Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Got this on the mail today. Guess not ALL media worldwide is against us...

Frederick Forsyth (Daily Express, 11/8):

It must surely be true that the level of lies and hypocrisy that asociety can tolerate is indirect proportion to the degeneration of that culture.
Personally I am not particularly pro or anti Israel, pro or anti Arab or pro or anti Islam. But I do have a dislike of myth, hypocrisy and liesas opposed to reality, fairness and truth. Watching the bombing of Lebanon it is impossible not to feel horror and pity for the innocent civilians killed, wounded or rendered homeless.
But certain of our politicians, seeking easy populism and the cheapest round of applause in modern history, have called the Israeli response disproportionate. Among thee politicians are Jack Straw and that master of EU negotiations William Hague. That accusation can only mean: disproportionate to the aggression levelled against them.
Really? Why did the accusers not mention Serbia? What has Serbia got to do with it? Lets refresh our memories. In 1999 five Nato air forces US, British, French, Italian and German began to plaster Yugoslavia, effectively the tiny and defenceless province of Serbia. We were not at war with the Serbs, we had no reason to hate them, they had not attacked us and no Serbian rockets were falling on us. But we practically bombed them back to the Stone Age. We took out everybridge we could see. We trashed their TV station, army barracks, airfields and motorways. We were not fighting for our lives and no terrorists were skulking among the civilian population but we hit apartment blocks and factories anyway. There were civilian casualties. We did not do it for 25 days but for 73. We bombed this little country economically back 30 years by converting its infrastructure into rubble.
Why? We were trying to persuade one dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, to pull his troops out of Kosovo, which happened to be (and still is) a Yugoslav province. The dictator finally cracked; shortly afterwards he was toppled but it was his fellow Serbs who did that, no Nato.
Before the destruction of Serbia, Kosovo was a nightmare of ethnic hatred. It still is. If we wanted to liberate the Kosovans why did we not just invade? Why blow Serbian civilians to bits?Here is my point. In all those 73 days of bombing Serbia I never heard one British moralist use the word disproportionate. The entire point of Hezbollah is not to resolve some border dispute with Israel; its aim is to wipe Israel off the map, as expressed byHezbollahs master, the crazed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. That aim includes the eradication of every Israeli Jew; i.e. genocide.
Serbia never once threatened to wipe the UK off the map or slaughter ourcitizens, yet Straw, in office in 1999, and Hague, leading the Conservative Party, never objected to Serbia being bombed.
As an ex-RAF officer I am persuaded the Israelis fighter pilots arehitting civilian-free targets with 95% of their strikes. These are thehits no TV network bothers to cover. It is the 5% that causes thecoverage and the horror: wrong target, unseen civilians in the cellar,misfire, unavoidable collateral casualties. Unavoidable? Israel has said I effect, If you seek to wipe us out we will defend ourselves to the death. You offer us no quarter, so we will offer none to you. But if you choose intentionally, inadvertently, or through the stupidity of your government to protect and shelter the killers among yourselves then with deepest regret, we cannot guarantee your exemption.
Yesterday we Brits learned that certain elements in our society hadtried to organise a mass slaughter of citizens flying out of ourairports. We will have to take draconian measures against these enemies in our midst. Will Messrs Hague and Straw complain our methods are disproportionate? Not a chance. Now that, dear readers, is blatant hypocrisy.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back in 2002 I spent some time in Ireland, on business. It was rather hellish down in the middle east, with suicide bombers blowing themselves up every other day, but I was staying in rainy, cool Dublin. One morning, as I was watching TV, they showed Queen Raniya of Jordan, together with Mrs. Cherie Blair. I adore Queen Raniya - she's a gorgeous arab woman, smart, educated, and takes shit from no-one; and she's probably the closest Israel will ever be to have a queen of its own (especially since she's actually Palestinian...)
Anyway, they had a press conference, and Cherie Blair said "As long as young people feel they have no hope but to blow themselves up, we're never going to make progress, are we?". Nice way to say "Raniya, I really sympathize with your hopeless people who are suicide bombing". For a moment there I was as shocked as if I just heard a girl call me her boyfriend on a second date. Did she just justify suicide bombers? Can't be! Wait, apparently she did...
I must say that for a moment I thought "Hey, the poor Palestinan kids really have no hope; And we're to blame for that! I can understand how desperation leads to suicide, and political desperation to political suicide bombing". I even held on to that opinion for a while. Then, a few months later, when I got back home, there was a really strange suicide bombing at a bar in Tel Aviv called "Mike's Place", right next to the American embassy; The attack left three dead, but for a few days everybody was looking for the "second suicide bomber". Then they found him, drowned in the sea. The funny thing is he had a passport on him, and surprize, it was a British passport. Now, why the hell are the people at Mike's Place to blame that an Arab-British student has no hope? Why does an Arab-British student have no hope to an extent that he goes to another country to kill himself?
Then came the London Underground bombings (hopeless tube passengers. I realize how THAT can happen), and yesterday they found out about the plot to bomb planes in mid-air (airport rage can really get you hopeless, can't it?). Again, all terrorists are British citizens of Pakistani origins. I wonder how Mrs. Blair feels about young Brits being so hopeless they are willing to kill themselves. I wonder why she doesn't say anything about it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Three days ago (or was it more than three days? Can't really remember, with all the things going on...) a rocket hit Kfar Giladi. A small kibbutz in northern Israel. Everybody was supposed to be indoors, preferrably inside a shelter. Sadly, a group of reserve soldiers was outdoors; The hit was direct, 12 were killed. Of course, there will be those that would say it was a military target, but that's bullshit - whoever fired the rocket didn't know there were soldiers in that location. He fired hoping to kill, and he managed to.
Tragically enough, this is the kind of news that you get used to nowadays; the kind of news that goes by your ear, and you learn to filter out. This morning, however, one of the pictures in the paper rang a bell. He was one of the security people at my workplace; not anyone I knew closely, by no means 'a friend'. Just someone who was walking down the hallways, and won't be walking anymore. A kid of 26, who people say was constantly full of joy.

