Israel Is Important

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Now Can We Get Back To The Important Things, Mr. Caspit?

Things are hectic in this tiny, horrendously fucked up country of ours, surrounded as it is by foes, inhabited as it is by foes.

Oh, yes, we have problems. We just lost a war for reasons no one is sure of; though we are blaming anyone who could have anything to do with it and avoiding any actual lessons we could take from it! Our President is being investigated on charges of rape! Our PM is horribly corrupt! Our Defense Minister is, erm, really good at economics! Our economy is shit because we have to pay for that lost war! A prominent member of parliament has publicly said we should stop with that nansy pansy "Not killing tens of thousands of innocents" thing, and despite being a former Major-General, completely misses the distinctions between Asymmetrical and Third Generation warfare! Three Arab Israeli members of parliament are being investigated for treason (because they went to Syria and said some soothing words)! Gilad Shalit and our two lost soldiers in Lebanon are still missing, with no formal word of whether we are negotiating to get them back yet! Obviously, at this turbulent time amid turbulent times, one of the most widely respected reporters in the country, publishing a front-page column in the most widely read newspaper in the country, would be positively blinding with hate and disdain, vitriol and curses for...

Jacko Eisenberg, winner of the fourth run of the Israeli Idol competition?

Huh.

Let's run down the story for you just joining in. A week or two ago, the aforementioned Mr. Eisenberg (so famous he doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry) won the acclaimed show so famous for it's political acumen and social message, Kokhav Nolad - Not at all, in any shape or form, a popularity contest in which the winner is chosen based on how pretty s/he is, how big his/her hometown is, and how well s/he sings, in that order. As Mr. Eisenberg became a world celebrity no one over the age of 14 would recognize on the street, it surfaced that he was once part of a band that sang lyrics like "Suck my cock, Israel!"*.

Gosh.

Later, it was revealed that The Big Famous Future Pedophiliac actually did not serve in the military! I'm not really sure how no one knew this earlier, since he was a huge fucking celebrity. Apparently Mr. Eisenberg got released from the military based on a psychiatric review, in which he stated he wouldn't hold a gun or shoot it, a common claim for pussies who would like not to be in the military.

OH HOLY FUCK!

Our fourteen year olds are at risk! Surely they will follow this pony-tailed beautiful bastard to the very ends of betraying our great country! Moses in the dessert!

Wait, there's more completely fucking retarded hiding-from-our-reality-by-bashing-a-scrape-goat horror!

He didn't vote!

Yes, in the previous election, which was like all elections not at all a choice between the lesser of two evils but a important choice between Justice and Evil, he didn't fucking pick a side!

AND HE ACTUALLY SAYS THESE SORTS OF THINGS WITHOUT STABBING HIMSELF IN THE HEART IN A SEARCH FOR FORGIVENESS.

So, after basically saying what i've said here but without any irony, our Great And Respected Journalist, Mr. Ben Kaspit himself, offers this thought:

Let's boycott him.

Yes! Let's boycott him! Let's not buy any of his nonexistent CDs! Let's not watch any of his invisible movies! Let's not listen to any of his songs we can't listen to anyway because they don't fucking exist. Far from allowing this probably-an-idiot to follow the usual blazing comet trail reserved for winners of the fourth fucking Israeli Idol competition, letting him without any reservation give a few interviews to news-starved magazines, make a few commercials for Head & Shoulders and then release one or maybe two songs to radio and then never being heard of again, let's boycott him and use up important media space talking about it!

That'll fucking show him.

Allright, Israel, I get it. You've been hurt. I know. You've lost a war, you, the unbeatable, the indomitable. You've lost confidence in your government. You've lost your confidence in your army, for god's sake! That's fucked up. You're reeling, looking around blurrily, trying to focus on a single issue to bring you back to life and remind you that you still kick fucking ass. I know you can still kick ass, Israel. It's okay. Really. You can stop. You can lie down. Take a load off. Let me make you a cup of coffee, Israel. There's no need to always be on the offensive. There's no need to always win. That's just life, Israel. You win some, you lose some. I know, baby. It's hard. Have a cigarette. There's no need to inflate a issue to prove you're still strong. You want the comfy chair, Israel? A pillow? Maybe later we'll discuss what we need to do to fix what we can fix? Yeah, calmly. Rationally. Yeah, I know, that'll be nice.

