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Israel: Voices against the violence

The Hebrew blogosphere is battling over right and wrong, support vs. opposition and what it means to be patriotic to your own country, while at the same time condemning its actions. In this post, I translated four different entries which highlight their writers’ struggle with the grave outcomes of a war. A war where news is biased; where one side is considerably more powerful than the other; where innocent civilians are used as human shields and where the death toll is steep.

In the first post, Raviv Druker reacts to the online petition posted against TV news anchor Yonit Levi in reaction to her stating an opinion while presenting the news:

The petition against Yonit Levi is ugly and disgusting. Every round of fighting displays an odd sense of “patriotism”. In the second Intefada, Ariel Sharon refused to continue because he allowed to broadcast an interview with Yasser Arafat on the national channel 1. The interview, BTW, brought immense damange to Arafat's image, who sounded like a dazed old man. From this round, we will probably remember this petition. Its members write, with hypocrisy, that this is not an issue of left and right. That she cannot state her opinions (of course she can only if they match the petition creator's opinions) and that she conveyed compassion towards the Palestinians. God forbid. Where is her heart? How can she think about another nation when we are suffering so badly? Even if hundreds of civilians were killed there.

In such a period, people expect you to take the IDF reports as trustworthy, or at least better than the Palestinian version. We've all been through many events where we believed, and believed, until it became clear that we were misled. Sometimes with carelessness. One time, the qassam that was taken on an ambulance, turned out to be a strecher. Another, the homes that IDF promised not to destroy in Rafah, were destroyed. A third time, a journalist was killed, not in the circumstances that IDF insisted upon. There were some more incidents, that etched a notion of skepticism in my consciousness towards the IDF spokesman. Also this operation is not lacking doubts. The truck that was bombed, believed to have been carrying Grad missiles, actually carried oxygen tanks. A school was bombed because missiled were shot from it, and those who shot the missiled, according to IDF spokesman, were killed from the bombs and hidden by the Palestinians. I really wanted to belive this, because the civilians who died there weighed heavily on my conscience. Yesterday there was a small notification (I think in Haaretz) that the IDF investigation found out that those who shot the missiles were in a street adjacent to the school. The IDF's bombing in reaction to the shooting took into consideration a possibility of deviation from the target. I think that there was someonewho did not want to shoot, but finally decided to, and hit the school. IDF claims 7 were killed there. The Palestinians claim 40. I wish I could believe IDF.

Yoav Karni highlights how in his eyes, Israeli politicians are doing a terrible job at justifying their actions to the rest of the world:

Roughness, defensiveness and lack of sensitivity has always portrayed Israeli public speakers. One can understand why. They encounter walls of incomprehension and hatred. It is so clear to them that their listeners don't get it. Tzipi Livni complained this week in an interview with an un-sympathizing BBC reporter about “the difference between the impression of what we really are and how we are presented”.

She was wrong. People do not like to listen to self-pity from a country that drops one hundred tons of bombs one morning on a densely populated city. People tend to doubt being righteous. Ms. Livni should not continue to brag about our “values”. We all know what she means, but self-enthusiasm over the IDF's values is not accepted these days.

Not when five young Palestinian sisters lay dead on front pages. Not when young, anxious parents carry infants from the smoking rubble (BTW – this was probably the most popular photo in the world during the first 48 hours of operation “cast lead”).

Not when journalists continue to emphasize the “disproportion”. The British Guardian, one of Israel's greatest journalistic enemy in the Western world counted this week the Palestinian losses, dead and wounded, and stated: “this is a reaction to hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas militants, who killed one Israeli in the past six months.” But the equations is always this way.

Always this way.

Which, obviously, raises the question – how many Israelis need to die until the Guardian's journalists will recognize Israel's right to protect its’ citizens?

Eyal Gross describes how one can still be patriotic and oppose the war:

To oppose the war doesn't mean not recognizing the fact that firing qassam missiles towards Israeli citizens is a terrible, atrocious and despicable act.

To oppose the war doesn't mean one does not recognize Hamas’ grave responsibility towards the current state of suffering brought upon us and the Palestinian people.

To oppose the war doesn't mean one must ignore the suffering of Sderot residents along with the rest of the south, who have tolerated qassam rockets. I am saying the opposite.

Opposing the war comes from a belief that fighting and violence will not solve the qassam problem, nor will it fix our ties with Hamas. Just like the missiles during the second Lebanon war and the Iraqi scud missiles in 1991 could only be stopped through a cease-fire agreement.

Opposing the war comes from realizing that since in the end, there will be a cease-fire agreement anyways, we will return to the initial point, only with more death, hurting and hate on both sides.

Opposing the war comes from thinking we need to try other ways.

Opposing the war means opening our eyes and realizing how many innocent Palestinian civilians we are killing. Look at the human rights document describing the killin of students in the UN facility and describes the killing of children. I believe that this killing is morally wrong, and will create so much hate, that will only raise the violence towards Israel.

I think there is an easy explanation. When a qassam is fired towards Sderot, everyone in Israel agrees that this act is evil, sad and atrocious. This is also the case when an innocent Israeli civilian is hurt. However, there is a wide concensus in Israel that attacking Gaza is alright, and when we kill innocent Palestinians, if at all that is reported, it is usually portrayed as legitimate. Usually there is no need to write the obvious, meaning = “I am also against qassam missiles” – of course I am against them like every single Israeli I know. We need to voice the not so obvious opinions along those that are not mentioned.

