Israel might be able to go on claiming that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East, but it cannot do the same regarding another weapon of mass destruction: the bulldozer. The claim that terror has adopted an original new weapon, a "new fashion" as the public security minister put it, once again shows how convenient it is for us to present a one-sided and distorted picture.
The bulldozer as a destructive and even lethal weapon was not invented by the Palestinians. They are merely imitating an Israeli "fashion" that is as old as the state, or at least as old as the occupation. Let us forget for a moment the 416 villages Israel wiped off the face of the earth in 1948 - that was before there were D9 bulldozers - and focus on a more modern fashion. In Israel's hands the bulldozer has become one of the most terrifying weapons in the territories. The only difference between the Palestinians' murderous bulldozer and the Israeli bulldozer is in color and size. As usual, ours is bigger, much bigger. There is no similarity between the small backhoe the Palestinian terrorist was driving and the fearsome D9 driven by Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
From the dawn of the occupation, Caterpillar has been a major arms supplier to Israel, no less than those who provide planes, cannons and tanks. Not for nothing are peace activists trying to call for a boycott of the manufacturer. Israel has sown almost unimaginable destruction using heavy equipment. Go to Rafah, stopping in Khan Yunis on the way, and see the results of the destruction scattered there to this day. Whole neighborhoods razed, the contents of houses - possessions and memories - crushed under the treads. Have you ever seen a street after being "stripped" by a bulldozer? Cars are crushed like tin cans and homes become piles of rubble, along with their contents. Any street in Rafah looks much worse than King David Street in Jerusalem this week.
In 2004, for example, 10,704 Palestinians were made homeless after the IDF destroyed 1,404 homes, mostly in Gaza, due to "operational needs." In the Jenin refugee camp, Israel destroyed 560 homes; the legendary bulldozer driver "Kurdi" told how he would swig whiskey as he "turned Jenin into a soccer field." In Operation Rainbow, another bulldozer operation, Israel destroyed 120 homes in one day in the Brazil camp in Rafah. Only someone who was in Rafah and Khan Yunis at the time can understand what our excellent bulldozers did.
Do not say that our bulldozers only destroy but do not kill. Who killed peace activist Rachel Corrie if not a bulldozer whose driver, according to witnesses, saw her before he crushed her to death? And what about the Shubi family in the Nablus casbah - a grandfather, two aunts, a mother and two children - crushed under bulldozers? And who killed Jamal Faid, a handicapped man from the Jenin camp, whose wheelchair only was found under the ruins of his house, with his body never recovered? Was that not bulldozer terror?
The Palestinians discovered the bulldozer quite late. What is good for us is good for them. And how do our security experts propose to fight the new fashion? By demolishing the houses of the terrorists. With bulldozers, of course.
© 2008 Ha'aretz