After the Merkaz Ha-Rav massacre, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed outrage that some Palestinians in Gaza were celebrating the event. Of course, one of the dehumanizing effects of protracted conflict is the loss of human solidarity with the "enemy" -- on all sides. Avnery, who is old enough to remember when Jews were known for their ironic self knowledge, recalls this joke about a protective Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Tsar's army against the Turks:
"Don't exert yourself too much," she admonishes him, "Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…"
"But mother," he exclaims, "What if the Turk kills me?"
"Kill you?" she cries out, "Why? What have you done to him?"
Read the rest.
This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert's statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.
Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not "kill a Turk and rest". That was "kill a hundred Turks and rest". But Olmert does not understand.
THE FIVE-DAY WAR in Gaza (as a Hamas leader called it) was but another short chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This bloody monster is never satisfied, its appetite just grows with the eating.