Saturday, July 19, 2014

Israel's Pickle

Rafah border crossing. Photo by Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Jerusalem Post.
This story, from the Jerusalem Post, with the above illustration, is grotesquely upsetting and yet in a very dark way unspeakably funny:
Terrorists in Gaza attempted to attack IDF soldiers with an explosives-laden donkey on Friday, the military said. 

IDF forces operating in the Rafah area near the Gaza-Egypt border located the donkey suspiciously approaching their position and were forced to open fire at it, causing the explosives to detonate. 

No injuries were sustained to the soldiers. 

The military expressed its regret over the "shocking" incident, and condemned terrorists in Gaza for strapping bombastic devices to innocent animals as a means of attacking Israeli forces. 

"This cruel incident is the most recent attempt by Gaza terror organizations to make such an abominable use of animals as explosives couriers," the IDF said on its website. 
It's partly because of the artlessly bad military-style writing, the way the soldiers "located" the suicide donkey rather than just seeing it, and the way it "suspiciously approached" them instead of ambling, donkey fashion, in their direction, that the picture is so vivid and movie-like: I see the IDF kids sweating and tensing, clutching their Uzis, and the donkey wholly unconcerned, but not turning back, and the kids maybe closing their eyes as they blow it away. And the hilarious misuse of "bombastic".

I'm even a little suspicious myself: How did the terrorists train a donkey to sidle up to the troops? What exactly was the military expressing "regret" over? Are you sure that donkey was armed?

But the other thing is how this story encapsulates what's wrong with the Occupation, where, after what is it, 47 years, young soldiers have to be terrified of an unescorted enemy donkey. They don't even know where they are.

They also blew up the El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital for long-term injuries and disabilities the other day, though they knew nobody inside was armed and couldn't explain why they had done it.  Annie Robbins at Mondoweiss was arguing, convincingly to my way of thinking, that that's the reason for the invasion, because they don't know, in spite of the famously fearsome capacities of Mossad, where they're supposed to be bombing:
Israel is likely in a pickle. Its stated goal for this invasion is to stop the missile fire (and dismantle Hamas’s control of the strip). To do that it must locate Hamas’ weapons arsenal and thus far, it appears it is clueless as to where they are. Israel doesn’t know the extent of weaponry Hamas has amassed, either in quality or quantity. All the blowing up of civilian infrastructure, including homes and hospitals, won’t end the rocket fire because it’s extremely unlikely any central stash of weaponry is stored in homes, schools, hospitals or mosques. The weapons are probably underground which is why it requires a ground invasion to find them. This is what “deal with the tunnels” means when Obama says  “the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels”.
They've managed to become as ignorant of the Occupied Territories as the Blackwater goons were of Iraq. What do they think they're accomplishing? Israel has a "right to defend itself", we are constantly told. Does it have a right to kill hundreds of people, and animals, in a pure panic attack? Shouldn't it try getting some therapy instead?

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.


Victor said...

It must have been tough not call the Israeli troops, 'asses,' huh, Y? ;-)

Bibi is a neoCLOWN pal of Cheney and Bill Kristol.

And, sadly, like them, thinks the best way to get rid of mosquito's, is to use bombs and his military.

Even more sadly, the Palestinians are not without fault.

If they had chosen to go the Gandhi and MLK Jr route, they'd have had their own country for a decade - if not more.

Instead, they like to poke the Israeli tiger.


Yastreblyansky said...

I too think nonviolence is the most effective tool Palestinians have. But as I've been learning it's not like it hasn't been tried.

Nonviolence theory played a huge role in the First Intifada of 1987 to 1991, though the movement wasn't nonviolent all the way through, and it seemed to be working really well, leading to the Oslo accords. Then Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, and then Netanyahu became PM for the first time openly mocking Oslo and determined to make the West Bank settlements permanent, and then in climax Ariel Sharon waddled up Temple Mount deliberately trying to provoke violence to help him defeat Ehud Olmert in the 2001 election.

I think the crash from the high hopes of 1993 to the catastrophe of 2001 convinced Palestinians that the techniques that worked against the British in India and Jim Crow in the American South could never work in Israel because the Israeli bad faith was so extreme. I don't know if they were right but I can't help sympathizing with the feeling.