Let me turn off the light.

We'll talk in the morning.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Three Country Review

An Israeli arrives at London's Heathrow airport. There are, of course, forms to fill out. "Occupation?", the customs official asks.

"No," The Israeli replies, "Just visiting."


Good morning. It's been a while. I humbly apologize. Let's start over, and talk about three nations that you may have heard of.

Iran. Did you know that Persian is the third most blogged language? Did you know that Iran has signed the Nuclear Non Profileration Treaty? Did you know that the Bloggin' President, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, is basically the israel-hatin', religion-lovin', holoucaust-denyin' bearded version of Amir "Let's Focus On The Economic Problems Here" Peretz? Seriously. He's all for economic reform. Did you know that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali "I Have The Best Title Ever, Seriously" Khomeni issued a fatwa forbidding Iran from bearing nukes? Do you actually know anything at all about Iran? Take the time from your hectic day. You can start by reading this article. It's where I did.

Lebanon. Lebanon? Did we have a war there or something? Are there soldiers still there or something? Are we still blockading? The Shiva Farms? Ours? Theirs? Does anyone know what the hell is going on? Huh. No? Okay.

Syria. Now, I imagine a lot of you are saying, "Wait, Syria? What does Syria have to do with anything?". Luckily for you, I have already polled a great number of citzens from the world over, and constructed this FAQ specifically for you.

"Wait, Syria?"


Yes. Syria.

"What does Syria have to do with anything?"

They're offering to negotiate a peace process all over again, since we didn't like the last one. Surely you've heard.

"Oh. Yeah, I read something about that- Wait. Last one?"

Yes. The last one.

"Huh. So they're offering to start peace talks again?"

Yep.

"With no preconditions?"

Yep.

"Awesome!"

Except that we're not doing that.

"Um. Why not?"

I have no idea.

"Well. It's not like we're fighting with them right now or anything. I mean, they don't help out anyone we are fight...ing..."

Mhhhmmm.

"Um. Still, it's not like it's either war or peace. We can just wait and negotiate later on, when we're less busy and in a more powerful position. No pressure."

Except that Assad has basically said, "Either make peace with us or we'll make war on you.".

"Oh. Um. So..."

Yes?

"Fuck.."


More tommorow.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Quick Afternoon Notes

In the time since my last post, everything has changed.

No, that's a lie. The 48 hour cease-fire dissapeared seven or so hours in. Hizbollah, amusingly enough, kept it up for the full time allotted. Bombings in Beirut have resumed. The most rockets fired at the north in one day (Every day, they beat the record) dropped yesterday. Ground operations continue in a extended and enhanced offensive, with thereabouts of a division on the ground and more coming in. The IDF plans to hold a line six kilometers from the border - Almost precisely the same line it held until the retreat in 2000, if you're curious - until a multinational force comes in to replace them.

The current IDF tactic begins to sound suspiciously like "Stir up the hornests nest, then let someone else handle it.". Tactically, this has been a well-handled war. Stragetically, it's been a horrible bust. Will this trend continue?

Very likely.

Monday, July 31, 2006

On A Less Emotionally Charged Note

Update for this morning:

The international community has, it seems, responded to Kfar Kana with the same visceral revulsion I have. America has stretched it's muscles, and we have a 48 hour 'cease-fire'. Talk of a international peacekeeping force has intensified, though concrete details still aren't avaliable as far as I know. Let's clarify what 'cease-fire' means: The IAF (Israeli Air Force, filthy foreigners) will cease all bombing runs on Lebanon for the next 48 hours. A 'aid corridor' will be/is opened to provide humanitarian aid to Lebanese refugees. IDF ground operations will continue. Hizbollah has not agreed to any ceasation in action, though as yet there has been no action on their part today.

