Animation against the Siege

Posted: March 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: culture, war | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

For those who haven’t seen it yet, here is the short animation film by Yoni Goodman, one of Wlatz With Bashir’s animators, protesting the siege on Gaza.

 

Dion Nissenbaum has more about this film.


Clausewitz Says Hi

Posted: February 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: war | Tags: , | Comments Off

Does anyone still think that our great victory in Gaza helped us in any way?


Victory

Posted: January 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, this is personal, war | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

The war in Gaza has ended. That is, if you can call it a war. It was more like a one sided operation. Against heavy artillery, tanks and F-16s, Hamas took the only reasonable course of action: hide instead of fighting. Israel killed mostly civilians.

Even so, I get the feeling that most Israelis see this as a clear victory. If victory is measured by the suffering you inflict upon the other side, they are correct. We had a handful of casualties (some of them from friendly fire), but we destroyed large parts of Gaza, and killed more than 1,300 Palestinians.

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Reserve Service

Posted: January 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: this is personal, war | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Last week I was called to a short reserve service. I am a captain in a civil defense unit. Our main job is to rescue people from collapsed buildings in case of a missile attack or an earthquake.

We were training in a southern army base, not far away from Gaza. It was the same army base where all the reservists who were called for the war were training. I’ve been there several times before, and never saw the place so packed with soldiers. You could hear explosions and gunshots all day long, and the warplanes above us kept waking us up at night. From time to time, there was a missile alarm.

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Arab Rejectionism

Posted: January 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: The Left, war | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Paul Rosenberg from “Open Left” writes on the “Arab rejectionism” argument. Definitely worth reading.

Defenders of Israel’s policies often short-circuit any meaningful dialogue on the Arab-Israeli conflict by reducing the problem to the Arabs and their alleged “rejectionism,” i.e. their refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist.

This argument conveniently removes Israel’s actions from the realm of moral consideration because it implies that changes in Israeli policy will ultimately have no impact one way or another on the ongoing conflict. It is quite difficult for a moral, thinking person to justify Israel’s treatment of the subjugated Palestinians.

Read the rest of his post here.


The Weekend’s Polls, 3.1

Posted: January 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, Polls, war | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

There are two new polls this weekend, and three altogether since the fighting in Gaza began.

The channel 10 poll was taken just as the operation began, and published early this week (I posted it here as well). Haaretz and Maariv polls were conducted later on and published on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Therefore, it’s interesting to note that all three polls show similar results – Labor getting considerably stronger, to 16 MKs, while the Likud and Right wing parties are loosing some ground.

Kadima also benefits from the war so far. But what’s more important for its leader, Tzipi Livni, is that all polls show the Left-Center Block (Kadima + Labor + Meretz + Arab Parties) at a draw or even leading over the Right-Orthodox Block (Likud + Israel Beitenu + Habait Hayehudi + Shas + Yahadut Hatorah). In the Israeli Parliamentary system, it is the leader of the bigger block, and not the bigger party, who will form the next coalition and become PM.

Both The Greens and the senior citizen’s party, Gil, don’t make it to the Knesset in these polls, thus proving again that when the conflict with the Palestinians takes over, it’s practically impossible to push a different agenda.

Here are the numbers and their average (in the grey column). You can see the two blocks on the bottom. Notice that for some reason, the Channel 10 poll adds up to only 118 MKs.

 

polls-311

All pollsters began referring to the Arab parties by their name (”Hadash”, “Balad” and “Raam”), rather than including them under the general “Arab parties” category, as they were ordered to do by The chairman of the Elections Committee, Supreme Court Judge Eliezer Rivlin. I grouped them here for the last time, and starting from next week, I will show each party’s average separately.


Ari Shavit

Posted: January 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, war | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Something bad overcomes Haaretz’s Ari Shavit when he smells gunfire.

On August 11 2006, for some obscure reason, Haaretz published Shavit’s op-ed as the top story on the paper’s front page. It was three days before the end of the 2nd Lebanon war, and Shavit’s article called for PM Olmert resignation if he were to accept the UN security council cease-fire resolution without engaging in a massive ground operation against the Hezbollah.

The ground operation did start that night. It turned out to be the war’s biggest failure, claiming the lives of 33 soldiers. Two days later, Israel accepted the security council cease-fire resolution. Some sources – including military reporters Ofer Shelah and Yoav Limor in their book about the war – claim that Shavit’s article had a major influence on the decision to approve the ground invasion.

I don’t remember Shavit – nor his editors in Haaretz who chose to place his article as their front page statement – ever taking responsibility for their call, or even explaining it. Instead, Shavit became Olmerts greatest critic, calling for his resignation on a weekly basis.

Now Shavit has a new enemy. It’s the Israelis who oppose the war. His ugly article in today’s Haaretz showed Shavit’s utter lack of any understanding of Democracy – but more importantly, that even 33 dead soldiers couldn’t teach him some modesty. That’s what makes the journalists so different from politicians – there is nobody to ask them to resign.


and now what?

Posted: December 31st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, war | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I had a busy week, partly because of the war, and couldn’t update the blog with my thoughts on the events in Gaza. I guess that’s the problem with being a journalist.

I oppose the war. I think it is immoral and unwise.

On the moral side, I don’t agree with the common Israeli point of view, according to which “we left Gaza and they kept firing rockets”. Israel evacuated the settlements, but kept the siege on Gaza, probably in hope that it would topple the Hamas (This policy, of putting the pressure on civilians in hope of replacing the Arab leadership, is not only immoral, but it also failed us again and again, both in the West Bank and in Lebanon). This does not justify the rockets that were fired on Israel, but since Israel refused to even consider removing the siege or ruled out negotiations with the Hamas, it left the other side with very few options.

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Today’s poll, Dec 28

Posted: December 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: elections, Polls, war | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Channel 10 conducted a special election poll yesterday, in order to check the effect of the IDF attack in Gaza.

As expected, Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Labor is getting considerably stronger, with 16 MKs – its highest result in the last few months. The Center-Left Block (Labor+Kadima+Meretz+Arab Parties) is getting 61 MKs out of the Knesset’s 120, meaning Benjamin Netanyahu won’t be able to form a coalition, even if his Likud party will be the biggest in the Knesset.

It would be wise, however, to treat these result with caution. Military operations always increase support for the PM and its ministers in the first few days. Approval ratings for PM Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were somewhere between 80 to 90 percent in the first week of the Lebanon war. A month later, they dropped below 40 (and later on, to the single digit zone).
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War in Gaza

Posted: December 27th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, war | Tags: , | Comments Off

Israel launched its attack on Gaza today. It seemed almost inevitable in the last few days. Even if you oppose the siege on Gaza (like I do), no country is expected to accept rockets fired on its citizens on an hourly basis. In the long run, though, I don’t think there is an alternative to negotiations with the Hamas.

Starting a war is easy, but Israelis should ask themselves what they hope to achieve in this round of violence, as we might find ourselves in the exact same position when the shooting stops (but with much more blood on our hands). That’s what happened in the last war Lebanon.

The Palestinians report around two hundred dead, including many civilians. Half of this amount caused Israel to stop its “Grapes of Wrath” operation in Lebanon in 1996. Nobody even considers this possibility now. That goes to show how cheap the lives of the Palestinians have become.

 

There is also one Israeli dead.