domenica 9 marzo 2014

Gideon Levy : Iranian cement and Israeli whitewash

 A package on board a Klos-C ship that was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces in the Red Sea,
How many times can they show a sack of cement that’s labeled “Made in Iran” before our brain goes numb? How much praise can be heaped on a daring maritime operation before it makes us dizzy? How many times can we listen to the navy commander, surrounded by cameras, of course, radio the chief of staff to tell him “the ship is in our hands” – as if it were Motta Gur’s Six-Day War pronouncement that “the Temple Mount is in our hands” – before the scene becomes a parody?
The party has only just begun. These lines were written before the Klos C arrived Saturday in Eilat to the cheers of victory. And the climax is still ahead: Tomorrow the military's tarps will be laid out, atop them the haul - set out before amazed eyes of the people of Israel and the indifferent world. Israeli leaders will not miss heroic photo op and their public relations people will not miss the chance to remind everyone who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. Indeed, there’s a reason to celebrate: an efficient operation, with no injuries, in which everything went smoothly and only proportionality disappeared as if it had sunk to the depths of the Red Sea.
Israel, which has sold and continues to sell weapons to almost every dark and outcast nation, explains to the world that this is how the (Iranian) evil network operates. Israel, which is armed with almost every kind of weapon in the world, does not allow others to arm themselves with even a little of what it has (what would happen if someone would have taken over an arms ship bound for Israel?). “We are not pirates, we are the Israel Defense Forces,” screamed one ridiculous headline over the weekend. Another boasted: “Our forces at their best.” That Israel’s best? The Israel’s only best?
The IDF managed to intercept a shipment of rockets, which were in fact manufactured in Syria and whose destination was not at all clear: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, World Jihad, Sinai, and perhaps Sudan - who knows. The route is strange, the destination unidentified. But why deal with unimportant details when the national orgy is at its height? And why be a party pooper, when parties are so rare? But a country that basks in the glory of military achievement, no matter how impressive, is not a healthy country. After every possible praise had been heaped on the commanders and the soldiers, the Intelligence Corps and the navy, IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and navy commander Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg, the commando units Shayetet 13 and Shayetet 7; after we were repeatedly shown the defense minister and the chief of staff huddled in Tel Aviv’s underground military command center; after we saw the masked commandos taking over the cargo vessel, and after even the quality of the photographs published by the military were applauded over the weekend, we are also permitted to ask what it’s all about.
It’s good that the rockets were stopped, many lives may have been saved by doing so. But is this a fateful event, an event that will change the face of the country? No matter how successful, this is first and foremost a showcase – the movie can’t be far – intended mainly to serve PR and propaganda purposes and to blur reality and make it disappear.
How fine it would be if Israel were to take pride in other acts, such as taking in asylum seekers from Africa or saving refugees from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. Imagine, even if its sounds bizarre. How beautiful it would be if military reporters, pundit-generals and the army of propagandists and embellishers that once again fully enlisted for the task forgetting their job of the press were to raise a few questions as well. What, for example, was achieved by the useless journey of the prime minister to the United States, besides a photo op with Leonardo DiCaprio. Where will Israel be headed after the party is long over and forgotten? And above all, when will we also do something to root out the motivation of the rocket smugglers and those who dispatch them. But Sparta remains Sparta, a military achievement is the greatest of all achievements; and Pompeii remains Pompeii, eat, drink, grab and arms ship and flee from fateful issues.
Israel will wake up tomorrow to the dawn of a new day: the president, the prime minister, ministers, general and ambassadors in a victory photo with the rockets. But this selfie is self-deluding and misleading. The Iranian cement is meant to conceal the rockets and the Israeli whitewash is meant to conceal dangers that are greater than any rocket, Iranian or Syrian.
 sintesi israeliana    Gideon Levy: cemento iraniano e calce israeliana

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