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.
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.