Requiem to proportionality

by David Bedein, MSW Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency Director, Center for Near East Policy Research More than 27,000 Arab terror attacks have taken place against Israeli citizens over the past five years, in the so-called second „intifada”, the Arabic term for „casting off” of Israel. with a toll of 1,073 men, women and children who have been murdered in a reign of cold blood of terror. On Thursday, August 4th, the first terror attack of an Israeli Jew against Arabs occurred in this second intifada. Following that attack, in which a crazed 19 year old Jew murdered four Arabs on a bus, Israeli government TV and Israel government radio devoted 12 hours of newsreels to describe in gory detail how a „religious Israeli Jew”, a ‘settler’, „close to Kahane activists”, in the words of HaAretz, had murdered four Arabs on an Israeli bus in the center of an Israeli Arab village. Israeli government minister of public security Gideon Ezra warned that the killer represented an „atmosphere of violent opposition to the Israeli government’s disengagement policy”. And the headlines of all Israel’s Friday morning newspapers headlined the story of an Israeli Jewish settler and „opposition activist” had gone berserk, even though the nineteen year old killer was from Rishon Letzion, a city in the center of Israel, 8 miles south of Tel Aviv, far away from Israel’s west bank settlements, and was a confused deserter from the Israeli army, whose parents had warned the Israeli army of his instability. With less than two weeks left before the Israeli government has scheduled a unilateral withdrawal from all Israeli Jewish communities in the Katif district of Gaza, the news this weekend was going to sound quite different than it sounded last night. On Thursday night, weekend newspapers and weekend newsreels from the Israeli and foreign media based in Israel were preparing to run investigative news stories on the disintegrating „disengagement” process. Late Thursday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesman Ranaan Gisin gave an unprecedented interview in which he said that the Israeli government was weighing methods of how to protect thousands of Israeli citizens as they were being evacuated from Israeli Jewish communities in the Katif district of Gaza. In other words, Gisin was admitting that Israel was indeed „withdrawing under fire”, an act that the prime minister of Israel always promised would never happen. At the same time, although the prime minister’s spokesman was assuring reporters that all evicted Israeli residents from Katif would receive full compensation and would be allowed to remove all of their possessions from the 19 farming communities and 2 Jewish Israeli cities that comprise Katif, the spokesman of the Israel Disengagement Authority made it clear in an interview on Thursday that the evacuated Jews would only be able to take two containers of possessions with them. At a time when a Katif farmer told the „Maariv” newspaper that she would need 92 u-hauls to remove her produce, the government was offering her only six u-hauls… Meanwhile, prominent left wing newsmen such as Mati Golan, writing in The Globes business newspaper and Danny Rubenstein writing in the HaAretz newspaper warned against Gaza becoming a haven for Islamic terror. Credible intelligence reports also surfaced on Thursday that Al Quaida had established a base in Gaza. Al-Qaida’s official Web sites has announced the establishment of a regular military wing in the Gaza Strip.A declaration posted in the past few days on an Islamist site considered a mouthpiece for Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Iraq, claimed that the wing, „The Jihad Brigades in the Promised Land,” had in the past few days carried out its first attacks by firing mortar shells and new Sajil rockets into Israel, while the mainstream Fateh PLO terror organization announced celebrations that commenced on Thursday to mark their victory over the retreating Israeli army from Gaza. Meanwhile, it was confirmed on Thursday that the Israeli Knesset has ordered an investigation into the circumstances of how it was that Brig.-Gen. (res.) Eival Giladi, the Director of the Strategic Coordination Staff in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office handling disengagement was also holding a position as the professional manager of the Israel office of Portland Trust – a half billion dollar British-Palestinian business development foundation that is handling Portland Trust’s Palestinian investment projects in Palestinian business projects and housing developments that are scheduled to replace the Jewish communities in Katif. None of the above news stories made it into Israel’s media this weekend. What has been reported, every hour on the hour, was the mistaken news story that an Israeli Jewish resident of the west bank town of Tapuach had conducted an act of terror. He had indeed spent some time in Tapuach, where he sought counsel as a young man who had most recently become a religious Jew. Amidst reports that the Israeli government is about to embark on a policy of also removing all of the small Jewish communities in the west bank, commentators from the Israeli government TV and Israel government radio devoted hours of discussion to the ways in which Israel would soon remove Jewish communities like Tapuach from the map of Israel. The fact that the killer was a young fellow from Rishon did not fit the script. Meanwhile, as everyone across the political spectrum of Israel joined a chorus of condemnation of a Jew’s murder of Arab citizens last night, it was hard not to take into the contrast of how the official Palestinian Authority media praised the Arab terrorist murders of an Israeli couple, Dov and Rachel Kol, as they travelled from the road out of Gaza on Saturday night, July 23rd. The Voice of Palestine radio and Palestinian state television applauded their murder, . calling it an act of „resistance” [muqawwima] and „holy martyrdom” [istish-haad], and hinting that the murderers were carrying out their civic duty, as the Palestinian media outlets repeatedly referred to the dead Israelis as „settlers” (even though they were not settlers) while calling the Palestinian gunmen „resisters” [muqawwimin-a positive term in Palestinian Arabic] and „citizens” [muwattinin]. The Israeli public, however, had no idea that the official Palestinian Authority praised these murders, since not one Israeli media outlet reported it – even though the New York Times of July 25th, 2005 did report the festivities on the PBC VOICE OF PALESTINE radio that followed the murder of Dov and Rachel Kol. All this remains a requiem to the memory of media proportionality, when context is lost in the quest for a policy that a government would like to promote. BPIO-info