The same evening, a rocket struck one of the arab neighborhoods of Haifa. Once again, goes to show the rockets have no 'address' written on them. Just a blind, deadly intent. A house was directly hit, three people killed. Each December, Haifa hosts a festival, called "The Holiday of all Holidays", celebrating Hanukka, Christmas and Rammadan together. For a week or two, some streets are decorated with lights, the stores sell oriental sweets, and the smell of barbecue is in the air; you can buy your Kadaif, right next to the porkchops, Christmas tree decorations and Hanukka lamp. It is in those weeks that the true spirit of Haifa comes out. A city which has always been a symbol of solidarity, tolerance and coexistence between Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Emil Habibi, and Arab-Israeli writer, and one of Haifa's esteemed citizens, who fled to Lebanon in 1948 and then returned to Haifa and remained there till he died, asked to engrave his tombstone with the words 'I stayed in Haifa', as a symbol. It was on the same streets where he lived, on the streets that he wrote about, and where we celebrate, that the rocket struck.
The damned mixture of metal and explosives may have killed three innocent people. It may have scratched the soul of the peace loving people of Haifa. But God willing, Inshalla, come December, we will all celebrate together once again: Christians, Jews and Muslims, with the writings of Emil Habibi, in the holiday of all holidays.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's all as if we are playing a great game of poker; Personally, I love playing poker. Sadly, this time our lives are the chips on the table.

Of course, we all listened to Hassan's speech on TV last night. The guy looks as if he is constantly sedated, and makes about the same amount of sense. After he said he will fight us forever, and that he is winning (reminds me of the Iraqi propaganda minister, with his "Their stomachs will roast in hell" and "Let me assure you; you are too far from the truth..."), he raised the stakes, and said 'If you will attack our capital Beirut, we will attack your oppressing capital, Tel Aviv'. One last time for you geopolitically challanged out there. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem. Out eternal capital, we like to call it. Got that, Hassan? Good... If you still think not - look it up on Wiki.

