“In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show:
‘We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard’…
Spokesmen don’t speak for themselves. Almoz was expressing a frustration that was building in the army command for nearly a month, since the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva boys. The crime set off a chain of events in which Israel gradually lost control of the situation, finally ending up on the brink of a war that nobody wanted…
The frustration had numerous causes. Once the boys’ disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock.
Only on July 1, after the boys’ bodies were found, did the truth come out: THE GOVERNMENT HAD KNOWN ALMOST FROM THE BEGINNING THAT THE BOYS WERE DEAD. IT MAINTAINED THE FICTION THAT IT HOPED TO FIND THEM ALIVE AS A PRETEXT TO DISMANTLE HAMAS’ WEST BANK OPERATIONS.
Nor was that the only fib. It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus. Hamas’ Hebron branch, more a crime family than a clandestine organization, had a history of acting without the leaders’ knowledge, sometimes against their interests. Yet Netanyahu repeatedly insisted Hamas was responsible for the crime and would pay for it.”The fact that Goldberg, who is the editor of The Forward, is as overtly critical of Israel as he is here is deeply instructive.
He is, intellectually, very much the Jewish chauvinist and is as aggressively Zionist as it comes. For him to condemn the genesis of the latest butchery is such forthright terms is highly unusual.
Hopefully, such unvarnished commentary will herald a more discerning evaluation of Israel’s conduct by the U.S. media in the future.