Wednesday, May 26, 2004 02:33 PM
Roy Osherove posted this joke (read it there - I'm not about to post that here). Roy, an Israeli programmer, wrote this about the joke:
"This joke came in the mail today, and while I'm not usually into politics, I just had to write this down. It would have been really funny if it wasn't so sad (and don't flame me, this is all in good, satirical, dark humor)."
Like Roy, I live in Israel, and I haven't posted about politics in this blog. When I read this joke, however, I snapped. I snap a lot these days - all I have to do is read the paper, turn on the radio or TV, or just listen to other people. Still, I'm not going to write about my opinions here. Instead, I'll just provide some facts I find interesting.
This week, Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff, has once again been quoted as saying the IDF is "the most moral army in the world." This has been one of Mofaz's favorite lines for years. Mofaz's successor, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, had another gem. In a recent interview, Yaalon said: "In 3 and a half years, dozens of houses have been demolished, suddenly everybody's waking up. Who's fault is that?" If you read Hebrew, you can read the interview here. Like many other priceless quotes from Israeli officials, I couldn't find an English version. Officials tend to address local and foreign media differently.
Yaalon's figures, by the way, only concern the IDF's recent operation in Rafah, during which the demolition of houses was approved by the Israeli Supreme Court. The number of demolished Palestinian houses overall is staggeringly higher.
Today, Amnesty International published its annual report, covering the year 2003. The section concerning Israel and the Occupied Territories opens as follows:
"The Israeli army killed around 600 Palestinians, including more than 100 children. Most were killed unlawfully – in reckless shooting, shelling and bombing in civilian residential areas, in extrajudicial executions and through excessive use of force."
The report covers human rights violations by both Israel and the Palestinians. As an Israeli citizen, however, I am much more interested in my own government's behavior. Another interesting (as in the old Chinese curse) Amnesty article is the recent call to investigate the killing of children.
Israel likes to see itself as an eternal victim. I don't buy that, and I think very few people today do.
So there. I didn't flame Roy. I didn't even write about my personal opinions, although some of them are painfully evident. Here's one of them: I did not find that joke funny. At all.