Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Israel's Terror Drill
Across Israel Tuesday, there were dozens of bizarre scenes combining horror with comedy.

The horror was what the two-day nationwide drill was simulating: mass rocket attacks, chemical bombings and suicide bombings in which hundreds of people are killed, many more wounded, and the country is thrown into a state of emergency.

In part the purpose of the drill was to apply lessons learned from last summer’s war with Hizballah. Then, many Israelis complained the emergency services did not respond properly to the crisis. The drill, though planned before that war, has become part of a process of self-examination in which every part of the country’s infrastructure that dealt with the war—the army, the political leadership, the police, the medical services, social services, etc.—is being examined.

In some cases the re-examination is unofficial. The official inquiries promise to ruin careers. The Winograd Commission, formed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to assess the conduct of the Lebanon war, may well lead to Olmert’s demise. Leaks already indicate that the findings could damn Olmert and several other senior Israeli politicians to political oblivion. And, in the rough and tumble of Israeli politics, there is already talk—and lots of it—of who will replace Olmert when he falls.

And in part the exercise was to prepare for what many fear could come: renewed war with Hizballah, intensified conflict with the Palestinians who are increasingly fed-up with what will soon be forty years of Israeli occupation, and, looming ever larger in the minds of many Israelis, the possibility of a showdown with Iran over its nuclear programme.

But back to the exercise: Thousands of police, soldiers, emergency personnel and others are participating, recreating multiple, simultaneous attacks on Israel. At a high school in Ramat Gan, a Tel Aviv suburb, I snuck away from the more than one hundred cameramen and reporters kept behind the police tape, and stood as nonchalantly as I could among dozens of army and police officers and bigwigs on hand to observe the exercise. I had a small video camera with me, and hoped to get shots no one else could. At the other edge of the crowd, I saw still photographer Alexandra Boulat, who had also snuck around. Together we helped ourselves to the brass’ coffee, buns and biscuits, and waited for the action to begin. After a half hour of speeches and presentations by various men in uniforms, we heard shark crackles coming from the other side of the school, and moments later a man in a blue jacket and a red-and-white kaffiyeh, or Arab headdress, running through the playground with an AK-47 assault rifle. He fiddled for a few moments with a black bag then ran away. Seconds later thick yellow smoke (meant to be a deadly chemical agent) filled the air, and the soldiers cum students, many lying on the ground, half-heartedly called out for help.

After a few minutes delay police in chemical suits showed up, then ambulances, then soldiers. After that a group of young men, high school students, came rushing in, some with small video cameras. They were reporters and I must say, they were the most convincing participants. They shouted and harassed the police, tried to get through police lines, and generally made a nuisance of themselves. Later still, a larger crowd of similarly young men showed up, shouting even louder. They were the parents, followed by more young men, supposed to be the angry mob.

All the while, ambulance crews were trying to take away the wounded, and real journalists were trying to extract a story from the simulated pandemonium.

Even though it was all deadly serious business, there was something light hearted about it all. Many of the participants, young men and women doing their compulsory military service, many still in their teens, simulated the dead and the dying. They had smiles on their faces, were giggling when they were supposed to be gagging. The blood was just red dye. And when the exercise was over, they arose from death, had a laugh, brushed themselves off and walked away.

-- From Ben Wedeman, CNN International Correspondent
Lucky that they can have a laugh, brush themselves off and then walk away, who cares if the Palestinians can't do the same, right?
According to a recent BBC World Service poll conducted by Globescan 56% of the world think Israel has a negative influence on the world. It saddens me to see that Israel already lost the war as most of the world unjustly blames her for everything that is wrong with their lives. Israel needs to be prepared for attempts of destruction at all times. Everyday, in mosques, schools and governments around the world people are openly calling for the destruction of Israel. Let's be intellectually honest with ourselves, everybody including Israel agrees there should be an independent Palestine. On the other hand Palestine claims it will destroy Israel. Can you blame Israel for its survival instinct?
Sadly, Israel will always need to be preparing for the worse case scenarios as long as fundamentalist Islam is alive and well in the Middle East.
Israel left Gaza a year ago and Palestinian militants have responded by sending rockets into Sderot & Ashkelon. Israel left southern Lebanon in 2000 and Hizballah similarily rocketed Haifa and the Galilee (2007). In both cases, Israeli soldiers were kidnapped or killed. So, when Israel leaves the West bank... ?
Moe Loubani, you do not know what you are talking about.

You should come here, visit malls, coffe houses, take public transportation and shake with fear that you will be blown up by someone who cannot have a laugh, brush himself off and walk away.

You don't know the facts, just the propaganda. I suggest you try to get hold of Palestinian school books,read them and then talk, O.K.?

