Wednesday, August 10, 2005

If this is what the rehearsal is like......

1. Today, the army and police had to stop their joint dress-rehearsal for disengagement -- because the (Magav) policemen were too violent towards the soldiers playing settlers. According to YNet,
חיילים מגדוד קרקל האשימו את השוטרים כי הם באו בכוונת תחילה כדי להשתמש בכוח. השוטרים מצדם אמרו כי "אם גם בעת הפינוי יתנהגו המפונים האמיתיים באגרסיביות כמו החיילים, נשבור להם את הידיים
In other words, the soldiers [playing the settlers] accused the policemen of intending right from the beginning to use force. The policemen, for their part, said that 'if during the evacuation the real evacuees behave aggressively like the soldiers, we will break their arms."
Yes, break their arms. I would take them at their horrifying word and be very afraid for next week. This is exactly what we don't need -- idiot macho policemen all too eager to get a bit of action, play the tough guys (maybe take the opportunity to get one back at the hated settlers), and to do whatever it takes to fulfill their 'mission,' with none of the enormous sensitivity that's called for. It's a scary thought that next week depends, in good part, on people who are talking about the settlers as if they were the enemy.
I really hope that those in charge have learned the lesson from today and will both choose wisely who they send to Gaza next week (if possible) and (more likely) get the guys they trained today under control, pronto. They need to make it crystal clear to those participating in the evacuation that not only will gratuitous violence be absolutely forbidden -- but they must do everything possible to avoid even a whiff of violence, and exercise enormous restraint where in other circumstances, they might have taken action. Of-course, they must do their jobs, but everything must be done to prevent events which we all would immediately regret. (The same goes for the settlers.)
What happens next week has enormous consequences for the unity of the nation and for the way the state functions for years to come -- let alone for the individuals concerned. The soldiers and policemen can't mess up.
2. Curiously, this story disappeared off YNet at some point this afternoon. What's really suspicious, however, is that by this evening it was re-written to reflect a cheery, positive angle, emphasising how ready IDF was for the mission ahead of them and how optimistic they all were it was going to go well. Guess what wasn't mentioned? The fact the whole exercise had to be called off due to violence. (I couldn't see the story on NRG or the JPost; it's still on Ha'aretz, link above). And how, do you imagine, could such a story have been completely erased and sugared-up? It's not like controversial YNet to give up a good story, and they've never behaved responsibly before... One can only conclude that someone, somewhere exercised some pressure on the editorial staff -- presumably to protect the reputation of the IDF and the police and to shelter them from criticism they thoroughly deserve. Shame on YNet; Comments to I'd love to know (and indeed, think we need to know) what went on behind the scenes to make a usually fiery paper pull a story and replace it with a piece of propaganda.

(Hat tip: OOSJ for the links.)

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