'Ha-Mechabel' by Gilad Atzmon
August 05, 2005
Yesterday, Eden Natan Zada, a young Jewish Israeli man wearing an IDF uniform opened fire on passengers on a bus in a Druze neighbourhood of the Israeli Arab town of Shfaram, killing four people and wounding twelve.
Astonishingly enough, for the first time the Israeli public is labelling a Judeo terrorist ‘mechabel,' a title reserved solely to Arab freedom fighters. I suggest that we stop for a second and ask ourselves what really stands behind the Hebraic collective revolutionary lingual shift.
Is there really any categorical difference between Eden Natan Zada, a 19 year old, newly religious settler and an Israeli Air Force F-16 pilot who drops bombs on Palestinian cities? Isn’t an IAF pilot, the salt of the Israeli earth, a secular Jew raised in Tel Aviv or even in a kibbutz, a mechabel? As far as I am concerned, at least ethically, they are very much the same. They are all engaged in the murder of innocent Palestinians.
For instance, is there any difference between Natan Zada and Dan Halutz, the newly appointed Israeli Chief of Staff? For those who managed to forget, It was Dan Halutz who ordered the dropping of a one-ton bomb on an apartment in a residential area in Gaza on July 22, 2002 to extra-judicially kill a leading Palestinian activist Salah Shehadeh, but also killed 15 innocent bystanders, among them women and 9 children. When Halutz was asked how it feels to throw a bomb over an urban territory he was quoted as saying: it feels like “a slight tremor in the wing of the airplane.”
Ethically speaking, there is no difference between Natan Zada and Halutz. Halutz, the ex commander of the IAF is no doubt a mechabel. But somehow, the Israeli people fail to see it. They regard him as a patriotic hero. Seemingly, Natan Zada internalised Halutz’s ideology. Lacking an American airplane, he decided to act independently. He took his IDF gun into a bus full with Arab people. But then one may ask why has the entire Israeli society denounced him collectively? Why Sharon, himself an established bloodthirsty war criminal, condemned the kill using the strongest possible language? What is so unique about Natan Zada?
Evidently, people with fascist tendencies are happy to leave murderous practices in the hands of the state. For them, as long as it is the state who is killing on their behalf, they are left morally intact. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, is in practice, a state appointed murderer. For the Israelis, Halutz is entitled to kill, Natan Zada isn’t.
There is one more crucial difference between Halutz and Natan Zada. The later was a newly religious Jew. He was a settler. He had a settlers’ skullcap on his head. And for those who fail to realise, the Secular Israelis hate religious Jews almost as much as they hate Arabs. The reason is very simple. Because Jewish secularity is an empty quality in itself to identify with, the secular Jew is engaged in a process of negative dialectic. He basically hates everything that fails to be him. This would include Arabs, Religious Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Settlers, Germans, Gentiles, basically everything. The Secular Israeli hates just in order to define himself.
But it goes even deeper. Secular Israelis like to differentiate between Palestinians in the occupied territories and Palestinians who happen to possess Israeli citizenship. While the first group is regarded and treated by Israelis as sub-humans and a demographic danger, the second is comprised of people who are at best second-class citizens. Clearly, within Israeli society, Halutz gets away with killing just because he kills the ‘bad’ Palestinians, those who demographically endanger the Jewish state. Natan Zada, on the other hand, is regarded as a mechabel just because he killed ‘Israeli Arabs.' Natan Zada failed to realise that the Israelis prefer to keep the ‘Israeli Arabs’ for later. For the time being the ‘Israeli Arabs’, are there to provide the Jewish colony with some cheap labour force as well as genuine high octane humus. For the time being ‘Israeli Arab’ are allowed to live.
Clearly, the Israelis don’t like Arabs; they don’t distinguish between those who live in Gaza, Shfaram or Riyadh. All one needs is to quote an Israeli popular saying: ‘a good Arab is a dead Arab’. The Israelis want Sharon to disengage from Gaza as soon as possible not because they search for a true peaceful solution but rather because they want another quiet twenty years in their doomed demographic pipeline. They simply want to delay the end. The majority of the Israeli Jews support the pullout not because they aim for peace, it is rather the opposite, they just hate to live with others. The Israeli Jews want to live in an Americanised segregated Jewish state. The idea of a non-Jewish majority on their newly formed national state horrifies them. For the Israelis it is clear that the ‘Israeli Arabs’ will be dealt at a later stage.
Natan Zada and his comrades do not agree with the general Israeli outlook. Seemingly, they understand the Zionist agenda slightly better than most Israelis. For them an Arab is an Arab, a gentile is a gentile and mostly important a Jew is a Jew.. They want the Jewish state solely for the Jewish people. Full stop. Natan Zada and his friends want to jeopardise Sharon’s pullout, they prefer to hang on to Gaza and to cleanse it of Palestinians. Natan Zada wanted an all out war. The Natan Zadas want to redeem the land now. Halutz, on the other hand, is a military general. He prefers not to fight in all fronts simultaneously. He believes that the kill must be scheduled. First Gaza, then Jenin and only then Shfaram and Jaffa. He has an American airplane, he can take his time, at least that’s what he believes in.
Natan Zada reminds the Israelis what their next battle to come is going to look like. Natan Zada is the nightmare of the Israeli secular identity. Unlike most Israelis, Natan Zada is coherent and consistent. His message is clear. He managed to internalise the Zionist dream. He is fighting for a purified Jewish society. In fact, Natan Zada is ahead of Halutz and most Israelis. While Halutz engages himself in a step by step ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, Natan Zada extends the battle to the entire biblical Israel.
The devastating murder yesterday is a wake up call for the Palestinian people and for all of us who support the Palestinian cause. We shouldn’t let ourselves be overwhelmed by the general mode of Israeli condemnation and righteous hypocrisy. Zionism is all about establishing a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Zionism is all about establishing a racially purified Jewish state. There are no different faces to Zionism but rather different political and pragmatic practices. Natan Zada and Dan Halutz are both murderers. They both are motivated by hatred of everything that fails to be Jewish, they just apply different strategies. It was just a question of time before Palestinians within Israeli territory would become the subject of Israeli state terrorism. We must bring Zionism down now.