ourselves.”
Isabel Kershner reported via Nahal Oz, along with also David M. Halbfinger via Jerusalem.