The Bailey Mail
February 29, 2008
I have read some pretty shocking statements from members of political parties on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the one I read today was easily the most shocking. When I read Yahoo news this morning, the short news article quoted Deputy Israeli Defense Minister as saying the Palestinians would bring a holocaust on themselves if they continued firing rockets:
“The more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger ‘shoah’ because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”
Throughout the course of the day, heavy back-tracking by Vilnai’s pr team, and other members of the Israeli government has resulted in Yahoo changing the article, which now begins:
“A senior Israeli defence official said on Friday that Palestinians firing rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip would bring upon themselves what he termed a “shoah”, the Hebrew word for holocaust or disaster.”
The article then goes on to explain that the Hebrew word Vilnai used “Shoa” means disaster, and that the word is rarely used by Israelis unless they are talking about the Nazi holocaust, and they loathe the words use to describe contemporary events. The fact that the word’s literal meaning is disaster gave Vilnai’s spokesman room to manoeuvre him out of the s**t:
“Mr. Vilnai was meaning ‘disaster’. He did not mean to make any allusion to the genocide.”
Foreign Minister Arye Mekel, went further: “Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai used the Hebrew phrase that included the term ‘shoah’ in Hebrew in the sense of a disaster or a catastrophe, and not in the sense of a holocaust.”
As explained in the Yahoo article, the most common meaning of Shoa to Israelis is holocaust, Vilnai using that Hebrew word in an otherwise English speech, to me says he did so because the Israelis would take him to mean holocaust, but he would get away with it overall because of the word’s literal meaning.
It is people like Vilnai in the Israeli government and other positions of power that results in prisoner abuse and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people as a whole day in day out. And I know I will be accused of anti-Semitism for saying this but: How can a member of the Jewish faith, the faith that suffered one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind, even contemplate hinting that the country of that faith would unleash a holocaust of its own on another faith group? It is ludicrous.
The Minister was no doubt giving the tough talk because of pressure on the Israeli government to take definitive action against the rocket squads in Gaza. According to senior Israeli military officials a major ground offensive is being prepared but is not yet imminent.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak today began testing the waters of international opinion on such an operation; sending confidential letters to the world’s major leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is due to visit the region next week. Barak’s letter was reported by one of Israel’s leading daily newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth, and apparently read:
“Israel is not keen on and rushing for an offensive, but Hamas is leaving us no choice.”
When Israel’s government, particularly the Defence Minister starts sending out letters like that to world leaders, especially when they get leaked accidentally on purpose by the Israeli press, it means one thing, a major Israeli military action is in fact imminent.