Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
‘Retarded and obsequious’
The Reuters news desk, along with many foreign journalists in Israel, received a peculiarly worded beeper message in English from the Israel Defence Forces Spokesman’s Office on Israel’s seizure of a ship carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian-supplied arms on Wednesday.
It read as follows (the strangely worded part is in bold letters):
IDF Spokesperson Update: ‘FRANCOP’, the weapons laden ship intercepted by the Israel navy, left the Ashdod naval port yesterday evening, after all of the arms and munitions had been unloaded. The ‘FRANCOP’ has continued on its way, sailing towards its original port of destination after the incidents of yesterday. Israel Navy personnel released the ship without complications and with best wishes for their continued safe journey. (This is a retarded sentence for foreign press, comes across as obsequious) the arms unloaded were transported overnight, under the supervision of sappers, to an IDF ammunition base in central Israel, where the weaponry will be properly and safely stored.
The spokesman’s office issued an apology in a subsequent beeper message. An officer in the spokesman’s office told Reuters the unusual commentary in the original message was the result of a mistake committed by a low-ranking soldier.
PHOTO: Israeli soldiers stand near munitions displayed at the port of Ashdod November 4, 2009, that according to the military was found on the Antigua-flagged Francop vessel, intercepted overnight in the Mediterranean Sea, 100 miles (160 km) from Israel. Israeli naval commandos have boarded the ship carrying Iranian-supplied rockets destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and taken the vessel to an Israeli port, the government said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Amir Cohen