Ben, you know enough about us (even Hebrew according to your bio on CNN) to know that these drills are dead serious, even if done in good spirits!!
It saddens me that to this age & in this millineum we still have the instincts of ancestors - war & nothing but it. I agree that the conflict between Israel & Palestine still exists but so did the conflict between Catholics & Protestants. But we learn with time that anger, hatred & revenge are not the answer. This also applies to the use of power & guns.
Drill or no drill this obviously is no solution to this conflict and one day we will look back at it & remember that this is how probably the third world war started.
I am fed up with Arab deuplicacy. My ancestors were sold into slavery by Arab traders. Now they portrait themselves as good friends of the Africans. However, they slaughter the non-Muslim populations in Sudan and inthe Horn of Africa. The only country that did some good was Israel, with significant agricultural aid. Unlike the US, who gave money and food, Israel gave knowledge. When did we get anything like this from Arabs? And to think that the world now blames Israel for the mis-deeds of Palestinians...
To take away from arab culture by blaming them for slave trade is silly. The US had slaves for two hundred years and a more brutal slavery than you would ever know. And what are you doing in south africa if your ancesers were taken to the arab world. Arabs gave the first alchemy and astronomy and all religions came from the arab world, not from africa or the west and much much more came from the middle east and arabs.

The Arab land has had many peoples come and claim that jerusalem is theirs and they were all forced out. This time it is not the church vs Salah al deen, that has sent armies. It is Israel and the US and one day they will go back to the west and the whole land will stay arab land as it always was. This entire conflict is a remnant of WWII and the holocaust.

It seems hard to beleive because people ignore history and want to believe so badly in the dreams they are in. Arab people will not give up on reclaiming their land and this is because of fundamental islam and many more reasons and these reasons have been in the middle east forever and wont die off. So the cause wont die either! Just as it hasn't in these last 40 years of occupation.
the last year's war against the hizballah was a far from good compared to the israeli invasion in beirut in the 80's. The way they prosecute the war is bad and miscoordianted.We have the most sophistacated weapons in our dispossal yet we had hizballah comes out a bit victorious in the aftermath.Next time no buts and ifs because the next confrontation with them would be surely Israeli victory.Whoever be the president dont blame him (olmert)its should be the frontline generals whom to be blame.This time the hizballah had rearmed by their sponsor Iran.The tunnels and trenches along the northern border had been repaired.The next war we'll make sure no more of the errors the israeli troops had done last year.God bless.
Israel does not want peace, niether does it cousin America who vetos every U.N resoloution in condemning Israel. Why is it right for American made helicopters to go after so called terrorist when there is a ceasefire, yet when their only way of retaliating is a matyr , they are called terrorist, Israeli civilians are just like palestinian cilvilians, yet Israeli complain about living in fear, look at the numbers more palestinian children men and women have dies at the hands of Israel than the other way around. And if the world decides to condemn Israel who is USA to veto it. When they invaded Iraq China Russia vetoed yet America went to this unjust war. The death of Israel is the only solution in the eys of arabs is to destroy Israel who doesn not want peace.
On a little side note to John Legend, the ethnic Arab peoples didn't control the area of Palestine or current day Israel until about 700 CE. Ethnic Arabs originate from the Arabian Peninsula - hence the name Arab - and they didn't emerge as a major controlling force or ethnic population in the greater Middle East until well after the initial Arab conquests during the early Caliphate. One could also argue that Palestine was majority Jewish around the time of Jesus, so you could argue that they take precedence and therefore have rightful claim to the land.

Also to John Legend, it seems to me that Islam isn't the only religion centered in Jerusalem (especially since Islam's two most holy cities are Mecca and Medina). If I recall correctly, the Dome of the Rock is built upon the Jewish Temple Mount, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also exists in Jerusalem. I would think that the place where Abraham bound Isaac in Judaism, or where Jesus was crucified in Christianity, or where Muhammad ascended to heaven in Islam would be important to all three religions, not just Islam. And if you really must know, the entire conflict is a remnant of World War I. Israel wasn't created only because of European guilt over the Holocaust. Try looking up the Balfour Declaration, the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence, and the Sykes-Picot Treaty .
The truth of the matter is that Israel brought this on itself. They had no right to settle in Palestinia, and simply saying "We used to live there" is not enough. If that were the case, then Italy should own 25% of the world and Persia/Iran another 25%.

About the Iranian nuclear energy programme, before Israel complains about Iran's legal right to have a nuclear energy programme, they should re-examine their own nuclear arsenal first of all. Considering how Israel is not part of the NPT (nor is Pakistan, both being allies of the U.S.), and Iran would be part of the NPT, they should be allowed to possess their own nukes. Politics is a dirty game, and there's a reason Americans are widely resented among the international community. It is also a relatively well known fact that America is Israels puppet. And before anybody disagrees I suggest some non-ideological research on the internet.
Until the Mahommedans with their roughly 60 countries that cover nearly 1/3 of the land mass of the planet can accept the existence of tiny little Israel on its sliver of reclaimed desert land they will continue to live unproductive lives of an angry, hate-filled existance, fueled only by visions of hatred and killing, instead of trying to better their own lives and economy.
Israel needs to stop asking for pre-conditions to peace talks with the PA because two can play that game. What if the Palestinians decide that before any mention of peace negotiation- Israel withdraw from all 1967 West Bank territory, hand over East Jerusalem, STOP settlement expansion, and find a WIN/WIN solution for the millions of refugees living in neighbouring states. Would we ever see peace in the Middle East in this case?
The whole purpose of NEGOTIATION is to come to an agreement on issues of DISagreement.

