And here we go again to another round of killing, without pomp and fanfare, but with a herd of proud corpse counters (“the balance is still positive, there’re more dead on their side,” the commentators assure us). Israeli TV tells us not to watch the horrific images on Al-Jazeera. You should not look at the outcome, the wounded, the parents and the children; Jews must not share the Arabs’ feelings, you should not think of the suffering, or the future. The ‘final blow’ will bring the next counter blow.

From Kadima to Labor, from Olmert to Barak, they recommend not to think of the past either, of that which was wrought by the previous bombings in the Second Lebanon War (July 2006, Prime Minister: Ehud Olmert, Public Relations: The Labor Party), in “Operation Accountability” in 1993 (Chief of Staff: Ehud Barak), and in Operation “Grapes of Wrath” in 1996 (Foreign Minister: Ehud Barak). All were “proper responses,” achieved through blood and flames, “Once and for all,” which have lead, time and again, to the next round.

The conflagration was predictable. The months of ceasefire, the Tahdi’a, did not lift the siege from Gaza, did not prevent the deprivation of pencils, food, and books from children, fuel and electricity from families. Those who have tormented the residents of the Gaza Strip so that their suffering would “put pressure on their leadership” – have engaged in state terrorism against civilians. Months of Israeli terrorism have only spread despair in Gaza and emboldened those who promise deliverance through the force of weapons, and have strengthened the sense, that the only way out of life in terror is counter-terror, exacerbating the suffering of the Israeli residents of Sderot, and adding the residents of Ashkelon, Netivot, and their environs to the circle of those directly threatened.

Even now, when the call for revenge is heard everywhere, it must be said: the airplanes that bomb Gaza do not guarantee peace and quiet in Sderot, Netivot, and Ashkelon. Those bombs that spread terror and death all across the Gaza Strip while school children headed to the streets after their early classes—these will not bring quiet. On the contrary: the poor and the oppressed of this land, the residents of hungry Gaza and the Israeli periphery, who, against their will, have been turned into a “safety belt” for the occupation—all of them, Arabs and Jews, are being held hostage by unscrupulous politicians, who will not spare their lives. They exploit civilian misery to justify the misery and death they bring on others. At the end of this round of killings “indirect” talks will be held, and cynical politicians will reach “understandings.” Neither agreements, nor solutions—only temporary understandings that will enable the arms race towards the next round. Vague understandings will allow those whose hands are on the trigger to lead to another conflagration at any given moment. As long as we remain hostages to such security managers we will not be able to live in peace, and we will not be able to expect a different life, free of constant threats.

The two people of this country are hostages of the politicians of death. But they are not all being held hostage on the same terms. The lives of Arabs are considered very cheap in comparison to the lives of Jews, but there are cheap Jewish lives too. Not by accident, the poor of both peoples, the disenfranchised, the ones who are “cheaper” from the perspective of the rulers, are the ones usually sent to serve as hostages and cannon fodder. For the politicians’ war is the cynical war of the merchants of death and the elites, the well-protected privileged, while the people, both peoples, do the fighting for them.