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.
Avi Issacharoff is a credible journalist with years of reporting and experience him.
You’re a self-appointed “hahmolog” (smartass) with no training and experience in journalism.
I’ll take Avi’s analysis over that of a borderline loony any day.
Sorry, I meant to write, “years of reporting and experience BEHIND him”
But writing ‘smartass’ and ‘borderline looney’ is not something you find you have to say sorry for?
Write a proper analysis of what is wrong with Richard’s questions and/or conclusions and keep out the useless insults. Then people may actually take you seriously. (And that is what you want above all isn’t it?)
Well, I have written such an analysis before. You can look it up in the threads.
In this particular case, you’ve got all of the military reporters in Israel, as well as the foreign military reporters, who are all saying the same thing:
The attack was joint PRC-Egyptian venture. They are all accessible to the raw material and they all know what’s going on. And then comes all-knowing Richard from Seattle. He’s not on the ground talking with any source, he’s not a journalist and he’s not giving any facts. At best, he’s a funnel for Israeli reporters who on occasions need a funnel through which to break gag orders. But Richard knows best. Better than any credible reporter, that is. What’s Richard’s proof that the PRC didn’t take part in the attack? None whatsoever. If one wishes to advocate a theory which the mainstream opposes, one has to come up with better proof than “Why didn’t they show the bodies?”. If Richard is to provide a compelling case for his theory, then let him show that all terrorists involved belonged to an Egyptian terrorist organization. He should provide names, dates of birth and proofs that none belonged to the PRC. Just because you don’t like the IDF or Ehud-Barak or Israelis, doesn’t mean that you can distort reality to fit your agenda.
Throwing a lie into the air and then claiming that it’s true, simply because you want the lie to be true, doesn’t make one’s pet theory more valid.
Richard Silverstein says
In Galileo’s time all the learned scientists & theological eminences believed the sun revolved around the earth. Guess what? They were wrong.
But I am using one organ that you’re not, my brain. I was the one who found the Al Masry story acknowledging 3 Egyptians killed in the attack. I offered that source to a friendly Haaretz journalist (not Issacharoff of course) which allowed them to refer to it in subsequent reporting of theirs. I’m not a journalist? Says who? You? And you know this & we should trust yr appraisal because of what superior knowledge you have on the subject??
And a warning to you: snarksters trying to insult me don’t last here. YOu’ve already been moderated & if you keep up this barrage you won’t be long for this [blog] world.
Not quite accurate because I get my stories fr a variety of sources some, but not all of which, are Israeli. BTW, tonight’s Palmer Report scoop came from an Israeli source, but someone on the right-wing. Eat yr heart out.
LIke Yossi Melman, Barak Ravid & Avi Issacharoff–credible stenographers all who regurgitate on command for their readers like the good mama birds they are.
Calling my words a lie w/o offering any proof is another comment rule violation. Read the rules & follow or face the consequences.
Richard Silverstein says
Some cooks sling hash (the food not the drug) & some hasbarists sling insults. It’s easier than using thought to craft an argument.
Daniel F. says
Richard raises a valid point,where are the bodies of the terrorists and where were they from?.
Why was no warning of an impending attack issued to the public?
1. Most of the terrorists are are Gazans, apart from 3 who are Egyptian. At least according to the IDF report and according to the military reporters who are covering this story (both foreign and Israeli)
2. No idea, but there are many foiled terrorist attacks that Israelis don’t hear about. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. That been said, mistakes in judgement do occur. Tal Russo, the commander of the southern command, faces dozens of life-and-death decisions on a weekly basis, many of them have to do with attack threats. He’s not perfect, and people make bad calls.
