In idiomatic Hebrew, fashlah (which I presume derives from Arabic as so many of the most colorful phrases in Hebrew do) means a major screw-up. It appears that there was a fashlah of catastrophic proportions regarding the Eilat terror attack. I’ve written here before about the internecine battle that broke out after the attack between the Shabak and the IDF over who deserved blame for it. Shabak claimed that it had offered a highly specific threat warning to the IDF about the date, time, location, and personnel involved in the assault. The agency even claimed the IDF refused to believe them when they said the attack would happen in daylight.
The IDF in turn downplayed the quality and urgency of the intelligence information it was provided by agency, saying it wasn’t specific enough to allow it to take direct action and prevent the attack.
Ben Caspit of Maariv reopens these wounds (Hebrew) with a report from a senior source claiming that Shabak chief Yoram Cohen was furious when he heard Barak’s excuses after the attack. It even used the term “exploded” to denote how angry Cohen became. He had no interest in allowing Barak to make someone else his whipping boy.
Since the role of this blog seems to be to ask questions that Israeli journalists either haven’t thought of, or have thought of but refuse to ask, here’s one offered to me by one of my Israeli correspondents: why didn’t the security forces offer a public warning about a terror attack? This is a fairly common phenomenon in Israel by which they announce a terror threat, where they expect the threat to originate and what the target might be, if they know. The fact that there was no threat indicates a huge fashla. If they had done so those eight Israelis might still be alive.
Why won’t you hear this question asked by Israeli journalists? Because it would open a huge can of worms that they rather not approach. Because the Israeli public doesn’t like reproaching the security forces after such incidents. Especially since the IDF, with its killing of some of the terrorists and its revenge attacks against Gaza, appears to have proven to the public that it addressed the problem satisfactorily. Israelis can only stomach so much outrage at their security forces and they usually reserve it for major catastrophes like wars (Lebanon, Gaza, etc). When ‘only’ eight Israelis ‘and enough of the bad guys were killed, then its easier to sweep it under the rug.
But they haven’t. Apologies for being a broken record, but no one except two Israeli bloggers and I have asked the $64,000 Question: where are the terrorists Israel killed? Who are they? Where were they from? What documents or other identifying materials did they carry with them? As I’ve written here before, this information is always released by Israel immediately after such an attack because it allows Israel to pin blame squarely on the Palestinians for tragedies. The fact that none of this has happened tells me that it’s unlikely any Gazans were among the attackers, and makes it more likely that the perpetrators and authors of the crime were Sinai militants of Egyptian origin.
Avi Issacharoff tried to rake me over the coals in a recent Haaretz article about this subject calling my reporting “off the wall.” In the process, he managed to distort or misread the two claims he made about what I wrote (eg., I never called the Gaza attack “a diversion” and never declared it a war crime). He was probably sore at me because I’d earlier called his reporting on the attack “stenography.” At any rate, I wrote to the reporter and asked him when he was going to ask the IDF where the bodies were, and why the press was offered no access to any information about them.