The journalist’s plane with several Government people arrived after midday.
It’s quite a change to be allowed to photograph in a military base. Usually that’s forbidden, even when they are open to hundreds of thousands of visitors on Independence Day.
I wandered around photographing neatly ordered rockets, mortars, bullets, ships, small boats, bags of cement, other media people and foreign guests in uniform until even for a shutterbug like me I had enough. The speakers were not due until 5PM. Journalist chatted with journalist, still photographer with still photographer and dozens of video camera crews set up in two rows – and we waited. All the while, a message in Hebrew and English, looped over the loud speakers, “This recorded message will be followed by a recorded message“.
If the journalists, especially the foreign correspondents, had been properly reporting the current situation, on the Gaza/Israel border, making a circus of the ship’s capture would not have been necessary. The Prime Minister’s speech the full text is here. However, for reasons I haven’t discovered, the Defence Minister and the two senior IDF men spoke only in Hebrew and the transcripts (especially the English versions) weren’t released online.
It’s easy to be cynical about flying a bunch of journalists to a photo opportunity. They were taken to see and hear, in the flesh so to speak, something that if they had been keeping up with the story they already knew.
I can understand that they felt manipulated. But to compare this occasion with George Bush’s mission accomplished on Iraq, as one journalist did, is way off the mark (even if the former POTUS had actually said what legend attributes to him). Bush was congratulating the military on completing their mission while Netanyahu was warning the world of what likely will be the future.
|Weaponry Found Onboard Klos-C|
|40 rockets (type M-302), up-to the range of 120 kilometers 181 122 mm† mortar shells Approximately 400,000 7.62 caliber rounds|
For all the openness some things were missing. The question of how the IDF knew the cargo was headed for Gaza and not for example the Sinai peninsula was never satisfactorily answered. Rockets from Sinai could reach Israel just as easily as from the peninsula as from the strip. They could just as easily reach Cairo from Suez. If Israel is going to be open about the story why not all the way?
Similarly journalists attending could easily come to the conclusion that some sacks of cement labelled Made in I.R. Iran was the only evidence of origin. There was actually quite a paper trail, available online but not at Eilat.
The media brief that was given to the us had the following message from Israel’s Chief of the General Staff.
Each one of theses rockets poses a threat to the safety of the citizens of Israel – Each bullet and each rocket that was discovered had an Israeli address.
One comes away with the feeling that a threat had been diverted but that didn’t mean we should consider ourselves safe. I hope even the cynics came away with the same perception.
Five Minutes for Israel Photography
More photographs from this excursion are online at this Facebook link. I don’t normally upload until everything is sorted and labelled but until I have time to do it I thought it important enough to go public early. This is an Israel advocate’s resource. Please credit David Guy/5MFI.com should you make use of anything.
Photographs courtesy of the Government Press Office
- Netanyahu’s ‘age of hypocrisy’ fails to convince in Eilat, Mitch Ginsburg, The Times of Israel, 10 March 2014
- BBC News reframes Iranian arms shipment story, censors information, BBC Watch, 11 March 2014
- How did the BBC report the truce that wasn’t?, BBC Watch, 13 March 2014
† I have been informed that 122 mm is a typo that should be 120 mm. Don’t know. Experts?