Posted by: Lister | March 20, 2008

Kill a turk and rest

I’m not sure I get this post by Uri Avnery:

I WAS reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar’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?”

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.

[…] This is also expressed in the inability to understand why the Hamas people claimed victory in the five-Day War. What victory? After all, only two Israeli soldiers and one Israeli civilian were killed, as against 120 Palestinian dead, both fighters and civilians.

But this battle was fought between one of the strongest armies in the world, equipped with the most modern arms on earth, and a few thousand irregulars with primitive arms. If the battle ended in a draw – and such a battle always ends in a draw – this is a great victory for the weak side. In Lebanon War II and in the Gaza war.

[…] The real effect of such an operation is not expressed in material and quantitative facts: so-and-so many dead, so-and-so many injured, so-and-so much destroyed. It is expressed in psychological results that cannot be measured, and therefore are inaccessible to the minds of generals: how much hatred has been added to the seething pool, how many new potential suicide bombers were produced, how many people vowed revenge and became ticking bombs – like the Jerusalem youngster, who woke up one bright morning this week, got himself a weapon, went to the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the mother of all settlements, and killed as many as he could.

Avnery goes on to talk about how Dahlan and Abbas have been weakened by association with the US and Israel. Haniyeh is now more popular than Abbas:

The survey by the West Bank-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that if new presidential elections were held, Haniyeh would receive 47 percent of the vote compared with 46 percent for President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah faction.

[…] But the survey also found that Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned in Israel and seen as a possible Abbas successor, would defeat Haniyeh by a clear margin. The poll gave him 57 percent of the vote, compared to Haniyeh’s 38 percent.

The center’s previous poll, in December, gave Gaza-based Haniyeh just 37 percent of a potential presidential vote compared with 56 percent for Abbas, whose peace efforts with Israel are opposed by Hamas.

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