Don't get over-excited yet. It's a waiting game, again.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Author Feels The Urge To Punch Something

A minimum of fifty six men, women and children were killed in a building bombed by the IDF this morning. Thirty seven of them were children. Kfar Kana. Again.

A special press conference was called. The Chief Of Operations of the IDF, what we call the head of AGAM, a man I have never met or seen before in my life, said ten minutes ago, and I paraphrase; "We knew we could never completely destroy Hizbollah. It is a organisation stretching from the Israel/Lebanon border to the Lebanon/Syria border. We can not destroy it, but we have killed two hundred of it's soldiers, injured hundreds more, and sevely damaged it's stragetic logistics. We will continue our operations."

And I got off the chair and screamed at the TV: "What do you mean, we can't destroy it? What the hell are we doing, then? Why the hell did we just kill thirty seven children? What the fuck are you fucking thinking?"

And you know? The IDF calls itself "The Most Moral Army In The World", and it's true, or close enough as makes no matter. It's easy for the French army to be moral, for the Micronesian brigades, for the German airforce. The IDF faces challenges no other army faces, in the worst conditions of assymetrical warfare possible, and it somehow manages to keep it's citzens alive without killing off half the population of it's enemies. It is a constant test of will. There is a ancedote about that, one which I will share:

A few weeks ago, before this whole thing started, a friend of mine who's still in the IDF vanished for a week. It was obviously something classified. When he returned, he seemed energized, excited. When pressed for details, he said he'd had the most effective week of his life, and that in that one week he had been personally involved in the planning of hits on twenty seperate high-class terrorists. Not the sixteen year olds with the home-made bombs, but the ones who plan where the kids-with-bombs go. "Wow", I said. So why hadn't I heard of any hits on the news?

"Oh," he said, "We didn't put any of them into action. There were civilians at risk."

But the IDF needs to understand something. The American Army needs to understand something. Every fucking Western country needs to understand something. And that is this:

Assymetrical warfare is inherantly unjust.

I'll explain. Assymetrical warfare, defined as warfare between a technically advanced western army and a group of ragged low-tech 'insurgents' (Or guerillas, freedom fighters, terrorists, etc.), involves civilian casualties. Neccesitates civilian casualties. It is, in fact, a known and accepted tactic of assymetric warfare. So the armies waging this war have learned to accept it as a neccesary part of war. But they fail to understand that they are killing innocents. They have dulled, they are jaded. And they forget that one cardinal rule; "What I have created, thou shalt not uncreate."

So I say to you, members of the MATCAL, since you're obviously reading this: Civilian casualties are not a lamentable but acceptable part of the war you wage. Civilian casualties on any scale, and especially on this scale, are not acceptable. A child's death is not justified by his fathers' guilt - A child's death is never justified. Our goals are not worth the price, gentlemen of the MATCAL. Let's just get our abducted soldiers back, before someone decides it would be amusing to leave them crippled for life. Let's give the United Nations some power for once, and let them try and sort it out. Let's, heck, I'm gonna say it, let's apologize.

And gentlemen of the MATCAL?

I don't support this war anymore.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Too Much To Say

In every generation there are those who rise against us and seek to destroy us. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, saves us from their hands."


Good evening. How are we doing? Still mostly alive? Good.

In the time since my last post at least a dozen IDF soldiers have died in action, another four or five civilians, and dozens more of Lebanese, Hezbolla and civilian. Oh, and four U.N. personell. Missles fired today at Affola have increased the Home Front to 100 kilometers, meaning i'm probably in range, but there you go. George W. Bush, in a joint press conference with Tony Blair, has endorsed and advocated for the creation of a "International Task Force" of uncertain nature to "aid the Lebanese goverment". Will it include Americans? Everyone hopes not, though they're aware it probably will.

