Gilad Atzmon: 'Ha-Mechabel'
by Gilad Atzmon
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
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
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.
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