Welcome one and all to Weekend Holyland Update tours, where we're back after a one week hiatus and a slightly broken promise. Details in the footnotes1.
This is WHU flight 011510, where shame is forgotten, sanity trampled, irony killed yet again and the sweet sick smell of atavism wafts heavy in the waters of the aquarium2. Please fasten your seatbelts as we may be ejected from sovereign Israhelli airspace, on charges of exploiting your Jewishness to get into Israel. Confused? You won't be once we get you back home safe...
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one I think fits the bill, but you have to be familiar with the Jehovah disease to get the full import. I'll try to do it in less than a thousand: See the settler being subdued as he tries to throw a rock at Palestinians attempting to work their land? He's wearing phylacteries. Question is why. He's not anywhere near his home or his synagogue, the two places where a normal Jew is likely to wear his prayer accessories, and although full Jewish prayer with phylacteries can technically take place anywhere, the guy is there specifically to come into conflict with the Palestinian farmers. That's why he came down the hill from his settlement to the field. So why is he wearing his walkie-talkie to Jehovah? Becuase, it seems, he wished to imbue this interaction with "holiness". There is a somewhat obscure precedent for this, as the fighters of Shimon Bar Kuziva, aka Bar Cochva, are cited somewhere or other as having gone into battle with the holy leather straps and boxes bound around their arms and foreheads. Somehow the fact that the Bar Kuziva rebellion triggered an 1800 year exile does not seem to make it less desirable as a source of inspiration.
So now, once again, we have the final stages of the disease, with the desperate fanatics, deserted by the idol in whose name they embraced madness, shedding more and more of their discernable ties to reality, and turning to truly childish displays of magical thinking in hopes of turning the inexorable tide of human events. Just as Lakota Sioux put on their "ghost shirts3" which they believed would repel bullets (and we all know how that turned out), so these idiots are now waving their fetishistic security blankets in the hope that they would cause Jehovah to help them.
Also in the West Bank: There was a demonstration against land theft in one of the villages along the seaparation barrier. At a certain point, as the army was removing the protesting residents and the Israeli and international activists, a bunch of settlers, some masked, took up positions high on the cultivation terraces and began pelting the demonstrators with rocks. Army and border police units present did zilch (remember the army was close to the protesters. rocks hurled in their general direction like that by the other side? Someone goes to the hospital). When challenged by a protester on this inaction: "Why aren't you stopping them? Isn't it your duty?" the junior officer in charge answered flatly: "No. My duty is to protect my people." Then he added: "I know there's only one capital offense in Israel... treason. You're traitors. You should be ashamed of yourself."
So leaving the little incitement thing to one side (cause that's utterly mundane in these protests), we have an IDF officer, on duty at the scene, flatly announcing no obligation whatsoever to defend a civilian population from attack by another, despite being the sole armed authority on the scene, and despite the fact that he would surely intervene if the same action happened in reverse. Remember this next time someone tried to sell you Israel as the moral, lawful, only by necessity occupier.
Finally in the West Bank, the Chairman of Israel's Civil Rights Union, Haggai Elad, was arrested along with 13 others at an utterly lawful protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarah, where Israel is proving how much it wants peace by building.
Moving on to the big maisse of the week: in an attempt to protest the airing of a new anti-Israeli show on Turkish (commercial, not state) TV, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon decided to teach the Turkish Ambassador a lesson. So he invited him for a stern talking-to, ignoring the fact that the Turkish government has no more legal authority over commercial TV content than his own has over its TV content in Israel. But just talk wasn't enough, so Ayalon made sure to instruct the camera men he invited to video the event, to "make sure you see that he's sitting low and I'm high and that nobody is smiling". And indeed, the ingenious Ayalon had arranged a ridiculously low chair for his guest, kinda like the fox and the stork or something. The yahoos of course delighted in this Heatherish display of national pride, and PM Bibi proved resoundingly that he cares about political survival to the negation of all else when he backed his foreign minister (who was backing his deputy).