"Well, better they die than us.", two women said to me today. Women are bloodthirsty animals and not to be trusted.

This is a fascinating article, sadly only avaliable in Hebrew, by Mr. Alias Huri, a prominent Lebanese novelist. A english version will be published in the 'London Review Of Books' this Sunday, it seems. In the comments section, somone said:

"Arabs will stay Arabs, Jews will stay Jews."

That's about as succint a statement as is possible, I suppose.

'The War' is not going well, if you're curious. It's not going well because the IDF is too used to fighting hardly-equipped broken forces in urban territory. Now they're fighting the closest thing to Symmetrical warfare they've faced since the last Lebanese war. Three more reserve divisions have been enlisted, and will be put into action by the start of next week.

That will be the test: Has the tactic of cutting off South Lebanon from the North, the refugeee rush and the bombings, has it worked? Will the IDF be faced with only the stubborn remenants of Hizbollah, ready to give their lives for every hill and valley? This is the good option.

Or will Hizbollah merely fade into a somehow still-existant civilian population, turning this into guerilla warfare comparable with Iraq? Will they move north, forcing us to move north? Will we be fucked up beyond belief?

Answers in the coming months and years of slow horrible realization.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Man On The Street

Evening. At work today we discussed the way one of our co-workers was doing a bad job; "It's allright," said someone, "He's in the Air Force. He's got bigger things on his mind."

It's the little things that get to you. I have a crop of land up north, well in range of even the least guided rockets. I am deathly worried about the trees, about the stairs of rocks, about the watertanks. But mostly I worry about the trees. It's the little things - Yesterday, or perhaps the day before, rockets fell in Nesher. I know someone in Nesher, I immediately thought - But I stopped there. I don't frantically call everyone I know. I avoid reading the names of soldiers who have died, because I might see a mate I shared a drink with there. When this all ends, I will count my friends again.

It's the little things, of course, except for those for whom it's the big thing.

Afternoon Headline Roundup

I am told Mr. Kirshenbaum lost his temper during a live show yesterday. Jesus christ, things are bad.

Fighting continues in Lebanon, in varying intensities from 'high' to 'Fuck'. The IDF says the conflict could last another 10 days. Three days ago it was a week. Three days before that, it was also a week. We must be getting better.

Israel begins using "The lessons of Lebanon" in the Gaza strip.

Can't find a english source, but the ticker on Haaretz mentiones a quote by Dan Halotz, Commander of the IDF and all around handsome guy of the IDF, that "For every rocket volley at Haifa we will bomb ten houses in the Shiite neighborhood of Beirut.". That's using "the lessons of Gaza" in Lebanon! A post later on on why this is a horribly stupid tactic.

However, our dear PM seems to be realizing that his avowed strategy so far isn't working, and now backs foreign forces in Lebanon. 'Foreign' meaning 'Anyone who isn't America', our Olmert not being a political newborn despite all appearances. I'm not sure of Lebanonian goverment response to this, nor do I have the time to research - more later.

Good afternoon.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Course In Recent History

Good morning. First thing: Strike the Al Queda threat theory. The busyness of the Ben Gurion airport this night was the first shipment of weapons from the United States. Sources aren't allowed to say if the bunker blasters were included, but we'll presume that they are if any are used in the next few days.

But let's start the day off with some propoganda. It's better than coffee. From Ynet:

Despite the hardships though, the Israeli people are almost unanimously united in their backing of the military's efforts to defend them, and their support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A firm determination is shared by nearly all of the people of this country to see this war through until the aggressors to the north are dealt with.


Incisive reporting.

More!

Since Israel evacuated southern Lebanon six years ago, an act of good faith made by a hopeful neighbor striving for peace and respected international borders, Iran has sent in its Quds (Jerusalem) Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to provide Hizbullah with tens of thousands of rockets, missiles, and automatic weapons.


Now, i'm not saying that most of this isn't true. I am saying that most of this is bullshit.

