Nothing to investigate: Everyone knows what was wrong about the flotilla attack

June 3, 2010
Richard Kuper

Nothing to investigate: Everyone knows what was wrong about the flotilla attack

Israel today is captive to a false sense of victimhood, which goes together with a sense of false omnipotence.

Merav Michaeli, 3 June 2010

Once again we are hearing demands that Israel investigate what happened. Not an investigation to check how right or how humane we were in the Gaza flotilla raid, but one intended to discover how and where we went wrong.

Don’t investigate, friends. There is nothing to investigate. The probe will reveal the same things as the ones after the Second Lebanon War, the October 2000 riots, Sabra and Chatila, and even after the Yom Kippur War. It will uncover complacence, arrogance, poor performance, lack of thought, lack of expertise and non-implementation of the lessons of the previous investigation.

The findings become more and more serious between one probe and the next, but the recommendations for fixing the flaws are implemented less and less. Investigations themselves have become just one more ceremony, another of the obsessive rituals Israel has been conducting for years.

Israel is in thrall to a destructive, vicious cycle, like that of a drug addict or a violent man, which repeats itself (with some variations ) at every turn. Each time the cycle becomes shorter, and a suicidal ending seems inevitable at the moment.

It happens like this: Israel uses immense force to attack an immeasurably smaller and weaker entity, which it perceives as nothing less than a dangerous enemy threatening its existence. By attacking, Israel inflicts huge damage to many people, among them the innocent or the presumed innocent, and causes itself enormous damage because the world is furious at it.

Israel once again feels threatened and defends itself by further entrenchment – physical, military and diplomatic. All proposals for change are seen as a threat, and Israel does its best to reject them.

The Jewish people in Zion has in the past been the victim of horrific violence. Israel today is captive to a false sense of victimhood, which goes together with both a sense of false omnipotence and guilt-cum-aggressiveness.

Israel’s belief that it is threatened is so deep-seated that it sees military action against six civilian ships protesting the siege on Gaza as a “clear act of self-defense,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet. Its sense of victimhood runs so deep that it releases film footage showing its most elite soldiers being helplessly beaten, apparently failing to understand the extent to which that impairs its deterrent power.

Israel’s entrenchment is so deep-seated that it has announced it will certainly not lift the blockade on Gaza. Its blindness means that there is sure to be another round.

The Gaza flotilla imbroglio is far from being the most violent action Israel has carried out in 42 years of occupation, and might not even be the stupidest. In many ways, it is very similar to what Israel has been doing every week for the past four years in Bil’in – injuring and killing unarmed civilian protesters who are demanding their basic rights. The storming of the Gaza flotilla is shocking because it makes even more clear what no investigation will reveal: how incredibly blind Israel is, and how deeply this perceptual distortion is embedded in Israel’s politics and leadership.

There is nothing to investigate. This is the situation; everyone knowns it. We just have to decide whether to go on like this, or take a deep breath and choose a different path.

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