Mr Yair and MK Lapid

מאת נביא שקר

Let's do one in English.

Because Yair Lapid did one too. Finance minster and member of the inner security cabinet Lapid, that is.

I'm referring to Lapid's recent op-ed piece in The Telegraph, where he blamed Hamas for the dead Palestinian children resulting from operation Vigilant Armor. I mean Defensive Thrust. I mean Protective Edge.

I don't want to argue with Yair Lapid 2014. Instead, I'll let Yair Lapid 2006 do that, using a piece he wrote after the killing of the Ghalia family in the  then-version of the conflict with Gaza.

To make identification easier, let's call the characters Mr Yair (2006) and MK Lapid (2014).

Mr Yair: I am ashamed. Deeply, painfully humiliated, ashamed of us and what we have done, where we have ended up. I’ve been ashamed in my life but not like after what happened at the beach in Gaza, in front of the small bodies… I am ashamed because we have become child killers.

MK Lapid: One can understand them for taking the side of the injured party, and let’s be absolutely clear – to us, the death of any child, Israeli or Palestinian, is a tragedy. On the other hand, that does not release us from answering the question of who is truly to blame for this tragedy?

Mr Yair: So what if they started it and yes it was an errant rocket shell and yes it’s impossible to live with the fact that they are always trying to kill us. It’s all true but if you kill enough children, enough times, that is what you become: a child killer.

MK Lapid: The power of these images is the reason that Hamas intentionally builds its missile factories and bunkers underneath civilian homes, stores its ammunition in schools and kindergartens (including United Nations schools), launches its rockets surrounded by civilian families, despite knowing beyond any doubt that it will lead to innocent casualties. Hamas rests its conscience – if it even has one – by announcing that the dead children are “Shahids” who will make it to heaven

Mr Yair: Target whoever you must assassinate, shoot whomever you must shoot, but we will not tolerate a deal in which children have to die.

MK Lapid: The absurd result is that Israel does much more to protect Palestinian children than Hamas and yet many Europeans and many Britons accuse us of being responsible for their deaths.

Mr Yair: How many times can we say it was an accident? Twice? Three times? 20? How many times will it take until we admit that this is what we have become: People who open fire on places where there are children.

MK Lapid: I know it sounds crazy, impossible to understand, but I have no way of helping you with that. I have spent my entire life in the Middle East and I still cannot understand how people can sacrifice their children.

Mr Yair:  I’ve been telling myself for a number of years already that that is the difference: They dance on their roofs every time they killed our children. We apologize when their children are killed…Maybe that turns us into better people than the Jihad Islamic operatives but since when do they determine our standards of good and bad?

MK Lapid: But Hamas forbade civilians to leave their homes, put them on rocket factory rooftops, forced the children – its own children – to remain in areas that would clearly become harsh door-to-door combat zones.

Mr Yair: Every spokesman’s statement of apology makes it sound like there was no other choice, that we have to kill children sometimes otherwise our hands are tied and we have no right to complain about terror attacks. It never occurred to me that we could have refused, that this would be unacceptable and non-negotiable.

MK Lapid: We also have the option of doing nothing. Some British circles expect that of us. They ask us to accept rocket fire from the skies and terrorist tunnels dug beneath our communities. We will not do that.

Mr Yair: Of course the Qassam attacks on Sderot and the western Negev have to stop – this is imperative – but the killing of children has to stop as well. Yes, we have to do both things, or at least rethink the argument that it is impossible to carry out one without the other.

MK Lapid: Given a choice between sympathetic news coverage and the lives of our children, I choose life.

Mr Yair: I am not ashamed in front of…the Americans or the self proclaimed pious groups of pseudo intellectual British do-gooders who boycotted us last week. It’s much deeper than that. I am ashamed of myself because of what I wanted to be, because of what I once was.