Right, you horrible foreigners, it's time for a history lesson. Watching the media, confused and lost in a world you never made, it's understandble that you haven't a bloody clue. So let's sum up the current Crisis In The Middle East.

We start in Gaza!

On the 25th of June 2006, insurgents from several Palestinian military organisations infiltrated a IDF post via tunnel. They killed two soldiers, and kidnapped a third. This third soldier, Corporal Galid Shalit (Who will turn 20 next month), sits at the center of this whole mess: remember the name.

As per tradition whenever a terrorist organization captures a IDF soldier, the militants immediatly demanded the release of prisoners in exchange for him. Israel refused, and demanded his immediate return. No dice.

On June 28th, IDF forces entered the Gaza strip once more. It is to be noted, filth foreigners, that IDF forces had not been seen in the strip since the Hitnatkut, and had not planned to return. Now, however, we returned. Tanks and bulldozers and ground forces and artillery all poured into the strip, in a attempt to put pressure on the civilian population and force the militants to return Corporal Shalit.

On June 29, IDF forces began arresting members of the Hamas political wing - in other words, the goverment, with the unstated aim of trading them in for the kidnapped soldier. Again, no dice.

Thus, military operations in the north continued on in varying stages of intensity, a true muddle of a Middle East Crisis, until...

July 12th! Hezbollah, a sorta-not-really-but-yes-really-terrorist - which, filthy foreigners, has nothing to do with Hamas and follows a different religon - organisation initiates a unprovoked rocket attack on the Israeli town of Shelomi, which honestly deserved it for being a crummy town. Hezbollah militants then attack two IDF Humvees on patrol, killing three and kidnapping two others - Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. IDF forces immediatly gave pursuit, in the process losing a tank with full crew complement - four more casualties. The kidnapped soldiers were not recovered.

On July 13th (10 days ago, if you're counting), Israel declared a semi-state of war. The international airport of Beirut was bombed repeatedly, in a attempt to keep the kidnapped soldiers inside Lebanon. Lebanonese infastructure, bridges, roads, were likewise targetted, for the same reason. The avowed goal was the return of the soldiers.

Hezbollah retaliated by, to the surprise of everyone in Israel except the military, covering the entirety of the north of Israel with Katyusha and missile strikes. Here, then, is the main difference between this conflict and anything else in the past decade or so - a tangible continuing threat to the main populace of Israel. In other words, a attack on the home front.

The priority of any military action became the utter and complete destruction of Hezbollah. The Air Force began a series of systematic bombings on Hezbollah strongholds, warehouses, and sympathetic neighborhoods, guided by previously un-noticed evidence. The high civilian death toll incurred by these bombings did not deter Hezbollah, as they continued (and yet continue) to bombard the north in ever-increasing numbers.

As it became increasingly clear that the only way to stop the bombardment was to enter with ground troops, reservist troops have been called in, tanks have massed at the border, and a tactic of steady raids and incursions has been drafted and put into action.

Thus stands the situation as I type. Are we now better educated? Good.

Next in the Filthy Foreigner series: Hezbollah, Hamas, the difference between two fronts, and why this is all fucked up beyond belief, as usual.

One Hour Past Midnight Report

IDF forces have entered (After a long battle) the village of Maroun al-Ras in Southern Lebanon. It will be used as a command post for the next few days, possibly more. It's not certain as yet how secure the post is. I guess it's on, now.

The rocket fire continues - 17 wounded today, as 160 rockets fired down on the north. Another barrage is going on as I type - 2 wounded in Naharia and Carmiel. Isn't all this action supposed to bloody stop that? Maybe i've been misinformed.

Two uncorroborated statements: There seems to be some action in-and-around the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. Very uncorroborated: Possible Al Queda threat. More on this when I get the information.

Six to seven hundred thousand refugees have fled southern Lebanon. Who would have thought that tactic would actually work?

