It’s a circus down here, in rural Israel. The politicians are falling into regular patterns of self-gain and violence (I’m still deciphering means from ends-neither ever seem justified), and the media is on crowd control. I’ve been following mainstream media closely, this time, and here’s what I got so far:
- Warspeak – Why don’t they call it what it is? They keep on calling it an "operation". Why? It is a war, isn’t it?
"Grad" is the new "Katyusha". Every war, the media drills some kind of technical term and it becomes a part of the collective memory. Four days ago, no one knew the words "Grad bomb". Now, when they interview the affected public, it’s a mainstay of the vocabulary.
- Why this is happening – Every time a war breaks out, I naively ask myself "why?". It’s never for a good enough reason. I don’t think Ehud Barak or Ehud Olmert ever gave two shits about Gilad Shalit (the supposed reason behind Lebanon War II) or Beber Vaaknin. Anyone following the Israeli mainstream media, in the past two months can find motives for the current war. This is my theory:
Barak is the obvious one: There’s an election coming up. All he has to do is get a notch in his Minister of Defense sash and he’s constituency will grow substantially (that’s how trigger happy Israelis are).
Olmert is now facing criminal charges and is stepping down in disgrace. He will be PM for 2 more months. About a week ago he started talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul (Turkey has been mediating indirect talks between Syria and Israel), and coming out with unabashedly optimistic statements about an achievable peace with Syria. My contention is that these statements and this war are his pathetic last stabs at a legacy.
- Buried foreign media – I already wrote the updates on this, but this is crucial. For 2 months, foreign media has been kept out of Gaza. It’s now (after a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court) been allowed to enter 8 journalists, when the checkpoints will be opened. Now all that’s left is to see when they’ll be opened. (Maybe when "Operation Cast Lead" is over?)
- Israel/America against the world – Let’s hope Obama takes better care of his constituency than foreign affairs. This is what he had to say about the state of affairs:
"Israel has the right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians." (click for the rest of this grotesquely 1984ish letter)
Arabs all over the world are in the streets. Israeli’s are in the streets. All of them protesting this war. The UN is against it. European PM’s have been encouraging ceasefire. Which, do you think, is visible in the Israeli news?
The Sarcosi ceasefire talks, by the way, were dismissed as unrealistic, by both politicians and the media.
- The latest advancement – I fear that the Gazans are looking at much more extreme destruction. Yesterday evening talk of conquering Gaza began. Of course, it was said with much dismay: "Do you mean to say this might lead to the taking over of Gaza?!" Says wide-eyed Micky Heimovitz, favorite co-anchor in the 8:00 O’clock news, and an effective instrument of calming the renegade public.