One of the biggest flaw of the conspiracy theorists, is that they falsely try to find a perfect order in the workings of the allegedly “conspiring” system, and when the system “deviates” from its normal pattern, then somehow that is proof of a conspiracy. If you want to show a conspiracy theory, you need to prove it. Namely, if everyone is saying that the PRC was involved, you need to SHOW, not just doubt, that it wasn’t involved.
you can’t fix stupid, stupid. or else, assuming some of your compatriots the hasbaristos think straight and seek self-preservation, they might well kick you out of their ranks. are you crazy or is it just your eminent stupidity overflowing when you write: “Namely, if everyone is saying that the PRC was involved, you need to SHOW, not just doubt, that it wasn’t involved.” this is not only twisted logic, this is asinine stupidity. Go process this parallel proposition and SHOW (à la IZIK) WHATEVER you want to show as you propose in your statement above: “if everyone is saying that the Elders of Zion wrote the Protocols, you need to SHOW, not just doubt, that they didn’t write it.” well i really think that everyone was lying and that there was a conspiracy … unless of course you say otherwise, you intellectual fraud, and insist that because everyone is saying it, the Elders of Zion did actually write the Protocols. as i said earlier, you can’t fix stupid.
Richard Silverstein says
Credible to whom?
As to my training, experience and reputation: I’ve been writing this blog since 2003 and have broken many major stories Israeli are not allowed to know about. I’ll stack my reputation against yours or Avi Issacharoff’s any day.
And guess what. The IDF isn’t all-powerful. Mistakes happen. We don’t always manage to fully protect our civilians from terrorism, nor do we always manage to avoid civilian casualties on the other side. Welcome to the real world.
Richard Silverstein says
George Bush tried that after Hurricane Katrina. Didn’t work so well for him, nor should it for you or the IDF. “Mistakes happen” simply isn’t good enough. Do you want to learn fr mistakes or repeat them? How has Israel or the IDF learned fr the mess it made of the Eilat situation? Can they given the present system which allows Barak to sweep his responsibility under the rug & blame underlings & the Shabak?
Richard, please leave the above Izik junk in here.
It’s important non-Israelis witness first hand to what level of thought, reasoning and argumentation the much-touted “Jewish genius” has sunk in those parts.
Yankel – the so-called “Jewish genius” apparantly wasn’t evenly disributed among all the “tribe”. You got his share it would seem, together with the other Jewish trait – Jewish cynicism.
My own share is trouble enough. I’d rather not burden anyone else’s, thank you very much.
Richard Silverstein says
Against my better judgment I shall. But for his serious comment rule violations he’s now moderated.
The Arabic is ‘fashal’ – a failure. ‘Faashil’ is the person who fails – Netanyahu, for instance.
There are lots of words in Ivrit like this. ‘Rashmi’ (offical) comes from ‘Rasmi’.
There was a Hebrew paper – Maariv, I think – that used to have a little section called ‘A moment of Ivrit’ where they would discuss the origins of Hebrew words like these.
Great post anyway, Richard.
You’re right about “fashlah”, but not “rishmi”
It is true that Israelis often use the Arabic “rasmi” instead of the Hebrew “rishmi” (not “rashmi”), but rishmi is not from the Arabic “rasmi” but comes from the Hebrew “rashum” that occurs in the book of Daniel.
There are many examples of “borrowing” words between Hebrew and Arabic in both directions in I/P today.
While Omar confused “Rashmi” for “Rishmi”, it is true that “Rishmi” was brought back into Hebrew by Ben-Yehdua, who borrowed it from the Arabic word رَسْمِيّ (rasmi).
That’s what I was getting at. Thanks. My Hebrew is what remains from the courses I took at uni! Cheers.
Where are the bodies of the terrorists? And why was the attack not stopped (or usefully) anticipated? Good questions.
Ten years ago we had “9/11”. Why was the wreckage removed so swiftly, thereby avoiding analysis, especially the wreckage at the pentagon (might have been a missile and not an airplane), and the steel from Twin Towers, might have blown up by demolition charges rather than melted by gasoline fire. What journalist ASKED?
Why were the airplanes flying for a considerable time off course not intercepted, not requested to land, not shot down? Where was the USAF? What journalist ASKED?
So — Israel is not alone in creating u8nasked and especially unanswered questions.