…when Israel’s far-left party, home to its most peace-advocating, dovish, universalist, end-the-occupation elites, its most consistent voice for military restraint — when, yes, Meretz issues an urgent call for the Israeli army to fight back, for goodness’ sake, against Hamas, after weeks and weeks of a one-sided cease-fire, during which hundreds of mortars and missiles launched from Gaza terrorized Israeli civilian life in the south. After two days of massive bombardment unanswered by the IDF, after all the TV commentators have described it as nothing short of a state of war, Meretz has spoken. “The time has come,” the party declared, ”to act without compromise and without narrow political considerations to protect the residents of Gaza-area communities and Sderot.”
Where have Israel’s leaders been? Saber-rattling. Dawdling. Opening and closing the doors to humanitarian aid. Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, did the same thing when, as prime minister in 2000 and 2001, he displayed infinite hesitation against the horrors of the second intifada. It took an election to bring a semblance of normalcy back to Israeli life.
What more do Israel’s leaders need? A call from the Dalai Lama?