Eight years after the foundation of the state of Israel, Moshe Dayan, the chief of staff of the Israeli military, stood close to the Gaza border to pronounce a eulogy for a 21-year-old Israeli security officer slain by Palestinian and Egyptian assailants.
“Let us not today cast blame on his murderers,” he said in 1956. “What can we say against their terrible hatred of us? For eight years now, they have sat in the refugee camps of Gaza and have watched how, before their very eyes, we have turned their land and villages, where they and their forefathers previously dwelled, into our home.”
His short speech, a little longer than Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and a powerful reference for Israelis, is perhaps recalled less for this insight into Palestinian anger than for Mr. Dayan’s resolute conclusion.
“Without the steel helmet and the cannon’s maw, we will not be able to plant a tree and build a home,” he said.
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