It's nice to see one's police crow triumphantly. When our constabulary declares ostensible cause for jubilation, it appears safe to assume that it hasn't messed up - an uncommonly cheerful circumstance, which in and of itself ought to render us reasonably upbeat, especially post-Zeiler Commission exposures of sleaze.
Little wonder then that my confidence in the competence of our law-enforcers soared when a friend deposited in my hands a luxurious 21 cm. by 27 cm., 512-page combination "victory album" and analytical review, published by Israel's (cash-strapped) Finest to commemorate their role in expelling more than 9,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.
It was enough to erase all sorts of niggling doubts triggered by images of our very own Keystone Kops first losing the country's most notorious serial rapist and then running every which way to recapture him, without being quite certain what they were supposed to do next or how to do it.
The slick volume likewise toned down indignation simmering since last year, when anguished Hanania Amram was contemptuously ejected from the Petah Tikva precinct for reporting his young daughter missing. The fact that Inbal was found murdered the next morning couldn't excuse the impudence of disturbing the desk sergeant at an ungodly hour.
Also subdued were tiresome insecurities over rampant breaches of that unwritten contract whereby the authorities are duty-bound to protect the life, liberty and possessions of ordinary taxpaying folks. The anarchy and reign of Beduin terror throughout what has come to be dubbed the "Wild South" were eclipsed by the chrome paper and numerous photos of committed cops battling tots and their moms and pulling them "sensitively" from their homes.
Their anti-settler zeal foreshadowed the subsequent Amona club-swinging, skull-bashing horseback bravura, where our resolute Mounties thrust galloping hoofs into young faces and inflicted blows even on two MKs in the hallowed name of upholding legality.
Perhaps Amona will inspire the next celebratory album. Why not? This one for instance reserves pride of place for police management of the pre-disengagement protest at Kfar Maimon. Yet there's no mention of Negev district commander Nisso Shaham's gutter expletives, uttered swaggeringly and unhesitatingly before TV cameras on that occasion. Clearly seeking to curry favor with the powers-that-be, Shaham ordered his subordinates to beat the congregated masses "with clubs, where it hurts, in the lower parts of the body," adding his wish-cum-opinion that "they should all burn."
Equally absent is the reluctant rap on the knuckles Shaham's brothel-brand vulgarities (unfit for repetition here) earned him in the form of a departmental reprimand. In any other state and any other force this would have ended Shaham's career but, judging from all that ensued, his macho posturing, politically ingratiating invective and sordid lewd imagery did him no harm.
But that's a trifling matter. Why make a fuss over a few foul phrases hurled at loyal compatriots? After all, there are good and bad obscenities. It's not the cussing which offends but who does it and against whom.
YIFAT ALKOBI of Hebron, caught on tape calling an inimical Arab neighbor "tramp," was pilloried by the court of media-hysteria and summoned for police interrogation like public enemy No.1. But Shaham, who incited to very tangible violence against citizens he was sworn to protect, is omitted from the exhaustive, seemingly professional, objective and pseudo-academic text - garnished galore with acronyms, psycho-babble, diagrams, tables and even, mind-bogglingly, a glossary of officially-imposed, disengagement-mint, PR-oriented Orwellian euphemisms (p. 248).
Which leaves us with the bottom-line question regarding this costly production, distributed gratis to officers and other pillars of the establishment (at your exorbitant expense and mine, while the police whine about budgetary constraints): What's there to be proud of? Did uncouth Shaham and his fellow policemen in the end achieve the greater good so touted at the time? Are we better off for what they carried out? Are we so better off as to justify so self-congratulatory a publication?
Not according to the real top brass - the expulsion's ardent promoters and the nation's persistent brainwashers. What Ehud Olmert didn't bring himself to confess to his electorate, he did, alas, admit to the Chinese Xinhua news agency on the eve of his recent junket to Beijing: "A year ago I believed we can withdraw unilaterally, but our experience in Lebanon and Gaza isn't encouraging... We fully retreated to the international border, yet each day they fire Kassam rockets on Israel."
Olmert's supercilious foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, put it more succinctly: "Disengagement was a mistake."
Of course that doesn't preclude further compulsively recidivist gambling against our survival odds. Our leaders screwed up, muttered something resembling "oops, sorry," yet already again risk our continued existence with spin-off speculative ventures. One thing, however, is clear: They had no idea how their disengagement experiment would go. Their promises to the gullible populace were recklessly and unconscionably baseless.
No hint of any of the purported rewards for uprooting thousands of Jews was realized. Gaza's terror, its morale buoyed, thrives, reinforced as never before and armed to the teeth with tacit Egyptian connivance. The international community makes no dispensations to Israel for its sacrifices.
Peace seems more unattainable than ever. Pugnacious Gazans are at each other's throats, while thousands of dispossessed settlers remain neglected, hopeless, unemployed and in inadequate temporary shelters, subsisting on pitiful compensation that was supposed to finance permanent housing and new farmsteads - none of which are remotely in the offing. Thousands of lives are in shambles, but our guardians of law and order shamelessly pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
Bravo to the brave men in blue.