And There Lie the Bodies

[This post had been prepared & was supposed to have been posted automatically on Thursday 8 January. For some unknown reason it did not materialize. So I’m reposting it today. A post with text by Abdelwahab Meddeb which was supposed to post yesterday has also not shown up online as expected. I will repost it as soon as I have recreated it. My apologies.]

Here, the opening paragraphs of an article published on 4 January by Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist for Haa’retz and — as the French daily Le Monde called him — “a thorn in Israel’s side.” You can read the full article here.

The legend, lest it be a true story, tells of how the late mathematician, Professor Haim Hanani, asked his students at the Technion to draw up a plan for constructing a pipe to transport blood from Haifa to Eilat. The obedient students did as they were told. Using logarithmic rulers, they sketched the design for a sophisticated pipeline. They meticulously planned its route, taking into account the landscape’s topography, the possibility of corrosion, the pipe’s diameter and the flow calibration. When they presented their final product, the professor rendered his judgment: You failed. None of you asked why we need such a pipe, whose blood will fill it, and why it is flowing in the first place. Regardless of whether this story is legend or true, Israel is now failing its own blood pipeline test.

As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, as a Chechnyan laborer working in Sderot proposed to me, one can assume that there would be no protest.

They liquidated Nizar Ghayan? Nobody counts the 20 women and children who lost their lives in the same attack. There was a massacre of dozens of officers during their graduation ceremony from the police academy? Acceptable. Five little sisters? Allowed. Palestinians are dying in hospitals that lack medical equipment? Peanuts. Whatever happened to the not-so-good old days of Salah Shahadeh? When we liquidated him in July 2002, we also killed 15 women and children. At least back then, moral qualms were raised for a moment.

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