Saturday, December 29, 2007

29-Dec-07: Security checkpoints? Who needs 'em?

The holiday season routinely attracts a seasonal spate of superficial and frequently quite silly news reports highlighting in the most negative way the security arrangements that Israel imposes on travelers in and around its territory.

Typical of the genre is a Canadian piece entitled "Easing tensions help tourism in Bethlehem" that includes this fairly typical approach:

The first Israeli checkpoint occurs just south of Nazareth -- one of more than 500 in the occupied West Bank, according to the United Nations. Coils of razor wire block the road. Further south inside the West Bank is Jenin -- an Islamic militant stronghold. Palestinian cars aren't allowed on many West Bank roads and queue up separately at checkpoints. Israeli cars aren't required to stop. Jerusalem sits about eight kilometres north of Bethlehem. But without the right identity card, Mary and Joseph would have to skirt east to the Jordan River valley.
Poor Mary. Sad Joseph. No other way to look at this than to pity them and their fellow Palestinian Arabs and blame the entire mess on those Israelis. As in this year's holiday card published by War on Want. (Sadly consistent with War on Want's years-long record of Israel-bashing and of missing the point about the Palestinian Arabs and their woes.)

Sorry, but we find this sort of amateurish, emotive, factually-inaccurate and context-less Middle East analysis, with its undertones of classical antisemitic imagery, simply infuriating. Outrages like the War on Want's seasonal card get published because the reports of the price paid by Israelis day in, day out, for the actions of the terrorists go largely unpublished and unobserved. Go find, for instance, a report in your local media of the murder of two young Israeli hikers yesterday (Friday).

The sad reality is that Israeli security arrangements are desperately needed, and somewhat effective. Palestinian Arabs with guns, bombs, knives and suicide jackets routinely turn up at Israeli army road blocks.

A striking example: tonight, the IDF released a brief report of something that happened a few weeks ago:
The IDF and Shin Bet uncovered 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate hidden in sacks that were disguised as aid from the European Union, the army announced on Saturday. Security forces discovered the stash in the cargo of a Palestinian truck at a West Bank checkpoint earlier in December. According to the IDF, the material, hidden in sugar sacks, was planned to be used by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. "Potassium Nitrate is a banned substance in the Gaza Strip and the Judea and Samaria region due to its use by terrorists for the manufacturing of explosives and Kassam rockets," the IDF spokesperson wrote in a statement. "This is another example of how the terror organizations exploit the humanitarian aid that is delivered to the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip with Israel's approval," the statement read.
Care for some background reading on the many uses of potassium nitrate? Check out "The Anarchist's Cookbook - Explosives". And this: "All Qassams are fuelled by a solid mixture of sugar and potassium nitrate".

Strange and disturbing how so many column inches and blog stories are devoted to the inhumanity of intrusive Israeli security measures. And so little to their life-saving effects.

Those "sugar" sacks, ostensibly supplied as aid by EU sources, are laid out for closer inspection in an Israeli security facility in the picture below.

1 comment:

Claire said...

Congratulations, for your excellent, factual reporting on what really goes on with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. It is so rare to find any media with the courage to do this, some because they really believe their own political agendas but many because they are afraid of the death threats proffered regularly by Palestinians against their reporters, should they do so.
C. DARC, Paris