[Gaza 2009..Sounds of not so distant bomb explosions coming closer all the time, missiles whooshing above, and the building being rattled every so often by the ongoing bombardments. Telephone rings a Mr. Dyab answers, hands shaking, female voice on the speaker..]
-Hello, good afternoon, is this Mr. Dyab?
– Mr. Ziyad Mustafa Dyab, age 41 married, 5 children, eldest Omar 14 and youngest Zainab aged 3 months?
-Oh GOOD! I am SO glad we got through! We have been trying your number for AGES! Sorry, are you busy?
-Great!! So, Salamalikum Mr. Dyab!
– ..waalikum essalam…
-….. this is Luba from the IDF and we just wanted to tell you that our IAF boys will be ummm.. kind of shaking their wings over your area umm…and they are, in fact, umm going to bomb your building on 14:23 local time, that’s 12:23 Greenwich mean time and … I am afraid that it is going to be a rather big bomb…, u follow me?
– So um, we thought that perhaps we better let you know- umm..you know ..better safe than sorry and all that …haha…
-Yes, yes ..I know……
– Well, then so you all better get going old boy, it’s almost time soon
-Yes yes….I am on my way already….
-So, Mr. Dyab: out of your building , turn right, then first right, straight ahead ,,third left..by the mosque and then onwards to the souk, coordinates 31 21 18 17N 34 19 38 41E, and you should be all right there, got that?
-Um ..yes, third left by the mosque and then to the souk…,
-Good! Have a nice day then Mr. Dyab, and our best regards to Mrs. Dyab and the kiddies. This message has been recorded for legal purposes.
-Oh, and by the way Mr. Dyab, your wallet is in the left pocket of the brown jacket you wore yesterday ok?…Byeeee-I mean salamalikum, sorry to bother you!
-Ok…waalikum essalam……maa essalameh
No, not really.
The Saintly Army of the Jewish State, in an ‘improved protocol’ has decided to give Palestinians ‘more accurate details’ prior to aerial strikes, including escape routes. This is not only in order to,
“help residents of the area to be hit that are not involved in terror activity flee”
“ in the interest of the military, in light of the harsh waves of international criticism against its actions in the Strip and threats to open international legal proceeds for alleged war crimes.”
This decision, we are informed,
was made, and approved by the military’s highest ranking officials, to allow Palestinians to receive more accurate information on upcoming strikes.
What the Army of Jewish Saints humbly does not inform us about, is the sheer amount of effort that has gone into research in order to produce this ‘protocol’ and to get it approved by no less than the ‘highest ranking officials’.
It is easy to miss the very subtle point in this, but any reasonable person can get it with a little bit of contemplation.
It is imperative in this situation to get the timing right, right?
Assume that a couple of really nasty terror activists –big, real real nasty hairy yellow-teethed hard of hearing macaroni eating ones- will be meeting in the vicinity of Mr. Dyab’s home and it is a golden opportunity for the IDF / IAF to make this world a better place by taking out these nasties. If the army gives the warning too early, there is a good chance that the devils will get wind of it and will beat it; if the warning is given too late then Mr. Dyab and his family are as good as one lump of burnt up flesh and smashed bones.
But that is not all.
The Saintly Army of Jews must also work out beforehand a good psychological profile of Mr. Dyab in order to assess the possibility of him spilling the beans about the strike. Otherwise, well, the whole exercise will be pointless. So the ‘algorithm’ for calculating the timing has to take this as well into account.
For example, allow for measures which must immediately be taken (like cutting Mr. Dyab’s telephone line off instantly after the call) to ensure that he keeps this information minimally to himself and for fleeing purposes, and no more.
But that is not all. What if Mrs. Dyab’s sick mom is visiting who is old, sickly and has movement problems? Here, a coefficient must be built into the time calculating algorithm –the ‘Visiting Sick Mother in Law Factor’- to assess, say, the ages of the kids, their availability at the time of the proposed warning and their relative strengths to carry good old Grandma to the safe point near the souk, all in good time before the coming strike.
Is that all? Of course not!
Mr. Deyab and his family will be homeless and without shelter after the air strike so, he is bound to have a quick mad run in order to gather what valuables he can get hold of before fleeing his home for good. So, yet another coefficient has to be built into the algorithm: the ‘Where the Heck is My Wallet’ factor. Accurate intelligence has to be gathered beforehand in order to take account of this very real and human problem.
I am sure with a little bit more contemplation, any reasonable minded person can work out for him/herself the sheer amount of sincere, silent but titanic effort that has been put by the Army of the Jewish State into ensuring the safety and the subsequent long and happy life of Palestinian civilians before, during and after air strikes which, regrettably, destroy their homes, villages and cities, but make the world in general and Gaza in particular, a better place to live in ….