Fleeing from Nazi Austria on the eve of World
War II, Sigmund Freud was asked to sign a statement saying he was not mistreated.
The old Jewish psychiatrist is said to have asked whether he could add: "I can
most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone."
Israeli Hotel Spoils Palestinians
Since the abduction of an Israeli soldier on June
25th, the world's biggest open-air
prison – Gaza Strip – has been subject to a continuous, murderous Israeli
attack, with several Palestinians killed every single day, and scores injured.
While Lebanon was flattened by millions
of Israeli bombs, nobody cared about Gaza. Following the Israeli defeat
in Lebanon, the frustrated army can now take revenge on the helpless Gazans
with renewed destructive energies. Gaza is under total
siege, with poverty at 75 percent, no electricity
in the intolerable late-summer heat, let alone proper medical
But even in these darkest days there is a single ray of light. There is someone
who does care about the people of Gaza, someone who does see them as human beings
deserving food, shelter, freedom and dignity. Guess who. Mother Teresa? Close,
but no cigar. The answer is: the Israeli army. At least if you ask Israel's
by far most popular portal, YNET, the website of Israel's most selling daily
Yediot Achronot. Read along (Hebrew;
"IDF sets up detention center near Gaza: Palestinian men held at special
temporary center set up near Gaza as IDF embarks on wave of arrests
"The Israel Defense Force set up a temporary detention center near
the border with the Gaza Strip where dozens of Palestinian men arrested by troops
operating in the tiny coastal strip are interrogated each day."
So far so good. Or not so good. One wonders what would come next: a couple
of critical questions? A short comment about the illegality of this procedure?
After all, international law explicitly forbids the abduction of people across
the border of an occupied territory, so that all Israelis involved in this "detention
center" can be accused of war crimes. Or, if international law doesn't
count, what about the Israeli law? Under what paragraph are these people arrested,
living in an area from which Israel claims to have withdrawn? Perhaps a short
comparison between the number of Israelis abducted by Palestinians (soldiers:
1; civilians: 0; children: 0) and the huge number of Palestinians abducted by
Israel? Not quite. Shall we at least live to see who the arrestees are, what
their stories may be? Well, let's read on.
"The army said soldiers have been instructed to treat the detainees
in a humane manner and stressed that most men are released after undergoing
interrogation. Released Palestinians are given a package of food staples like
sugar, oil and flour. 'We can be proud of the IDF's treatment of the Palestinians,'
reservist soldiers operating the center said. [...] 'Since yesterday, arrestees
have been pouring in,' a soldier told Ynet. 'In the afternoon a number of Palestinians
arrived, whose ages ranged from 15-year-old teenagers to adults aged 45. We
made every effort to give the Palestinians a good feeling, we set up tables,
benches, and we even set up shades so they don't have to stand in the sun.'
Soldiers said the arrestees did not seem scared, and some were seen laughing.
Most Palestinians who arrived at the center on Thursday were neither blindfolded
nor handcuffed. 'Every one of them was taken to a tent for interrogation. Those
with links to terror groups were taken by bus to another facility and the rest
were released to Gaza within hours,' soldiers said. 'We received orders to serve
them hot meals, and the brigade set a table with bread and chocolate and served
them drinks,' reservists said. 'We felt great pride for the treatment, for treating
the Palestinians with respect, even those suspected of terror activities.'"
So now we know it all. "Detention center" must be a leftist or anti-Semitic
defamation. What the Israeli army runs just outside Gaza is in fact a luxury
hotel with full board. Soldiers work in room service, giving Palestinians a
brief relief from the terrible conditions in Gaza: water, shade, food, chocolate,
hot meals, even a good laugh.
Not only adults enjoy the hotel's services: even children can be surprised
by the merciful Israeli soldiers who take them out of their wretched beds in
the middle of the night, transport them by tanks and armored personnel carriers
(air-conditioned buses to be introduced shortly, please forgive the inconvenience)
to this army-run oasis, ask them how they feel ("interrogation"),
spoil them with the hotel's excellent services, and consequently release them
well-quipped with a bag full of goodies.
The soldiers also say that most Palestinians were neither blindfolded nor handcuffed.
This is hardly confirmed by the three photos illustrating the report, in which,
out of a dozen Palestinians pictured, 12 are clearly seen blindfolded (and most
probably handcuffed as well). This, however, is quite understandable: the rumor
has it that if the precise location of the IDF Luxury Hotel were compromised,
hundreds thousands of starving Palestinians would apply, at least for free bed-and-breakfast.
Indeed, one can most highly recommend this detention center to everyone.
Media as Propaganda
This YNET report is a quite a typical example
of the mainstream Israeli media coverage of the Occupation's atrocities and
war crimes. Much (though by far not all) the information is open and accessible
to the public. Every Israeli can now know that Israel runs a concentration camp
near the allegedly no-longer-occupied Gaza, with large numbers of Palestinians,
including children, abducted from the Strip and held there for unknown periods
of time, some released, some moved on for further "treatment." But
this piece of information – to which the article dedicates approximately 50
words – is flooded by more than 200 words of pure propaganda, like in the darkest
dictatorships, which frames the news item in a safe way and silences in advance
any critical questions or thoughts. The impression the reader gets is that there's
some camp out there where Palestinians get more than a fair treatment.
Typically, the propaganda quotes just one side: the army, the soldiers, i.e.,
the perpetrators. Not a single victim is interviewed: we don't know under what
circumstances they were kidnapped, we don't know if a single word of the soldiers
is true, we don't know what the arrestees have to pay for their release (collaboration,
as usual?). Even the fact that children are kidnapped doesn't arouse any question
on the part of the "journalist" or his editors in the "free press."
And, to be on the safe side, this pure propaganda doesn't leave out the inevitable
comparison between Israel – the regional power that strangulates Gaza, kills
and wounds its citizens, men, women and children, by conventional and satanic
experimental weapons, and abducts them arbitrarily to its camps – and the
Palestinian side, which abducted one Israeli soldier and harasses the Israeli
civilians living around Gaza by primitive missiles. That's what the distorted
comparison between victims and perpetrators looks like:
"It is sad that on the other side respect to human life in not as such,
as they use children as human shields and an innocent population is under constant
threat because of terror groups."
Not a single evidence is given, but why expect one in a propaganda item.
In the readers' reactions, the so-called backtalks,
however, one can see the Israeli democracy at work. Democracy encourages controversies,
as we all know. This report too aroused a heated debate. While many readers
took great pride of the army's humanitarian behavior, even more readers disagreed,
being highly critical of the army's conduct. Highly critical, to say the least.
Here: "Why arrest? Kill them off!," several readers suggested. "Why
give them chocolate? Torture them to find our kidnapped soldier!," urged another.
"We pay with our lives for our morality; the terrorists are human trash!,"
preached yet another Israeli reader. Out of 120 backtalk items, less than 5%
questioned the validity of this cheap propagandistic report. So either the framing
worked perfectly, or the website's backtalk editors completed the job by a suitable