After 42 violent deaths, dozens of destroyed Palestinian homes and a critical UN resolution, even prominent Israelis are adding their voice to a chorus of world outrage.
Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid stunned Prime Minister Arial Sharon when he compared a television image with his personal experience of the Holocaust.
Leader of the centrist Shinui Party, he has became the first cabinet minister to criticise the most recent Gaza raid and called on the cabinet on Sunday to halt the demolitions.
Scene reminiscent of the ghettos
“I saw on television an old woman picking through the rubble of her house in Rafah, looking for her medicine.
“She reminded me of my grandmother who was expelled from her home during the Holocaust,” political sources quoted him as saying.
Lapid’s grandmother died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz death camp.
But an angry Sharon retorted that Lapid’s remarks were “unacceptable and intolerable”, the sources said.
However, there are numerous examples of other prominent Israeli politicians and military figures criticising their own brutal policies.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was quoted in Haaretz on 3 June 1998 saying if he were a Palestinian, he would also join a resistance group.
“We’re told all the time the Palestinians want to throw us into the sea. We have six million people in the strongest Army in the region yet we speak of them as if they were two equal powers. It’s just manipulating people’s fears”
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, was quoted by Nehum Goldman in the book The Israeli Paradox, as going a step further:
“If I were an Arab leader I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal, we’ve taken your country.
“There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing, we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
More recently, Israeli tactics have come in for severe criticism from the very people ordered into the occupied Palestinian territories to “prevent terrorism”.
On 4 April 2002, a reservist who refused to serve – Ishai Rosen-Zvi – questioned his own army’s tactics.
“We are at war again, what is this war intended for? Preventing terrorism? This isn’t even an unfunny joke. It is clear and embarrassing to repeat that these operations are the ultimate laboratories for the creation of terrorism.”
Leaving their Rafah home to an
“Occupation of towns and villages, the breaking and entry and vandalising of homes. The cutting off, the humiliation, the suppression, killing by the fastest and most effective factories of terrorism.”
Rosen-Zvi even claimed that in the late 90s, support among Palestinians for human bombing ran at about 20%. “Today it is hard to find someone among them who will denounce this phenomenon.”
“Nobody believes that more occupation, more killing, destroying and humiliation will help to decimate it.”
Former cabinet member Shrilamut Aroni attempted to explain why more Israeli politicians fail to see the brutality of their policies.
“The Jews were once victims. Now we’re brainwashed to believe we’ll always be victims and victims can do no wrong. Suddenly we’ve become strong and greedy and pretend we can justify everything.
“We’re told all the time the Palestinians want to throw us into the sea. We have six million people in the strongest Army in the region yet we speak of them as if they were two equal powers. It’s just manipulating people’s fears.”
“It is clear and embarrassing to repeat that these operations are the ultimate laboratories for the creation of terrorism”
But the final word must go to Moshe Dayan – one of the most candid, and charismatic, generals in Israeli history.
Speaking to Haaretz on 4 April 1969, he summarised the number one reason for the current Intifada.
“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages. I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.
“There’s not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”