I was filled with an uncomfortable feeling in the face of the Itamar massacre. Everyone is in shock. I feel horrible pain. But I am not shocked.
Shock is the result of surprise – and I am not surprised by what happened. I honestly don’t understand why others are surprised. We didn’t read what they did to the bodies of the 35 Gush Etzion martyrs? We didn’t live through years of suicide bombings? Just recently, Israel released the terrorist Samir Kuntar, who smashed the skull of four-year-old Einat Haran on the Nahariya beach years ago. What is the difference between this murderer and the murderer of Hadas Fogel? What has changed? This is how many Arabs act. There is nothing to be surprised about.
The shock most severely affected those people who, with all their might, insisted on deceiving themselves. They convinced themselves that we are in a peace process, that all the Arabs want are political rights, sovereignty, self-definition and the like. They wanted so badly to be normal. On the way, they fashioned an enemy for themselves who demanded what they wanted him to demand. Now they are shocked. For a moment they had to face the truth: This enemy is not normal, and his goal is not what their Western minds are trying to force into reality. Logical goals like self-definition and other palatable concepts are not part of the true picture.
The slaughter of a sleeping baby is unacceptable as a tool in the struggle for any type of liberation. It comes from a dark place, from a place that simply wants to destroy you. It is behavior with which we are quite familiar – behavior that says to the shocked Israeli, “What are you talking about? I do not want you out of Shechem and Ramallah. I have them, anyway. All the money that you invest there will not make me like you. I simply want you out of this world. Go back to the Ukrainians, the Polish, the Austrians and the Germans. Let them take care of you. I did not slaughter the baby because she is an occupier on my sovereign soil. I slaughtered her because she is a Jew.”
The source of the shock is the understanding that there is nobody with whom to make peace – because they do not want to. The Arabs simply cannot stand the fact that we live anywhere in the world – certainly that we live in the Land of Israel.
In the past, the leftist elite managed to deal with the shock engendered by terror attacks. Their quintessentially demagogic and confusing slogan, “We will not let the enemies of peace achieve their goal” (and so we will continue with the retreats euphemistically known as the peace process) worked quite well with the public. But now it seems that something is starting to change. The massacre in Itamar shocked Israeli society more than similar attacks in the past because it no longer has anywhere to hide from the conclusions. The Oslo spin no longer works.
The Itamar massacre was perpetrated on the backdrop of the collapse of the regimes in Arab lands. Hosni Mubarak’s ouster revealed the fragility of our peace agreement with Egypt. It brought to the surface the fact that the dictators sold us the illusion of peace in the lowest dosage possible to keep us ignoring how their countrymen really felt about Israel. That is what made the Itamar massacre so shocking, brought all of our top statesmen to the funeral, and created the new perspective in the reporting of the tragedy and the live coverage on Army Radio.
“And so, since yesterday, I sit here in the corner, frustrated and frightened, internalizing that it is possible that in the end we will not have the peace that we dreamed of,” wrote Guy Maroz in Maariv after the massacre.
He even gives a tongue in cheek clue as to the only hope that he can think of: “Since yesterday, I want to hide under the wide Messianic dress of [settler leader Daniella Weiss].”
We are at the threshold of a new reality. On one hand, we are still firmly meshed onto the Western, Oslo playing field. We do not attack, but only retaliate. We are completely subordinate to the Western values that always force us to try to prove that we are the most miserable victims on the block. We are still very far from the ability to substantially change direction. On the other hand, though, the entire playing field is crumbling away.
We do not expect to win a political victory that will allow us to change the rules of the game in Israel. On the contrary, the game itself is about to change. The only relevant players in the new game will be those of us who have toiled throughout the years for a genuinely Jewish state.