Tag Archives: Hamas

Not funny. Gaza again.


This blog started with a post about Gaza. In recent days, Israel has been escalating the conflict on the Southern front while Hamas pursue aggressive diplomacy, i.e. firing rockets while asking for a ceasefire. I feel like I have to do something. Yet all I can really do is write.

The enigmatic Six in Battlestar Galactica incessantly reminds us: “all of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again”.

Remember, in late 2008 we embarked upon the very same path, unleashing massive amounts of firepower on Gaza, killing at least 700 civilians and launching us into Israel’s most isolated couple of years in its history. Back then the idea was the same: hit them so hard that they can’t hit us back.

The problem is that this logic never, ever works. We’ve been trying it for decades. We kill them, even demolish their infrastructure, but in the process we give so many people cause to hate us that within a few years their ranks are replenished and out to get us again.

Chatting with a right-wing friend the other day, I said something about the families of the victims and how they’ll feel about us after we take their siblings/children/parents away. He said the mistake is to leave any family. (I’m not sure whether he was serious or not — this was a textual conversation and I didn’t feel like pursuing the topic.)

Yet even if we follow this sick logic to its conclusion — total annihilation of the rival tribe — we will gain no peace. We will only push the frontier a little further, gaining enemies in places where nobody used to give a damn about us. We will only gain international isolation and brain drain, as people leave what has become of our country, a country created by and for the victims of genocide.

Observation: there are some 11 million Palestinians in the world (according to Wikipedia). Total genocide of the Palestinians will give Israel the dubious honor of having surpassed the Nazis’ genocide of Jews. (I suppress nausea, breathe deep, continue.)

Incidentally, it will not end all of our haters.

So long as we use violence, we invite violence. The more we kill, the more people will want to kill us. So long as we continue acting as we’ve acted, we will not break the cycle. Hamas could try to break the cycle as well. But bombing Gaza is not the way to convince them to do so. Israel’s citizens and few remaining allies must demand and enforce a ceasefire.

We now have Iron Dome, a system that can destroy rockets fired out of Gaza in mid-air. Instead of financing another war, build more Iron Dome units. Fund peace proposals. Pay Arabic-speaking copywriters, pay printers, and bomb Gaza with flyers. Stop wasting money and lives on a cycle of violence in which Israelis and Palestinians – especially the poorer of both groups – have their everyday lives disrupted or destroyed, every day.

 

All I can do is write, but for days I have not been able to. Every time violence flares up against Israel, I am reminded of how urgent it is to strive towards peace. There is always a sense of the inevitable to it; knowing that my country continues to use violence, I know we will be faced with violence.

It’s painful, and all I can do is write. It seems like so little. I don’t know if I’ll write about this again any time soon.

For now I’ll just continue to try not to think about it, while thinking about it all of the time. I’m an Israeli; denial’s my life.

 

UPDATE (two hours later):

I’ve just read that there’s some kind of tacit cease-fire, apparently as of last night. I hope this lasts and the rhetoric of “final escalation” loses out to some common sense. A strategy that has failed us dozens of times will continue to fail us no matter how many times we try.

Hopeful for Egypt, scared of the future

Celebrating the signing of the Camp David Acco...
Begin, Carter, and Sadat, after making Israeli-Egyptian peace. Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been following the situation in Egypt with fascination and hope. It’s amazing to see people hitting the streets to stand up for their rights and tell a tyrant they outright refuse his rule. It’s priceless to see a tyrant losing control, sending his family away, losing grasp as the people take back the cities. It gives me hope that even when things are bad, they can get better.1

A lot of Israeli coverage on the topic has been less enthusiastic of the prospect of change. Mubarak may be a tyrant, but he’s an American-backed tyrant who cooperates with the Israeli government (even actively taking part in the siege of Gaza). Whatever leadership arises from this revolution will almost certainly be less pro-Israeli.

The potential threat of a hostile Egypt, especially an Egypt friendly with Hamas and/or Iran, is a very scary prospect. The revolution appears to have taken the Israeli security establishment totally by surprise, and I hope our leaders are capable of managing whatever threat has arisen or will arise in the days to come.

Over on +972 Magazine, Lara Friedman says more or less what I’ve been thinking (except more eloquently): what’s happening in Egypt is scary for Israel, but it’s basically a good thing, and trying to delegitimize it for selfish reasons is not right.