For a moment there I was afraid Israel would Fold, scared of his Raise. But no... you can count on our leaders to Call the bluff. Last night at 1 AM we bombed the Dahiya, the Hezbollah's neighbourhood in southern Beirut. Not only did they Call, but our chief of staff also Raised the stakes again, saying we will bomb the infrastructure in Lebanon. Wait. "Infrastructure in Lebanon? Didn't you already bomb that?", will ask my Lebaneses readers.
Turns out we didn't. Turns out we were asked by the Americans (who co-own the Middle East Casino together with the Iranians, if you ask me) not to hit humanitarian targets. That's why if you're in Lebanon you can still read these lines; But don't get used to it - if Hassan targets Tel Aviv, we will bomb the power plants in Lebanon. If I were you - I'd do one of two things: try to find and kill every Hezbollah operative in sight, or buy a generator and a few buckets.

Just to be on the safe side.

Friday morning is the best time in Tel Aviv. It's like the whole city comes out of home, and walks onto the street all of a sudden, in one coordinated move. It's hot, and the women wear less and less as the summer progresses; my personal favorite is going to the market, or the park, and just watching people walk around.
This is the first time in three weeks I don't have 'refugees' over, mainly because with my mom being in hospital they can't come... It has its upsides (like being able to sleep in my own bed, and not an inflatable mattress in the living room), but on the other hand - I need to feed myself, cause my mom isn't around to cook. I know, wanting your refugees to come over so they can cook you is sick, but you need to make the best out of the situation...
Another 'best' in the current situation is that there are plenty of refugees from up who came down here, AND plenty of men who got drafted. The result is plenty of lonely women. Go Hassan, Go!

Bloody afternoon today in the north. 100 rockets, leave 7 people dead. All were civilians, needless to say (apparently it's OK for the Hezbollah to fire at civilians), and yet - no one was shouting in the streets like slaughtered pigs, and no nacrophilia was shown on TV. Another small difference between our responsible media, and their bloodthirst. Three of the victims were Israeli arabs, who were shepherding their goats.

Funny thing, Israeli arabs. They are a significant minority in Israel (sorry, don't have the exact numbers), who enjoy the best of both worlds. They enjoy the security of being Israeli, and additional bonuses - like freedom of speech which is not widespread in most Arab countries; They have a right to vote, they can study in the universities, but they don't need to bother about things like going to the army, or being faithful to the state.
Last week two children, 6 and 9 years old, were killed by a rocket in Nazareth. A tragedy, by all means. Next thing you know, their father is blaming Israel for their death, and praising Nasrallah, who on the other hand is calling them shahids. I wonder where they will find 72 virgins their size up there...
Arab members of the Knesset (Israeli Parlament) say things like "Olmert is a war criminal" and "You will never beat the Hezbollah", and the ever lovely (back in the first Palestinian uprising) "You should fight Israel, and not only with stones".

I spent the better part of my teen years in political activity, for one of the Israeli left wing parties. I used to tell anyone who'd listen "Arabs should get equal rights, equal funding, equal everything". Talk about a spit in my face. I guess my thoughts now are "Want equal rights? Pay your equal debts to society; Military service, or civil service would do; but DO it"...

On a more personal note, my mom is in hospital up north. Nothing serious hopefully; not something caused by the war. I'd love to go and see her, but I can't. Driving to Haifa is unsafe. I'll wait for next week. This war IS harming everybody...

I realize the following lines may seem a bit racist, but that's how I feel right now. Sorry.

When trying to make a point about limits learnt at an early stage in life, there are usually two examples lecturers use - that of the big elephant tied to the small stake, and that of the Mexican fleas. At a circus, there is a Mexican fleas act. A guy comes on stage, with a jar of Mexican fleas. He opens the jar, and the fleas start jumping around, but never jump out of the jar. One can't help but wonder why...

