RSS Feeds
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Occupation magazine - Commentary

Home page  back Print  Send To friend

IDF Refuses Palestinians Who Fought Carmel Fire Israeli Entry For Appreciation Ceremony
Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam

Let it not be said that the IDF doesnít know how to show proper appreciation to Palestinians when they come to Israelís aid in an emergency. During the Carmel Fire, the PA offered Shimon Peres Palestinian firefighters to combat the blaze. The offer was accepted and they performed admirably by all accounts. This led to several ceremonies in Israel extending thanks to the firemen for their work.

Before one such event, the PA submitted to the IDF the names of ten individuals who would attend so they would be approved for entry into Israel. When they arrived at the border crossing seven were on the approved list. The other three were out of luck. So none went and the ceremony was abruptly cancelled.

In his original statement, the fire chief said more politely than what Iím about to say: we were kosher enough to allow all of us to enter Israel to fight the fire. But after itís over itís back to business as usual. Israeli Palestinian MK Ahmed Tibi summarized the incident succinctly:

A shame and disgrace, any other words are superfluous.

All a technical glitch explains the IDF. We needed their ID numbers and they werenít provided. One wonders why the ceremonies for the men at the Presidentís residence and foreign ministry went off without a hitch, while this event, to be held in the Druze village of Isfiya, was spoiled by bureaucratic foot-dragging. The IDF coordinating body whose job it is to facilitate such cross border movement warned:

Not to make a big stink and blow the issue out of proportionÖThe delay in authorization originated in an error of coordination between the sides and because there was a tight deadline [for approval]ÖCoordination between Israeli and Palestinian security forces will continue as normal.

ďAs normal?Ē You mean the Israeli side will continue making a bollocks of things as long as Palestinians are to be the victims of their incompetence or worse.

Imagine if the Haitian government invited those Israeli doctors who served on the ostensible humanitarian mission after the earthquake and the local authorities prevented 7 of the 10 doctors from entering the country because Israel hadnít provided them proper ID numbers. Or imagine, God forbid, a Palestinian natural disaster and Israeli personnel arriving at the border to help and being turned away for the sin of not providing proper paperwork. Does it make any sense? Does the Occupation make any sense? The whole thing is an utter mess. Instead of calling it the IDF Coordinating Authority they should rename it the IDF Balagan [`Mess`] Authority. Thatís more appropriate considering the quality of service provided.

These are the same kind souls who prevent Gaza students from leaving Gaza to attend university in the West Bank or abroad, and the same who prohibit Gazaís terminal cancer patients from entering Israel for treatment. You never know what they might bring into the country with them.

Links to the latest articles in this section

The US and nuclear programs in the Middle East
How can Israel, Palestine return to a two-state solution?
A matter of concrete debate