Turkey, not being an Israeli subjugate, raised its eyebrows and invited our own envoy to Ankara for a little chat. No Rahat Lakum (aka Turkish Delight) was served, but the message was imparted that an apology is expected. one such was gracelessly given, then denied internally as best possible. Bibi then tried do go double-slick when he also expressed approval of Ayalon's apology. Bibi is delighted with the whole mess, of course. A few more incidents like this will give those in Kadima who want to join the coalition moral cover - "Look, it's a matter of responsibility, we have to get those jackasses away from where they can cause harm".
Israel's "Iron Dome" rocket defense system had a successful test, which did nothing to change the following facts: It costs $50K for each missile fired by the system to shoot down a $300 home made qassam rocket. Plus, the minimum range the system is effective from is 4km. The vast majority of Israeli towns under Palestinian Qassam attacks are closer than that. (although the new generation rockets can hit Ashkelon, which is a city of several dozen thousand people).
So it's a great technological achievement that does virtually nothing for the situation at hand. Meanwhile work on the laser based system which showed much more promise, is effective from 1 km out, costs only 1-2K per shot, was spiked and that entire approach and anyone who dared suggest maybe that would be a more effective way of protecting poor hallowed and martyred town of Sderot, was aggressively denigrated in a sleazy, mendacious media campaign. So when the next round comes, and it's coming, Sderot will be 100% as exposed as before.
Israel's chief medical coroner has confessed to the British Guardian that he stole organs from cadavers. He did this by way of refuting the charges implied by previous coverage of some nefarious scheme to violate the bodies of only occupied Palestinians. No, no, explained the good doctor. We did that to everyone. Soldiers, too. It wasn't a racist thing, see. And technically, he is correct and indeed the previous international coverage was biased and erroneous in this regard. What could be construed as somewhat racist is the shoddier coverup on Palestinian corpses, assuming they would be the least likely to actually be heard complaining.
Last time I told y'all about the season opener to "Wonderful Country", our leading satire show. All the judo-supremacist parties got up and screamed that the skit was tantamount to nazi propaganda yada yada boo hoo. So the next week they ran a revised version of the skit - the settlers aren't kidnapping the soldier, they're hosting him for a sabbath dinner! They are, however, holding Defense Minister Ehud Barak hostage... You wanted an apology? There.
And this truly just in, courtesy of my brilliant colleague Yossi Gurvitz - Yediot, our leading rag, ran a weekend supplement article ressurecting Sarah Netanyahu (Bibi's wife) and her unfortunate habit of abusing the help (an ex nanny or maid just filed a suit seeking damages or back pay or something). Buried in there was a curious detail about how the Netanyahu's domestic help was paid from a personal corporation account. Hmmmm. Investigations are being made.
And finally, a travel advisory. Those of you who happen to be Jewish and plan on coming to visit beware: A Jewish-American journalist, Jared Malsin, was arrested at Ben Gurion airport upon returning from a vacation. Malsin lives here and works as the editor of the English editor for the Palestinian news agency Ma'an. Authorities wanted to deport him, but a court has stayed that for now. According to Ma'an, among the charges made by the secret service is that Malsin entered Israel on false pretenses, and specifically that he "exploited his Jewishness" to gain entry into Israel. Not sure I need to belabor how surreal such a statement is, but suffice it to remind that as a Jew, Mr. Malsin is entitled not only to automatic entry, but to automatic Israeli citizenship under Israeli law.
And on that note sure to elicit a chuckle from Franz in Prague,the pilot will now return you to your points of origin, which must seem refreshingly sane in comparison. WHU airlines is not responsible for any illusions, sympathies or misconceptions that may have been misplaced on our tours. Please collect your luggage, check your comments and rate this humble dispatch. Thank you for flying the crazy skies.
1 The US comments I wanted to make didn't add up to a post. Had a notion about driving a wedge into the NRA with a bill to tighten the restriction on non citizens owning guns (techinically they can't, but there's a loophole: hunting. Let's see the NRA argue for the constitutional rights of non-citizens to hunt in America... tee hee.
Other US matter was this Exiled Online article about the Fort Hood shooting.
2Hat tip: David Brin.
3And I truly do apologize for comparing the Lakota Sioux - a victimized indigenous people, repeatedly betrayed - with the rapacious, parasitic and cancerous scum known as the "hardcore settlers" like the one on the picture. The specific comparison just struck me as apt in the aspect of turning to patently irrational behavior of a millenial strain in hopes of other-worldly intervention.