This morning, I signed this petition (in Hebrew and English):

Israelis Support Freedom in Egypt
We, Israeli civil society activists and ordinary citizens, watch with awe at the bravery of Egyptian citizens fighting for freedom. All who support justice, and certainly every democracy must support the just demands of the Egyptian demonstrators.
We reject any claim that an anti-democratic regime is in our interest, whether it be for the sake of stability or the continuation of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Such interests cannot justify an undemocratic Egypt.

Not many have signed it so far, but I think it’s truly important to show at least some of us Israelis can sympathize with the people of Egypt and view their revolution as fundamentally positive. I’d like the new regime that come out of this, whatever it is, to know Israelis looked their way not only with fear, but with hope and solidarity too.

Footnotes

  1. The many deaths, the looting, the general chaos, the violence — these are all a bit harder to watch. But there have been worse (attempted) revolutions, and a tyrant rarely gives up without resorting to violence first. I won’t try to figure out if it’s “worth it”; it’s what’s happening, and there’s both horror and beauty in it. []

Annals of the robot Internet: Michael Sappir, Hamas copywriter

I woke up this morning to a very strange and unpleasant mention on Twitter:

Of course, it’s always possible the Israeli Right is, well, right, and that like all lefties I’m an unwitting copywriter for Hamas… But it’s unlikely, so I dilligently applied Occam’s Razor and concluded it must be a typo (okay, I mean I took a guess), and followed the link to see what it’s all about. It turned out to be an auto-generated newspaper-esque page of content — powered by paper.li — collected from tweets with the #Hamas hashtag, conveniently called “The #hamas Daily” — which is this case sounds like an official Hamas publication.

Since one of my posts yesterday was about topics related to Hamas and since I apply an excessive amount of tags, which Feedburner selectively-but-automatically turns into hashtags when tweeting my posts (see tweet below), I ended up being an unwitting copywriter for Hamas, who incidentally would like to kill almost everyone I love.

I never used to believe it when they said machines will rise up to destroy us… But now I’m starting to see it… A conspiracy of half-intelligent automatons, interacting on the wild Internet, producing their own newspapers and slanderous tweets… They are the real enemy!!

Interesting times…

A lot is going on on the Israel/Palestine front in the last few days… Unfortunately I’m a bit bogged down with schoolwork and work, so don’t expect long screeds from me before the end of next week (when classes are over, though not the exams)…

Just a few interesting links for the moment.

“The Gaza Flotilla Inquiry: Afloat in a sea of whitewash”

Sunday, +972 Mag

Roi Maor going over some of the failings of Turkel Commission’s “investigation” of the Gaza siege and the attack of the Mavi Marmara; even information within the report, not to mention public announcements by officials, starkly contradict the Committee’s “conclusions”.

A kick in the Israeli Left’s collective behind [Hebrew]

Monday night, Friends of George

Itamar Sha’altiel is rightly pissed off at the Left’s decidedly lame reaction to the Palestine Papers, their decidedly lame reaction to everything else going on, and their decidedly lame habit of lamely reacting to everything — not to mention their preoccupation with stealing votes from one another rather than focussing on winning the public back from the Right. The Right, he points out, has mastered the steering of public discussion to the point that even their legislation of late seems mainly part of that manipulation. Meanwhile, the Left shows off its socially progressive legislative record, instead of asking the pointed questions that beg to be asked of those in power.

A truly inspiring rant of rage.

“The leaders got it all wrong: Palestinian view on Palestine Papers”

Today (Tuesday), +972 blog (guest post)

Maath Musleh discusses some of failings of the West Bank leadership (perhaps “ruling elite” would be a better word?), as well as Hamas, surrounding the Palestine Papers. The piece also points out that mere peace is not the end-goal:

What Abbas and his peers don’t understand is that peace is not the target. If peace was the target, then the Palestinians could have just left and handed over their land to the Israelis. There you go – no more war.

But this is not about peace. It is about rights and dignity. Of course everyone wants peace. But peace is not just an absence of war. Peace is a state of being, in which people have their rights and dignity. It’s a state of being whereby no one infringes on anyone’s rights. For the Palestinians, the state of peace is what will be when the occupation ends and the refugees have their rights and dignity.

I’ll leave you with that for now, and turn to doing the work I’m paid to do. (Case in point: putting together bibliography databases for the Baure Documentation Project.)