Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Relative quiet, a few casualties"

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, has a good friend named Sheldon Adelson. Sheldon Adelson is a billionaire, who makes a lot of money out of the gamblers who travel to gamble in his casinos at  Macau, once a colony of Portugal and now a gambling colony of the People's Republic of China. So much money does he make out of the from gambling in Macau that he has no trouble at all to pay out of his pocket three hundred million dollars in order to finance for his good friend Binyamin Netanyahu a Hebrew newspaper called "Israel today". It loses a lot of money - but no to worry, it continues to be publish and to be distributed free to every passer by on the streets of Israel's cities, and the money keeps flowing, straight from the Macau gambling houses to the printing presses in Israel. (Sheldon Adelson was also quite generous to another good friend of his, named Newt Gingrich, who very much wanted to be President of the United States – what a shame that the voters did not get really excited).

And this morning, Sheldon Adelson 's free newspaper had a headline  reading: ""Relative quiet, a few casualties". And the article under the headline said that the Land Day demonstrations this year were not very remarkable. Yes, there were demonstrations here and there, at the Qalandiya Checkpoint and Bethlehem and on the streets of East Jerusalem and at the Gaza Strip and in the Negev and the Galilee and Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, but overall it was not really very special. Indeed, some tear gas was fired, some people got injured here and there, some ambulances were wailing their way to hospital, nothing special. A relative quiet. And oh yes, there was one fatality. It was not very prominently reported on the newspaper of Adelson and Netanyahu (To be fair, it was not very prominent on the rest of the enlightened Israeli press. either). But the paper did report it, which is not nothing, either.

A one line report: "One of the protesters was killed when he passed the Red Line defined by the IDF. Snipers shot and hit him." That's it. Report over, and one can move on to more interesting news. The Army defied a Red Line and positioned snipers, the snipers obeyed their order to the letter, shot and killed and returned safely to base. Who gave the order? Why the red line? Why shoot to kill? Was anyone in danger because a single unarmed protester passed a Red Line? Had there been no other choice? And anyway, what was the dead demonstrator's name? Enough, really, enough - how many more stupid questions are you going to ask?

In truth, at least for the last question the answer is not very difficult to find. One click on a computer mouse is quite enough. It was  Mahmoud Zaqout who went to the protest and crossed the Red Line set by the Israel Defense Forces, and got into the sights of the sophisticated sniper rifle,  and will remain 21 years old forever. But why should an Israeli news editor on March 2012 waste two minutes of his precious time to locate this information? Who cares?