“As the Hamas terror group threatened to launch 5,000 flaming kites and balloons at Israel on Friday, Israeli children at the Gaza border countered with an airborne message of peace,” the Times of Israel reported on Friday.
At Kibbutz Nir Am, which has suffered a number of fires sparked by burning kites flown from Gaza, children and residents launched balloons carrying candy towards the Palestinian enclave.
Adults and children are seen releasing soft-colored helium balloons attached to candy. On the one hand – a demonstration of tolerance, as it were. But how tolerant is it really, to send off candy to those whom you simultaneously force to drink the sea at the Gaza concentration camp?
Israeli children at Kibbutz Nir-Am are flying balloons with candies to #Gaza. We want peace, but the media will never show you this. #Hamas.
Israeli fields in the vicinity of Gaza have been targeted by incendiary kites and balloons during the recent months. As Norman Finkelstein writes, “Israel appraised damage from the fires at around $1.4 million, or less than the average price of two homes in Brooklyn, New York (where I reside).” Such suffering is apparently incomparably greater than that of Gazans. Our fields VS their lives. Therefore, we have to officially return to targeted assassinations (as if the massacres of about 130 unarmed protesters in the recent months were not just that). Aye, Public Security (and Hasbara) minister Gilad Erdan has recently suggested that Israel apply “targeted assassinations” of those who fly incendiary kites:
“The fact that Hamas is enabling the shooting and the sending of the kites means we must return to targeted assassinations, and the kite launchers and Hamas commanders should be targeted for killing.”
And so according to this plan, this morning the Israeli army bombed the car of an “incendiary kite and balloon cell leader” in Gaza. The army said in a short statement:
“Our forces launched an airstrike against the vehicle of one the leaders of a cell relating to incendiary and explosive kites and balloons. The attack was carried out in response to the ongoing launching of incendiary and explosive kites and balloons into Israel.”
The Palestinian Shehab news agency reported that the airstrike had hit an empty vehicle outside a mosque in Shejaiya, a suburb of Gaza City, early Sunday morning – no casualties reported.
The campaign of lifting candy-balloons is a kind of Hasbara campaign, which is both aimed to make Israeli adults and children feel good about themselves, as well as send the self-righteous message of “we want peace” to the world. Because it’s actually a dual message – ‘we want peace, they want war’, ‘we want love, they want hate’, ‘we throw candy at them, they throw fire at us’, as it were.
Friday’s candy-balloon campaign had a continuance yesterday, with replanting of groves which got burned. “They burn and we plant,” the campaign network said.
Such a campaign is tricky precisely because of the ideological sugar-coating. When you criticize it, like I do, you are liable to be seen as a cynical child-hater who doesn’t support peace. But such sugar-coating campaigns are known historically to be cover-ups for the most cynical genocidal campaigns. The quote attributed to Marie Antoinette of “let them eat cake” (if they don’t have bread) is an epitome of such callousness. Here it’s ‘let them eat candy’ (if they don’t have water).
Few Israelis have shown understanding for the logic behind Gazan kites and also projectiles – the cases of such understanding include both young and old. In a broadcast concerning damage on the Israeli side from a couple of weeks ago (Mako, Hebrew), some children at Kibbutz Nirim (only a few kilometers south of the mentioned Nir Am), were asked “why do you think they do it?” in reference to projectiles shot over the fence. Nine-year old Neri said:
“They shoot rockets only because we abuse them… because they were in Israel and we expelled them, and we also killed some of them.”
Not bad. Little Neri seemed to understand the logic. That’s something.
Then there is the 78-year-old playwriter Yehoshua Sobol. He was asked by an interviewer (Maariv, Hebrew): “Do you identify with the those who fly incendiary kites?” Sobol answered:
“I tried to imagine myself as a kid in the Gaza strip, when my neighbors are wounded and killed. My relatives are returned home as handicapped or as perforated bodies, and I asked myself: ‘What would I do as a kid?’ And I answered: ‘I would fly an incendiary kite.’ I remember myself as a kid in the 1940’s in the Sharon (central coast area, Palestine). We flew kites. Not incendiary kites, because we were not in despair.”
So some Israelis are getting it. But they are few. And it can’t help to sugar coat this with candy, while Israel ups its murderous strategies with openly declared targeted assassinations. Gazans don’t need more candy. They need water. They need a life. And if you keep killing them for protesting the denial of their basic human rights, then no amount of candy in the world will help.