The reason, according to the lecturers is that the fleas have lived their entire life inside that jar; When they were born they tried to jump higher and higher; As adolescents they even got as high as the jar cover, but then they hit their head on it. They tried jumping again, and hit their head again. After a few attempts they realized the jar cover is probably the limit, and they should stop trying to jump out of it.

Sadly for them, our arab cousins lack this ability to learn; Time and time again they try to jump out of the 'Middle East with Israel' jar, and into the 'Jew-free Middle East'. Time and time again, they bump their head on Israel (the jar cover in this metaphore). Every time, when they try and it doesn't hurt too badly, a flea leader says "Oh! The cover is not as hard as we remember from the last time! Maybe the jews are growing soft on us! Let us try harder". And they try, and some get killed, and all the media of the world starts shouting "A massacre is going on!", and the jar cover gets a few marks on it.
Not one of them dares to ask the leader "Listen, we've been trying to hit the cover open for years now. Why don't we stop trying and use the energy to build schools and hospitals? Why don't we stop spending our money on that, and spend it on roads?".
Not one newspaper in the world asks the leaders "Why are you going for these jar-busting attempts whenever your situation is bad, thus making it worse? Why not go for a revolutionary idea, like reforms? Why not use the jar cover, learn technology from it and improve your medical system, for example?".

Instead, they all say how the cover is an oppressor, and how cruel it is for hitting the fleas on the head.

Could it be that the cause of the middle east is lost? Could it be that they are forever doomed to spend their lives trying to blow the cover off the jar? For them (and us) I hope not.

Why? That's the main question that crossed my mind when I first learnt of the Hezbollah's attack in Northern Israel about three weeks ago. What's their reason?

Being an Israeli left-winger, I can bring myself (though with some effort) to justify Palestinian violence - after all they claim we are occupying their lands, and they're trying to get us out of there. I could even bring myself to justify Hezbollah violence before the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. But we've been out of there for six years now. Why was it that important to attack now?

It's been a good period, these last six years. Both for Lebanon and Israel. Tourism was on the rise on both sides, children were no longer getting killed, economy was going through a boom. One could almost think that it's those very things that frighten Nasrallah. See, if things in Lebanon are good enough, the Lebanese might be tempted to think "Hey, maybe peace is good and war is bad. Maybe the war mongers are wrong, and pose a threat to us..."; Now, Nasrallah can afford many things (especially with Iranian money) but not that. The only reason Nasrallah (and his Party of God) has for existing is war. No war - no reason to have a Nasrallah. So they started a war. By the way, that's also why Assad wants a war - no war, and people might want a democracy. And the road from there to the hanging pole in the Damascus market... you can even see that while playing Playstation (Bashar's main hobby, judging by the media)

Of course, if that's the way things are, even as an Israeli left-winger who only wants to live in peace and be left alone, I say: "You want war? Well, war costs. And this is where you start paying. In blood..."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We're Israeli. And it's a damn hard thing to be these days. Let alone the heat and humidity of the middle east - we get that every summer. It's just that this year it seems everybody is out to get us. Not only that, everybody is sure we are the agressors - we're to blame for being attacked; we're to blame for fighting back. In the eyes of the world - we're probably to blame we didn't just willingly walk into the furnaces. Oh, I forgot. According to Ahmadinajad there were no furnaces, and according to the French he's a stabilizing force in the middle east. What are we then?!

We're also left wingers. And being Israeli is a walk in the park compared to that - Here you are, having spent your life preaching for peace, love, humanity, withdrawal from Lebanon, withdrawal from Gaza, lambs and wolves living together. Then, your government does most of the stuff you've always wanted, and the other side decides to get violent. Damn. Suddenly I can really relate to the "You can't trust those arabs" sentences I used to hear from friends who voted for all the wrong parties...

To top it all, we're originally from northern Israel. Sure, we haven't been living there for a while now - I live in Tel Aviv, and the Zalame did a pretty smart thing and moved out to New York - but at the end of the day, when the katyushas hit the fan, we both have families up north to worry about. Yes, mom. I heard you are being bombed. Glad you're OK in the shelter. My regards to the neighbours.