Welcome aboard another excursion courtesy of Weekend Holyland Updates airlines, where we examine the widening fault lines about to engulf a country from a safe distance, before returning you each by the magic of the ethernet to your individual points of origin and own brands of crazy, which if not seeming much more livable in comparison, we would seriously suggest you explore relocation. We are. This is WHU flight 031210, touching down at suicidal ingratitude, hilarious myopia, child abuse, murder, more child abuse, and other cheering little anecdotes. Note: Today's tour will end with some actual good news for those interested in a peaceful, internationally-backed solution, not that anyone will actually make use of it. Please fasten your seatbelts, that ain't no rainstorm - Israel is now spitting at you, feel it salivate:
Vice President Joe Biden came on a visit to tell Israel's suicidal leaders that no, they may not attack Iran yet, because President Obama has not yet exhausted all avenues of dealing with this problem (which even our own Sec.Def Ehud Barak has admitted is "not existential") without regional war breaking out.
Israel, like a peeved child told it may not do something destructive, lashed out with a well-timed insult and announced the beginning of construction for 1600 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem to coincide with ole Joe's visit. Apparently even our one true sugar daddy can get tired of being treated like a heel. Neil Kinnock, uh... I mean Biden, whose visit got off to an inauspicious start when Bibi's official gift for him (a framed picture of some sort) got dropped and the glass shattered. Anyway, after the announcement about the construction (aka "the spit in the eye") Biden made an interesting comment about how Israel was not being a helpful ally by this behavior, and Secretary of State Hilly-Bob used the word "insulting". Are you enjoying the spittle, fellow Americans?
The funny part (funny if you're not the one living it) is that Israel is very conscious of it's growing PR problem around the world, and enlisting the citizenry as online hasbara agents. The TV ads are hilarious: We see a narrator, style Nat. Geo. or Discovery channel, explaining that "the camel is an Israeli animal, used in this country for all travel and transport". Another installation in this series shows a Spanish "reporter" condescendingly walking around a park where Israelis are indulging their love of cookout and explaining that Israel doesn't have electricity or gas, so we cook on charcoal. She accepts a skewer of meat, bites in and goes "Primitivo...pero delicioso!" The third spot shows a sour old French "newscaster" showing footage of Independence Day fireworks as "sounds of war coming from Israel". It's all a big misunderstanding, you see! A veritable comedy of errors! If only people *knew* that we were enlightened, advanced people, none of this woulda happened and everybody woulda loved us! Now, camels are famous for spitting in people's eyes, but this time we did it all on our own. Problem isn't that they think we ride on camels, but that they know we beat up on kids and kill them too. Leave the poor dromedary alone.
A slew of thuggish incidents from Israel's moral, just, and security-driven occupation of the West Bank.
IDF forces arrest a 10 year old and his 12 year old brother who were playing on the street, hold them for hours in a room in a settlement under watch of a dog, without use of bathroom or phone call. At night the father managed to release the younger boy. a few days later the boy would tell his story to a reporter. That night Israeli Occupation Thugs broke into the family's home, snatched the boy from his bed, held his parents off at gun point, beat the boy up till he suffered internal bleeding and required overnight hospitalization, and then left. IDF spokesman does not dispute any of the details and merely says that the incident is "being investigated".
In Hebron, a man was shot to death with seven bullets, in three volleys, the last coming as he lay on the ground. The soldiers claim he stabbed one of them. All eye-witnesses dispute the man having a knife, and an eyewitness watching from a rooftop says the one of the soldiers took the knife out of the military vehicle after the shooting. The deceased, one Fiaz Faraj, was a wealthy man and one of the rare Palestinians to have a permit not just to enter Israel, but to stay overnight anywhere in it. In other words, the last person you'd expect to be motivated for suicide-by-thug. The incident was captured in its entirety on video, but the thugs confiscated the cameras and destroyed the tapes. Furthermore, after the still--living Mr. Faraj was loaded onto a Red Crescent ambulance, the occupation thugs ordered the ambulance to stop, detached the man from the IV he'd been hooked up to, transfered him via military jeep to the checkpoint, and from there to a mobile emergency treatment ambulance, which sat at the checkpoint for 30 minutes till Mr. Faraj's death was announced. This incident is also "being investigated", although here the IDF takes the cover story offered by the murdering soldiers themselves, and claims Faraj was "a terrorist who had stabbed a soldier". The deceased left a wife and ten children, one more due shortly, a male fetus to be named Fiaz.
And in a rarety, two soldiers were actually put on trial by the IDF for using Palestinian children as human shields. These thugs are accused of having ordered children to open parcels suspected of being booby-trapped.
This all happens as a poll is published showing half of Israel's high school students - breaking down to 39% of secular students and 82% of religious ones - support the denial of basic civil rights to Arab citizens inside Israel proper.
In crowd psychology: Swedish affordable young clothing chain H&M finally opened a store in Israel, and you coulda thought they were giving away drugs there. Just your basic shmattes, nicely priced, and thousands of people were losing their minds like the store was opening for one day only. I wonder how the hasbara TV spots would depict that one...
This is a product of cognitive dissonance, see. The more we detach from the first world in the way we behave on the world stage, the morre desperate we want to feel we're part of the normal international scene. Yeah, we have H&M too!
The joke in Israel used to go that Israel is the only country in the world to combine the inhumanity of capitalism with the inefficiency of socialism. In truth, Israel seems to be trying for an Athens/Sparta hybrid - maintaining its status as a regional power on the collective subjugation of a conquered people, but glorying in its love of the good things in life. In nature, hybrids (like a horse with an ass) usually prove infertile and quickly go extinct.
And finally, I promised you some good news: Europe's high court for human rights ruled this week that there's a statute of limitations on a refugee's right to return to his self-same land or home from which he fled or was driven out. The court of course stressed that they still deserve compensation, but not necessarily the eviction of current resident who came to occupy their empty homes. The ruling was done in a case concerning Cypriot Greeks who fled what is now Turkish Cyprus in 1974, but it is already seen as a landmark precedential ruling. If Israel had any remnants of a brain, it would immediately open a claims office (like the Turkish Cypriots have) and start paying 1948 Palestinians refugees for their property which we have been appropriating till now. Then again, if Israel had any remnants of a brain, it would have responded to the Arab League Peace Initiative, which also recognized Israel's right to limit practical implementation of the right of return (while requiring it to recognize the right and provide compensation), with anything more than the cold shoulder it gave the initiative both when originally proposed (2002) and when re-affirmed (2007). So a ladder has been presented, but rest assured that no-one is going to use it, and thus you can look forward to a continuation of this fine and educational feature, at least until I decide that my children's safety requires me to raise them in my other homeland.
And on that cassandara-ish note, the pilot has now lit the "No Camels" sign and is bringing her in for landing. WHU airlines is not responsible for any illusions, sympathies or misconceptions that may have been misplaced on our tours. Please collect your luggage and check your comments and thumbs. Thank you for flying the crazy skies.