Israelis’ Hillside Viewing & Cheering of Gazan Bombing
Harriet Sherwood in “Israelis Gather on Hillsides to Watch and Cheer as Military Drops Bombs on Gaza” writes:
As the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather each evening on hilltops close to the Gaza border to cheer, whoop and whistle as bombs rain down on people in a hellish warzone a few miles away.
Old sofas, garden chairs, battered car seats and upturned crates provide seating for the spectators. On one hilltop, a swing has been attached to the branches of a pine tree, allowing its occupant to sway gently in the breeze. Some bring bottles of beer or soft drinks and snacks.
On Saturday, a group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke.
Despite reports that millions of Israelis are living in terror of Hamas rockets, they don't deter these hilltop war watchers whose proximity to Gaza puts them within range of the most rudimentary missiles. Some bring their children.
An atmosphere of anticipatory excitement grows as dusk falls, in the expectation that Hamas militants will increase rocket fire after breaking their Ramadan fast, and the Israeli military will respond with force.
The thud of shellfire, flash of an explosion and pall of smoke are greeted with exclamations of approval. "What a beauty," says one appreciative spectator.
Sherwood interviewed one viewing 19-year old woman and her “off-duty soldier” boyfriend who had an assault rifle hanging from his shoulder. It was their fourth visit to witness the bombing. They’d brought a backpack with bottled water and crisps.
The young woman confessed she wasn’t at all worried about the Palestinian civilians. Her boyfriend expressed both concern for any innocents caught in the crossfire, but also regret that he wasn’t in Gaza himself, helping his fellow soldiers and “his country.”
Apparently such dramatic views of the bombing also are drawing media crews. Sherwood reported that on a nearby hilltop, at one point, trouble arose when a group of Israeli men began threatening a photographer they suspected was a “leftist”.
Back in January 5, 2009, Arthur Silber in “The Slaughter of the Diseased Animals“ wrote this about a similar bombing campaign against Gaza that ultimately claimed 1,400 lives, Operation Cast Lead:
... the devastation visited on Gaza, remind me of an especially harrowing sequence from a fine film, Hud. The story concerns a cattle rancher and his family. It is discovered that some of the cattle have contracted hoof and mouth disease. To prevent the spread of the disease, and because he can think of no other means to control it, the head of the family decides that all the cattle must be destroyed.
A large pit is dug, deep enough to prevent the cattle from getting out. The cattle are driven into the pit, with all means of escape closed off. The men stand around the edges of the pit, and they lift their rifles. They begin to shoot -- and they shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and shoot.
Finally, after endless, terrifying minutes, all the cattle are dead.
Cattle, the inhabitants of Gaza ... what's the difference? They're all animals and subhumans, diseased or possibly diseased, incapable of being saved, beyond redemption. Kill them all.
And the world watches -- and the world does nothing.
[cross-posted on open salon]