Posts Tagged ‘tour’

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The “ULTIMATE Mission” Tour of Israel:

September 18, 2010

Convincing the World One Tourist at a Time that Israel is the ULTIMATE Victim

After the destruction and violence of the Second Intifada (caused by Israel’s constant provocation of the Palestinian people—culminating in Ariel Sharon’s illegal entrance into one of Islam’s most holy sites, the Al-Aqsa Mosque), the Lebanon War, and the most recent massacre—Operation Cast Lead—in the blockaded Gaza Strip, Israel’s tourism industry has faced many obstacles in attracting new tourists to the country.

In order to combat this trend, Israel has moved from organizing normal trips such as “Birthright”—where young Jewish people from other countries are taken on a free, 10-day trip of Israel to more ‘exciting’ and ‘extreme’ tours such as the “ULTIMATE Counter-Terrorism Mission”.

The ULTIMATE Counter-Terrorism tour was a week-long tour where the participants traveled around the country learning about Israel’s ‘struggle’ with counter-terrorism.  This tour was aimed at US policy makers, security officials, and lawyers.

Basically, instead of fighting the fact that tourists avoid the country because of the ‘terrorist threat’, Israel now uses it to attract a new, more extreme kind of tourist.

This effort has culminated with a new tour called “The ULTIMATE Mission to Israel.”  This tour will begin on June 8, 2009 and last for one week.  The point of these new tours is to sell the Israeli model for counterterrorism—and is a sick effort to glorify the killing of Palestinians, and the ongoing occupation, in the name of ‘pre-emptive self-defense’.

The tour is organized by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli Law Center dedicated to suing terrorists, terrorist organizations, and countries that support terrorism against Israel.  If Israel thinks it’s their right to sue terrorists, wouldn’t it be logical that the thousands of innocent Palestinian people who have been killed, injured, and had their lives ruined by Israel’s counter-terrorism policies should be allowed the same right?  Of course not—this is Israel, and there can only be one victim here.

The ULTIMATE Mission is described as a tour where you will experience a “military, humanitarian, historical, judicial, religious, and political reality check.”

In other words, over a week period, the organizers will try to convince the tourists that Israel’s policies, such as collective punishment, “targeted killings” (assassinations), apartheid wall, and more, are reasonable.  In the advertisement of the mission, it says that tourists will experience a “humanitarian reality check”, which sounds like they will try to convince the tourists that humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Palestinians are unfounded because they are ‘all terrorists.’

Racist?  Yes.  Glorifying the death and suffering of the Palestinians?  Yes.  Sick?  Yes.

While on the ULTIMATE mission, tourists will experience:

-A “real-life” briefing by officers in the IDF intelligence and operations branches

-Inside tour of the IAF unit who carries out targeted killings

-Live exhibition of penetration raids to “Arab” territory

-Observe a trial of Hamas terrorists in an IDF military court

-First hand tours of Lebanese front-line military positions and the Gaza border checkpoints

-Inside tour of the controversial “security fence” (the separation wall) and secret intelligence bases

-Meeting Israel’s Arab agents who infiltrate the terrorist groups and provide real time intelligence

-Briefing by Israel’s war heroes who saved the country

In other words, participants on the ULTIMATE mission will be able to see how the IAF kills ‘those Palestinian terrorists’, go on a raid into the West Bank and terrorize any Palestinians they come across—and maybe if they’re lucky they will get to see a real, live beating or arrest—which are arbitrarily carried out in the West Bank every day and night.

They will also see ‘one of those Hamas terrorists’ found guilty of some horrific offense in Israel’s “justice” system, meet Arab collaborators and informants, and basically become convinced that Palestinians are the terrorists and Israel is the victim.

They will be persuaded that although Israel has one of the most advanced militaries and intelligence organizations in the world and is backed by the richest and most powerful country in the world, it is actually threatened by Palestinians armed with stones, molotovs, and the extremely inaccurate qassam rockets.

Throughout the ULTIMATE mission where the participants get to see ‘terrorists’ being found guilty, beaten, arrested, and killed—they will also be staying in 5-star hotels, traveling in luxury buses, and eating in the “finest restaurants” along the way.  Getting excited yet?

More highlights of the tour include:

-Meeting with a former IDF chief of staff who will talk about the “strategic and tactical analysis of the threat to Israel from the Palestinians and Middle Eastern States”

—to convince the tourists of Israel’s right to pre-emptive self-defense so that they can return home and convince their friends, family, and hopefully governments to support Israel’s racist policies disguised as self-defense.

-Visiting the “Arab town”, Qalqilia

–to explain to the tourists why it is ‘necessary’ for this peaceful village to be completely surrounded by the separation wall, leaving only one entrance for the residents to enter and exit at the arbitrary will of the alternately bored and aggressive 18-year old soldiers guarding the checkpoint at the entrance.

-Meet bereaved parents of Israeli soldiers who died in the Lebanon War

–an experience that has to be organized in Israel, whereas if you walk down the street anywhere in the West Bank or Gaza Strip and talk to the first person you meet, you can find the same stories, and perhaps worse.  However, participants will not meet these people, reinforcing their perception of asymmetric Israeli suffering.

-Visit Sderot, one of the Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip and learn about the ‘qassam threat’ from Hamas

–Tourists will most likely visit the “living museum” Israel has set up there in which interested tourists can see the buildings that have been hit by qassams and see children who are hired to cry and act terrified there.

After this experience tourists will be convinced that Israel’s policies of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests and beatings, raids in Palestinian territory, extra-judiciary assassinations, checkpoints, and the separation wall are all necessary anti-terrorism policies—which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The ULTIMATE mission ends with coffee and cake at a 5-star hotel in Jerusalem.

Some testimonials of people who have gone on these missions before said that they returned home with “such a high” and told how they were able to “stare down Hezbollah terrorists across the Lebanese border”.

At the end of the trip most became convinced that Israel’s absurdly violent and unjust policies towards the Palestinians were well-founded and their “support for Israel and its people is more committed than ever.”  Israel is seen as the victim, and anything they do to the Palestinians—no matter how violent, inhumane, and illegal—are all acceptable in the name of self-defense.

 

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