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Next Time | Etgar Keret

Again hundreds of rockets fired into Israeli cities, again channel twelve's irate military analyst in the studio demanding a crippling response. And again, frightened citizens explaining to the correspondent in the field that this time, we have to hit them with everything we have and put an end to it, as if we're experiencing an extraordinary event that appeared out of nowhere and took us all by surprise. Based on the reports, this is such a unique, unexpected occurrence that even our much lauded military intelligence couldn't predict and warn us about, not something we've lived through three times before in previous military operations in Gaza, and will probably live through again in another year or two.

But even if none of us really wants to understand how this nightmare began, we all know in our hearts how it will end: in response to Hamas' rocket attacks, which take a painful toll in human life, we'll bomb more buildings in Gaza to make our enemies pay an even heavier toll, we'll overhaul our faulty deterrence capability and  kill more senior Hamas officials, who will be quickly replaced by others, along with numerous "uninvolved" citizens and children. The world will be shocked by the deaths of Palestinian citizens and children and we will accuse the world of being hypocritical and judging us by a double standard, the World Court in Hague will want to investigate and we'll want it to first admit that it's anti-Semitic, and in the end, when the ritual has played out … we'll start all over again.

Shimon Riklin, right-wing journalist and media personality, has tweeted that "in a normal country, half of Gaza would already be in flames," so it's important to point out to him that in a normal country, Itamar Ben Gvir would not be elected to the Knesset, and, along with the racist organization Lehava, would not open his so-called parliamentary office, consisting of two plastic chairs, in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. In a normal country, the Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana, who likes to say that he's responsible for everything but not guilty of anything, would not insist on changing the status of the borders of East Jerusalem in order to block the steps of the Damascus Gate right in the middle of Ramadan. And in a normal country, the Israel Police would respond to riots in Jerusalem more moderately, as they have in the past, and not toss stun grenades into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the explosions echoing around the world. A normal country would fight the Hamas with all its might, but also with the clear understanding that such a fight, however brutal, cannot eradicate the tensions, friction, anarchy and sense of deprivation so prevalent in Lod, Jaffa and East Jerusalem. They would realize that the abhorrent terror rampaging in their streets has deep roots that cannot be dealt with only with force and intimidation. In a normal country, we would understand that there has to be change, and that forming a government that includes an Arab party can be a truly joint effort to solve the problem with the Israeli Arabs and for them.

But we are neither a normal country nor one that is prepared to acknowledge its mistakes. Never mind, next time we'll really bomb the hell out of them and end the story once and for all.

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