Israel fails the earthquake test

Earthquakes occur in the Holy land roughly every hundred years. The last major disaster occurred in 1927. So, by the law of stats, something big is round the corner.

This month’s tragedy in Japan has only served again just how unprepared Israel is for the next (inevitable?) earth shattering event in the region. Despite reports from the ombudsman, debates in the Kenesset and appeals from academics, the state’s fund for dealing with damages from an earthquake, a fund which exists and operates in countries like Japan and is supposed to supply solutions for the immediate economic needs – is empty.”

But as Japan was facing meltdown, the government of Israel had to deal with two more immediate disasters.

Late Friday night of the 11th of March, two terrorists broke into the town of Itamar on the West Bank and murdered 5 people in their sleep. One of the slain included a three month old toddler.

CNN did not consider it a terror incident at first. The BBC downplayed the act. Sky ignored the story entirely.

As for the government in Jerusalem, it failed to realise that it had to compete for media airspace with the horrors in Japan or with images of the civilians trying to combat Colonel Ghaddafi. Graphic pictures of the victims were released far too late. The mini humanitarian debacle, and its implications for the fragile peace process, was missed by the world.

Then, a few days later, Israeli commandos boarded a ship, the Victoria, which had sailed from Turkey and was destined for Egypt. Intelligence reports indicated that it was bearing Iranian weapons for Hamas . Bingo! The top brass in Tel Aviv had got it right, and a big photo op was arranged for the next day.

BUT, somebody had forgotten to explain to the Mossad how to host international journalists and cameramen. After keeping the visitors hanging around in the heat for 2 hours and with few briefings available in English, 200 frustrated media people departed the scene…with no story.

So, the world will never know how hundreds of tons of weapons were prevented from reaching the hands of terrorists in Gaza. And what would Hamas have done with these arms of destruction? As reported by the BBC,

Civilian areas in southern Israel were heavily shelled by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza on Saturday morning (19.3.11), when more than 50 mortars were fired at the regional councils of Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol and Sdot Hanegev.

These are stories are real interest. Large numbers are being placed in danger or slaughtered by those who value life of others to the same degree as the Colonel in Libya. The world ignores. In parallel, many of the official Israeli spokespeople are so incompetent that they are frequently unable to make a difference.

It took a Palestinian journalist to pin point the dichotomy. Khaled Abu Toameh, discussing the complexities of Palestinian spin, concluded:

It is disgraceful that while Israel admits Palestinian patients to its hospitals, Arab hospitals are denying them medical treatment for various reasons, including money. But then one is reminded that Arab dictators do not care about their own people, so why should they pay attention to an 11-year-old boy who is dying at the entrance to a hospital because his father didn’t have $1,500 handy? But as the death took place in an Arab country – and as the victim is an Arab – why should anyone care about him? Where is the outcry against Arab apartheid?

Where has the West been until now? Why does Israel not shout out more about this hypocrisy? And who will remember that Israel once again is one of the first countries to send a medical team to help earthquake victims, this time in Japan?

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  1. [...] Afternoon Tea In Jerusalem What you want to know about Israeli commercial life and society « Israel fails the earthquake test [...]


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