After writing the post below, I stumbled on this story, an account of the t-shirts printed, semi-officially it seems, for Israeli soldiers at the end of their deployment or training: ‘One, printed for a platoon of Israeli snipers depicts an armed Palestinian pregnant women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption in English: “1 shot 2 kills”. Another depicts a child carrying a gun also in the centre of a target. “The smaller, the harder,” read the words on the t-shirt. According to a soldier interviewed by the newspaper, the message has a double meaning: “It’s a kid, so you’ve got a little more of a problem, morally and also the target is smaller.” Another shows an Israeli soldier blowing up a mosque and reads “Only God forgives”. […] Perhaps the most shocking design shows a Palestinian mother weeping next to her dead baby’s grave, also in the crosshairs of a rifle. It suggests it would have been better if the child had never been born, with the slogan “Better use Durex”.’
Doubtless there will be some handwringing over this and a few scapegoats will be punished. But, really, is it so surprising? The sentiments on the shirts are merely a slightly more overt version of the discourse pushed by right-wing commentators all around the world — all Palestinians are terrorists and they deserve to be collectively punished.
[Update]In Harper’s Magazine, Scott Horton points out that, if anything, since Gaza, Israeli politics has shifted even further to the Right:
Ultranationalist Russian émigré Avigdor Lieberman has been tapped to be Israel’s new foreign minister. Lieberman’s penchant for diplomacy is demonstrated by his recent call for the President of Egypt to “go to hell,” and his suggestion that the conflict in Gaza would best be resolved by dropping a nuclear bomb on its inhabitants.