And finally Mishka reacts to the harsh number of dead reported from Gaza:

The ratio between civilians and armed Hamas militia is harsh, even according to the IDF's statements. Yes, I know very well that Hamas is cynically and deliberately using children and civilians as human shields. And yes, I know that during a war, civilians are hurt. But when the fire stops, and the black smoke clears from above the Gaza strip, we will remain with our conscious; with pictures of destruction and death.

I apologize to you readers for not posting Israeli perspectives over the past two weeks. I have been absent and recently returned. As I sift through the Hebrew blogosphere please feel free to send me links to posts you believe should be highlighted.

9 comments

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  • SMILEY

    Israel has a right to exist as a nation so do the Palestinians. Hamas is the reason why there is so much violence in the middle east. Hamas is not concerned about the plight of the Palestinians! Their main objective is for the destruction of Israel. Israel did not provoke this intrusion into Gaza. Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel and Israel has every right to defend itself. The Palestinians should get rid of Hamas or kick them out of Gaza for them to live peacefully with Israel.
    The Palestinians has suffered long enough and they deserve to live in peace and prosperity.

  • No reason to apologize; excellent post, thanks for sharing these perspectives!

  • .
    Hamas will never honor a ceasefire, and as soon as they start firing rockets again, Israel must too.

    These people equating Israel with the Nazis have to be insane, and they are mostly from the Left. The Left acting like Nazis and calling for a new Hitler, and for the Jews to go to the ovens, wow! Hitler, someone even most of them would say they hate. The Left, many are anti-semitic Nazis, they should be so proud. The truth is coming out, it is getting harder to hide.

    The MSM is insidious, they are instrumental in fanning these flames. We must keep trying to de-brainwash as many people as possible. As the brave Geert Wilders put it recently, “To begin with, there is already a Palestinian state, and that is Jordan. This land covers nearly eighty percent of the historic Palestine. Most residents of Jordan are Palestinians, for instance queen Rania.”

    Why doesn’t Jordan take the poor Palestinians in the West Bank and Egypt control the nut jobs in Gaza?

    They don’t want them, that’s why. They should be made to take them. That may be the only answer.

    Hamas is what makes Gaza much worse than it could be. If they would give up the dream of destroying Israel and the Jews and stopped all missiles and suicide bombers, and all terrorist attacks, Israel would welcome doing business with them, and things would be peaceful. But they can’t do this as long as they follow their Koran strictly.

    There is no negotiating with a mad man, or with Jihadis who want to die to go get their 72 virgins.
    I hope Israel doesn’t quit too early. If Israel is destroyed, terrorism in the rest of the world will just increase, it will never stop, as long as there are Radical Muslims, or rather, Muslim Fundamentalists; who are appeased, defended, and kissed up to.
    .
    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    let someone hit you

    over and over again
    and NEVER hit back harder

    .
    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    DO NOT defend your country

    from terrorist monkeys
    just let them bomb you at will

    .
    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    BOMB kindergartens

    then piss and moan and whine
    when their parents bomb you back

    .
    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    never mock Hamas

    it’s just their religion
    you RIGHT-WING INFIDEL
    .
    All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
    .
    What Really Happened in the MidEast?
    ..ubletr

  • Mohamed

    Who said that Israel has the right to exist?!, where do you get these statement from.

    the facts are “Israel is a colonial power that invaded the state of Palestine”… you’ve got to live with this fact, and assume the consequences.

    Someone said “I know very well that Hamas is cynically and deliberately using children and civilians as human shields” !!!

    Hamas are people living in Gaza, they are fathers of Gazzan kids, sons of Gazans mothers, they are defending their families, exercing their right to resist… don’t you get it!

    When your land is occupied you brothers mutilated your daughters dead. what would you do against the 5th most powerfull army in the world that attack you from air sea and land?

    OK.. let us assume that Hamas is using kids as human shields, does it give the right to Israel to kill 300 kids and 200 women, shame on you , shame on you.

  • Welcome back Gilad.

  • Thank you very much for carrying together all the different opinion and different point of views. It is important to know that the people in israel aren’t necessarely on governments side.
    Mohamed, I think you are totally right on the one hand. On the other hand I am just sick and tired of the policy-makers abusing peoples fate in order to encourage their power. Shame on them!

  • I have an email of pictures. I would like it to be posted on the web. When one compares and sees these picture with that Germany in 1940 one will only see similarities.

    One question if the way was other way around where Isreal was being attacked and 1300 lives lost, imagine the headlines in the news.

    Whos land is it? Isreal is occupying Palestanian.

    A question if u have a house and thereafter some comes there and kick u out of your house? I ask what would u do? Would u accept it or would u do everything to regain it? Y do we have jails and courts

    Jewish people born in other countries gets citizenship then Arabs?

    Is the US and UN fair to Palestian? No
    Is the US fair brokers? U can guess
    Can Arabs vote in Isreal or have party? No
    Which country violates Geneva and UN Resolution? U can Guess Isreal

    I would like to global voice to give me and email address and publish the pictures so that the viewers to objectively make their own conclusions about the Islreal.

  • Well Israel is a strong nation so are we. I think that the United States and the rest of our allies, should show these; terrorist and Islamic crowd a thing or two. I’m in full support of Israel they have a right as a people and a right as a nation to defend themselves by any means necessary. We should just go in with our military into these Islamic countries and hit them and see how they like being hit with some bombs and rockets. When Ronald Regan was president we had that conflict with Libya, we went in there and leveled the place. These Islams will keep on doing what they are doing. I think though that the allies and The United States we should destroy all of the Islamic countries in the world then we shall have peace.

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