[A-List] Israel: learn from the experts
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
Mon Mar 22 07:07:46 MST 2004
Learn how to attack Gaza as the Israelis do . from the army itself
For just $500 the Israeli army will teach you how to wage war in refugee
camps and handle a tank in cities. Paul Kearns in Tel Aviv finds out more
The Sunday Herald, 21 March 2004
LAST week, four Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli
Defence Forces (IDF) launched air strikes on the streets of Gaza City, an
Israeli response, no doubt, to the double Palestinian suicide bomb attack in
the Israeli port city of Ashdod last Sunday which killed 11.
In the past fortnight, 25 Palestinians have been killed and over 100 injured
as a result of similar IDF raids in the refugee camps of Gaza.
Tomorrow, the Israeli Defence Forces will openly sell their knowledge and
expertise of such Gaza operations in what is advertised as "the first of its
kind in the world", an IDF-hosted international conference on low-intensity
The three-day conference in Tel-Aviv will include seminars on such topics as
Armoured raids and operating tanks in built-up areas, Destruction in the
battlefield and in centres of population, and Warfare in refugee camps.
Last month, Israel found itself in the dock at the International Court of
Justice in The Hague over the construction of its controversial barrier in
the West Bank. Tomorrow at the conference, the Israeli army is selling its
know-how on how to erect security fences, gates, road blocks, obstacles, and
techniques in "encircling a city and closing off an area".
"While people are working for peace, the Israelis are teaching the ways of
inflaming violence and extremism," said deputy minister of foreign affairs
of the Palestinian Authority, Abdullah Abdullah, expressing astonishment at
the conference to which 30 countries are sending representatives and
The rationale for the Tel Aviv conference, according to Colonel Roi
Alkabetz, one of the organisers - his full title is Head Of Doctrine In The
Ground Force Command - is "to reveal for the first time the expertise of the
IDF operations to the wider military community".
"We want to present know ledge and at the same time to receive the knowledge
of other countries. This is particularly relevant in light of the recent
attack in Spain," explained Alkabetz.
And which nations are paying to learn about Israeli expertise?
"I prefer not to say, I'm not sure the delegates would wish to reveal their
identity," says the colonel.
Asked whether representatives of Palestinian towns such as Jenin or Gaza
will be at the conference to testify to the effectiveness or otherwise of
IDF operations in "low-intensity conflict warfare", the colonel hesitated
before replying "as far as I know, no", adding: "We didn't say no to any
organisation participating. There are no limitations."
The Palestinian minister confirmed that the Palestinian Authority would not
be attending. "There is nothing we can learn from it, we know it, we live it
day and night."
He added: "It doesn't surprise me that Israel propagates criminal acts. What
surprises me is that countries are buying this and participating."
But with seminar titles such as Warfare in Refugee Camps, should the IDF not
be concerned that it is exposing itself to a potential public relations
disaster in light of the deaths of 25 Palestinians in Gaza, including four
under 16 years of age, in the past two weeks?
"Look, at our conference we will deal with the ethical, moral, legal
aspects," said Alkobetz. "All will be covered, whether to punish, to kill,
there is no precise answer, it cannot be perfect and clean in the face of
the terror attacks."
With an economy in deep trouble, some Israeli citizens may be reassured that
with 10% of GDP spent on defence, the military experience of the
"occupation" can generate income for the Israeli taxpayer.
But others, like Adam Keller, a spokesman for the Israeli peace organisation
Gush Shalom, are "disgusted" at the language of the conference.
"While the army says it is trying to export its expertise in a so-called
low-intensity conflict, in reality it is how to fight a war against a
civilian population and destroy homes," said Keller.
Conference fees are $500 (£273) per person, plus vat. Should anyone require
more details they are available at:
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