Monday, October 31, 2005

Slight Misunderstanding by Isaac Kohn

Violent Clash In Outpost Eviction

More than 500 security troops destroyed Givat Lehavah, near Shechem and associated with the nearby community of Yitzhar. Police arrested 19 residents and protestors, including one woman who suffered a fractured hip and was hospitalized.
...Police and army personnel used bulldozers to wreck two empty trailer homes at Givat Lehavah. Previously, security forces towed away mobile homes.
About 150 protestors were at the site even though there was no advance notice. "We kept the utmost secrecy this time," said police official Shlomo Sagi. Previously, residents were able to bring up to 1,000 protestors when there was advance notice....
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was outraged. This can not be tolerated. A sharp rebuke must be issued immediately.
"Perhaps," he thought out loud to his aide, "perhaps an emergency Security Council meeting is in order."
The aide, surprised at the sudden anger, stammered a response, but before he could utter two words, Kofi Annan stormed out of the sitting room. "But, but..." was all the poor aide could mouth as the door slammed shut. The aide stood dumbfounded in disbelief.
Back in his office at the United Nations building in New York, the secretary general, still furious, shouted to his secretary: "Get me Prime Minister Sharon on the line!"
"But Mr. Secretary, it's now almost three in the morning in Jerusalem."
"First of all, young lady, it's Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem! The United Nations recognizes only Tel Aviv as Israel's capital. Second of all, I don't give two feathers as to how late it is. Wake him up! Now!"
Flustered (she's seen him angry before - especially in reaction to anything regarding Israel - but never this furious), she retreated quickly back to her own desk and dialed the prime minister's private number.
It rang only once. "Shalom," a male voice was heard.
"Sorry that I'm calling at such a late hour," she began to apologize, "but this is an urgent call from Secretary General Kofi Annan. He must speak to your prime minister immediately."
"I'm sorry, Miss, but the prime minister had a very long and tiring day. He just went to sleep. Less than fifteen minutes ago."
"Hold a minute, please." Nervously, she knocked on the door. "Mr. Secretary General, the prime minister's aide says that he can't wake him up because he just went to sleep."
Punching the red button on his telephone console, Secretary General Kofi Annan hissed into the receiver, "Get Sharon on the phone! Now!"
The young bodyguard in Jerusalem, smiled and responded, "And what is the purpose of this disturbing call?"
Fuming, the secretary general responded in measured yet deliberate tones: "Get me the prime minister. Tell him that the Security Council is about to convene and...."
On the New York side of the phone connection, the shuffle of slippers was heard clearly, and suddenly, the tired, raspy voice of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon echoed in the room.
"Yes. Who is this?"
"Kofi Annan," scribbled the aide on a piece of paper and handed it to the prime minister.
"Your Excellency! How nice of you to call! To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Listen carefully, Mr. Prime Minister. I heard about, and then I read a concise report regarding, the Israeli army's action against a caravan of Palestinian refugees living in Yis-har near Nablus. I read how you stormed them at night, without warning, and about the brutality you employed to dislodge them from their legitimate living quarters. I understand that one poor Palestinian woman was beaten severely and broke her hip. Your goons also arrested 19 innocents."
"Excuse me, Mr. Secretary, if I'm very blunt, but what in blue-blazes are you talking about?"
"Mr. Prime Minister, I suggest you stop playing games and listen carefully. The action you took today in dislodging the residents of that village is illegal under the United Nation Charter for the Defense of Disadvantaged Refugees, the Geneva Convention and every other decent law designed to protect people, their homes and belongings. My sources tell me that your army brought in those heinous Caterpillar bulldozers and then your soldiers proceed to crush the huts these poor people were living in. Your soldiers shot without cause and, in general, created a very frightening situation."
"But, Mr. Secretary..." the Prime minister attempted to break in to the non-stop monologue. "You misread...."
"Mr. Sharon! You promised again and again that you will ease off in preparation for the elections in the Palestinian Authority. You promised over and over that the 'disengagement' will proceed on schedule. You promised that all obstacles are to be removed in order to facilitate a smooth election process. Needless to say, the unprovoked action you took against that little village near Nablus was uncalled for and creates much harm. I want you to know that I called for an emergency Security Council session to discuss and debate both your unconscionable provocation and the dire consequences that it may trigger."
The prime minister, his hair disheveled, his pajamas wrinkled and with his glasses askew on his bulbous nose, burst out laughing. All those present (two bodyguards and an aide) also exploded in hysterical laughter, practically rolling on the carpet.
Stunned at the sudden outburst, the voice of a very insulted secretary general came across loud and clear: "Laughs best is he who laughs last, Mr. Prime Minister. This is a complete insult."
Grabbing the receiver again, Prime Minister Sharon, unable to stop laughing, spoke to Kofi Annan: "Mr. Secretary General, I respect you. I really do, and I admire your one-sided, unwavering righteous stance for the Palestinian refugees. I wish, however, to assure you that I also have the best intentions vis-a-vis their future. I will not do anything to hinder the coming election. In fact, if you noticed, my army is under strict orders not to respond too harshly for all of the hundreds of mortars that are being lobbed against Jewish settlements. And the army (and police) is occupied in vigorous training for the upcoming expulsion, which, I promise you again, will be carried out. You will yet come back with Security Council accolades and congratulations for Israel. The expulsion will be total, yet, only the beginning. Trust me, Your Excellency. I may have lied to my own people, but never to you. So, stay with me to the end of this movie."
"Mr. Prime Minister, all is fine and well. But what of today's disgusting action against...."
"My, my, my, Mr. Annan. I suggest you re-read the report and re-examine the news item. You will note that the 'village' in question was not Yis-har, in Arabic, but Yitzhar, in Hebrew - a Jewish outpost. Let me repeat slowly: J-e-w-i-s-h outpost, near Nablus. Those people we beat, arrested and jailed are J-e-w-i-s-h settlers. Those huts our bulldozers demolished were J-e-w-i-s-h trailers. Everything in this action was Jewish. It was a learning experience and an exercise, designed to train our soldiers. And those UN and Geneva charters? Well, you know, Mr. Secretary General, that they do not apply, ever, to Jews."
"Really? Are you telling the truth? I'm so sorry for my misunderstanding."
"That's okay. Don't fret a minute over it. Your misunderstanding is quite understandable. And your relief at being corrected is also understandable and universally admired."
"My goodness! Jews? Not Palestinians? Not Serbs? Not Sudanese? Not Croatians? Not Iraqis? Not Eritrean? Only J-e-w-s. Thank G-d for that."
"Yes, only J-e-w-s, Your Excellency."
"Well, that's different. Sweet dreams, Mr. Prime Minister. I apologize for waking you."
"Good night, Your Excellency."

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