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Gaza response shows Israel hasn’t learned from the past

The Israeli government’s handling of the demonstrations on the Gaza border this week by using live fire against the protesters illustrates the continued blindness of its decision-makers.

Israel basked in a series of seeming triumphs this past week. It began with performer Netta Barzilai winning the Eurovision Song Contest on May 12, continued with the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem two days later and ended with the army repelling tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters who stormed the Gaza border fence, all without incurring Israeli casualties. The killing of dozens of Arabs and wounding of thousands of others did not prevent masses of jubilant Israelis from gathering on Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to celebrate their singer's victory. After all, are we Israelis to blame that Hamas sent its people to kill Israelis? Israel Defense Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis' message that Hamas was the one “killing Gaza” gets across, and how. Some 83% of Jewish Israelis support the IDF’s live fire policy on the Gaza border.

So what if South Africa recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv, and Belgium lodged a protest with the Israeli ambassador in Brussels? Who cares that Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador? As long as the frenetic American president supports us and we have a bunch of loopy evangelists on our side, Israelis do not mind the Europeans paying lip service to the Palestinians. A year from now, they will all be sending their contestants to the Eurovision contest in Jerusalem, “our unified capital,” anyway.

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