Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Time to Kill, A Time to Heal

A great story in The Washington Post:
If Nasima ever met an Israeli pilot, "I would faint and die from fear."

Yuval patted Ahmad on the head. The surgery would be soon. Later, Nasima called Yuval "our savior of the children."

Yuval is a savior of children. He is also an attack helicopter pilot. It was Yuval in his Cobra -- though Nasima didn't know it -- hovering over her town, as Israeli troops battled armed Palestinians. By day, Yuval works as a pediatrician. By night, he fires missiles for the air force.

In theory, there is no moral contradiction here: in both jobs, Yuval is saving lives. Applying theory to practice is the agonizing part. That he has to kill Arabs to save Jews is an unfortunate result of "the situation":
It was sad for Yuval, but he often thought that the Gaza children had "a 90 percent chance of becoming terrorists. But mainly it's not their fault, it's 'the situation's' fault. And I'm not treating 'the situation.' I'm treating the child."

Without troops in Gaza, and without the willingness to kill wantonly or apply economic screws as collective punishment, there is little Israel can do to rescue Palestinian Arabs from the role assigned to them by their families and foreign supporters who wish to use them as cannon fodder to kill Jews. It's an unjust fate, but resolving it isn't a matter for Israel anymore. Or so the Israelis think.

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