Soldiers Have to Shoot at Palestinians. It’s Israel’s Way to Keep Them in Check

The soldiers have no choice but to shoot. They have no choice but to hit demonstrators, stone throwers and paramedics who volunteer during confrontations, to kill and wound those who brandish knives. Surprise that the soldiers fire even at youths who are handcuffed and blindfolded belongs to a different era.

It belongs to the 1970s or ‘80s, when we still thought that military domination over a population of noncitizens was an accident, a temporary deviation that would soon be corrected. When we hadn’t yet recognized that the soldiers’ role is to protect the spoils of war rather than our existence. When there weren’t yet cameras everywhere to shatter our naivete.

If the Palestinians don’t receive a clear message every day that they’re risking their own lives when they resist our rule, tomorrow they will march by the thousands and tens of thousands, empty-handed or armed with spades and stones, toward the Israeli settlements, outposts, checkpoints and military bases in the heart of a civilian population.

They will march and declare: We want our land back. We want water. We want to be able to travel. We want industry. We also want to plan, build and be built. Imagine tens of thousands marching to the settlements in Jerusalem, imagine the demonstrations of October 2000 multiplied by 100, imagine hundreds of flotillas and marches of return. Then our soldiers and policemen will have to shoot to kill and wound dozens, hundreds, thousands in a single day.

The measured but resolute shooting now keeps all this in check. It’s designed to teach the majority to keep quiet, to be afraid, to seclude themselves in their enclaves for fear that the army will engage in mass killing tomorrow. Not only in Gaza but in the West Bank. And in Israel in Sakhnin and on the coast at Acre as well.

Guys, we’ve come a long way, we’re living in different times. There’s no fake news here. On the contrary, the fake news — that Israel wants peace — belonged to the ‘70s and ‘90s.

Today we speak the truth: The soldiers are in the West Bank to protect the settlement project. In East Jerusalem, which was occupied and annexed, the policemen and employees of private security firms are deployed to enable the settlers to embitter the lives of more Palestinians so that they’ll evacuate their homes for more settlements, which will embitter the lives of more Palestinians so that they’ll abandon or sell their homes and flee.

The settlement project is the essence. It’s Israel’s raison d’etre. It’s what is preparing the ground for minor and major expulsions.