Of course, in all of this chaos, everyone seems to have forgotten Hamas and Gilad Shalit. Don't worry, we're working on it. The current tactic- IDF forces enter the area, fortify in buildings, shoot everyone who shoots at them. It's a handy one for flushing out insurgents, though i'm not quite sure how it helps free Gilad Shalit anymore than pissing in the sand.

More in the morning, or just later on if events keep streaming in as they are now.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Morning Headline Roundup And A Tempting Theory

More for the sudden, shocking and gorgously honest reporting than for giving us anything new, from CNN:

"Word passes quickly in the morning that Israeli bombs have hit the town hard overnight. We quickly head to the hospital and find a scene of carnage.

Children are being removed from a makeshift morgue at the hospital. We watch as a child's body is taken from the cooler, placed on the floor and wrapped in cellophane.

Red Cross workers have masks on their faces to lessen the stench of decay. No journalist -- or anyone who has been in a war zone -- will ever forget that smell."



Last afternoon, a draft of thousands was called. Have you heard? We support limited ground operations these days.

Actually, the signs seem to point to actual limited ground operation protocols. Just this morning, a infantry force discovered a large warehouse of weaponry in the village of Maruan-A-Ras over the border, no losses or enemy casualties reported. Nahal forces are likewise reported to be heading north. No english reports I can see yet - NRG has the original.

On to more stuff! From, again, Ha Aretz, the words of the Lebanonian Defense Minister:

"The Lebanese army - and I stress - the Lebanese army will resist and defend and will prove that it is an army that deserves respect."


He's lying, of course; the Lebanonese army doesn't deserve respect. Still, here's a thought - stay with me for a moment:

The Lebanese army pro forma moving against IDF forces in Lebanon is a good thing.

How could this be a good thing?

IDF forces will be moving in south Lebanon. To make a show of force against the IDF, the Lebanon Army will be forced to deploy, of course, in the same areas as the IDF - namely, the south of Lebanon. But wait, you cry - this whole thing started because the Lebanon Army was too weak too engage Hizbollah by occupying the south!

Yes, but we just spent the past two weeks weakening them up for ground forces. Who said they had to be our ground forces? So- here, then, are the Lebanonese forces moving south, making growly faces at the IDF, either mopping up Hizbollah or enlisting them as they go. The IDF, not wanting to spark open symmetrical conflict, retreats down across the border.

The Lebanonese Army is left deployed in the south of Lebanon, with full international support.

"...hey," says Nasrallah, "Wait a minute..."

Introductions: Or, The Moustache Of Our Lord General

There is a old computer game called Conflict: Middle East Political Simulator, or Middle East Conflict for short. I'm not even kidding.

The game (In horrible howevermany-bit graphics and utterly simply interface) pits the player as Israel, that country of countries, in a hypothetical 1997 in which the Prime Minister has just been assasinated. You, the new PM, must pull the many opposing sects of Israeli society together in order to achieve economic stabilty and a glorious future for all.

Nah, i'm just kidding. But wouldn't it be a great change of pace? Think of the cover art.

The game is really very simple: Each turn, you are faced with buttons for the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan & Egypt (The game was created in 1990 - back when peace treaties were a absurd idea). You can do several things to affect your realtions with each country: You can improve or destroy your diplomatic relationship or you can aid/dissaude insurgent groups within the country. The next screen allows you to place your troops on any border you'd like, strike at nuclear, military, industrial or civilian institutions of enemy countries (That is, everyone), put money into nuclear research of your own, buy more weapons from the world, and, of course, invade.

Middle East Conflict ends (Usually within a game-year, or twenty minutes of play) when you have conquered or thrown into complete chaos all the neighbouring countries. When a country is conquered and/or thrown into chaos, of course it is declared a U.N. peacekeeping zone and handily taken out of your hands, so no worries about that sort of thing.

When the game ends, to nonexistant fanfare and a concise "Good job, Mr. Prime Minister!", you get to start it all over again.

Good morning, everyone. My name is Idan Cohen, and i'm going to be taking you down a horrible horrible road everyone is going to regret.