Also- Israel/US are asking the new PA government to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and go with all previous peace agreements.
Does Israel recognize Palestines right to exist as a sovereign entity? Does Israel renounce violence? Has Irael fulfilled all previous peace agreements? - the answer to all these questions is NO. Israel is in violation of dozens of UN resolutions.
The international community, however, has set a double standard.

STOP asking for PRE-conditions and ask for negotiations. Only then will the Middle East see peace.
"Politics is a dirty game, and there's a reason Americans are widely resented among the international community. It is also a relatively well known fact that America is Israels puppet. And before anybody disagrees I suggest some non-ideological research on the internet. "

because the internet is such a great source for non biased fact only information.

no matter what israel does, there will be people who are unhappy. perhaps if israel wasn't viewed upon by the rest of the world as the "collective jew" then israel would be allowed to do what they have to do to ensure the safety of its people and its borders.
everyone seems to have a pretty strong opinion of how a place that they have never been to should be run.
It is quite interesting to read the comments on this blog. It highlights how the anti-American, anti-Israel groups have biases based on completely different sets of information they view as "facts". With the emergence of internet, a lot of "facts" based on conspiracy theories have gained credibility. To prove, I will ask a question: Who thinks September 11 was executed by Israel and/or the USA?
"Lucky that they can have a laugh, brush themselves off and then walk away, who cares if the Palestinians can't do the same, right? "

9-11 was no conspiracy, but make no mistake, but and you Americans will hate this, it was brought upon by your own goverment. How they freely slaughter Muslims, first shias in the 70's and 80's now sunni's you support the Israel aggression toward Palestine. Actually it was yall that dropped the first and only nuke bomb, which in todays time has created an arms race. Well I guess Roman, arabs Italians all thought they would run the world forever like America....the bigger they are the harder they fall. Its just too bad the good american person which theres millions of em cant speak loud enough to get rid of the real tyrants in the world. THEIR GOVERMENT. Oh ps Bush has caused more death and destruction to Iraq than Saddam ever did. And yall shot your own people and kids in Waco. Which created dont see planes in Canada....catch the drift......................
To those who are sure that "The truth of the matter is that Israel brought this on itself..."
Ask yourself why palestiniane state had not been created before 67 ? - before "Israeli occupation" ?
The problem with the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that Israel refuses to recognize Palestine. The Palestinians have agreed to recognize Israel and respect current peace treaties. And what has Israel done? Frozen international aid, refuse to recognize the Palestianian government, ignore the UN (who created Israel)... It's hard to see Israel as a victim when it has the ability to create peace through diplomacy, and refuses outright to do so. Even Britain and the IRA aren't fighting right now. Why can Israel step-up?
If only Israel put as much effort into peace and justice as it does in these drills �.
Maybe then, they wouldn�t even need drills �
It finally seems the people in this world are finally really understand the pain. suffereing, death , destruction, poverty, starvation, malnutrition, lack of education, real death camps, murder, murder, murder the palestinians are endurng at the hands of America and Israel. One thing America will never ever understand, from one side of the world to the other, every single muslim, moderate non moderate, young old, black white, are united in the full support of the PALESTINIAN PEOPLE. The kids of palestine will live in the same state as the kids in Israel. The people of PALESTINE will live in the same state as the people in Israel.
I do not know much of history but I have the feeling that before the creation of the state of israel, muslims, christians and jews were living peacefully in Palestine. If the world is ever interested in peace then the creation of the state of israel has to be reversed.
Please note that Jihadist apologists and provocateurs have been instructed in how to take part in these talkbacks - impersonating citizens of the USA, Canada and the UK, pretending to be angry Westerners who demonize Israel and beatify the Palestinians, and to keep on pushing the Big Lies. If you think that this is paranoic, then I urge you to check out the news item and instructions shown from Jihadist websites, as unmasked on Please do not be duped by some of these obviously phony postings, such as the one supposedly from Texas.
Why would Ben Wedeman describe these drills as "Bizzare"? I think what would be bizzare is if no precautions and no drills were held.

The seriousness of suicide attacks and the death and destruction that comes with them, always needs to be laughed off and made light of. It's a way to survive. It's a way of psychologically dealing with an unimaginable horror that in this part of the world, has unfortunately become an ugly reality.
as well, if we all actually loved each other, "treat each other the way you want to be treated" the world would be fine.
Death notice reads: "In sorrow and grief we announced the passing of our beloved State of Israel which was murdered by wicked gold-diggers who only sought power, men who would fight and argue. Those who destroyed you came from within you."
It looks like most of the people are closing their eyes on all what the zionist are doing for the palestinian, and hilighting all what the palestinian are defending themselves.
When all the children early in the morning they have to make the line up to cross the Israeli checkpoints in their something illogic..when 10 millions palestinians are kicked out of their land and their land is taken by the israeli, this very far from the justice, when Israel has more than 200 atomic bombs and they are fighting Iran because od the civil atomic technology...this is ridiculus...etc.. free and open minded, not controlled by the media, the zionist don't have any laglity of what they are doing, they are doing crimes!
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