Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 13 or is 14

Day 13 or is 14

The shelling of civilian neighbourhoods is a war crime. In just 13 days almost 400 civilians are dead in Lebanon, particularly in the south. 13 days. 400 deaths. Children. Families. When they are told to flee they are bombed. See Robert Fisk ‘is this a war crime?’ in the Independent Monday.
These people are not trash to be killed at Israel’s pleasure. At least the civilians in Israel have warning sirens and bunkers. They seem to have a nice life down there according to TV images. Food, drink, toys to play with. No American-made bunker busting bombs there. The children of South Lebanon have no warning sirens, no bunkers to hide in.
They are not human shields. Even Hezbollah would lose its support if it did that. No they are told to flee and obediently like slaves to the Israeli whip they leave. Only to be murdered in cold blood by Israeli/American missiles. Is this some religious zeal? Is this what Israeli people want? Where is the moral compass? Where is the rational compass? How can moderate Israelis live with themselves? How can any Israelis live with themselves? Perhaps only by believing the propaganda that all Arabs are less than human, are ‘terrorists’, and destroying any democratically elected people including Hamas and Hezbollah members.
As the Israelis are doing in Gaza they are doing in Lebanon. No life, even the littlest boy’s is worth that of a good Israeli soldier, defending the dream of Zion that has gone so sour with the blood of thousands on its hands.
As Israel is systematically destroying Palestinian society and the Palestinian nation through walls and methods of war and imprisonment of thousands without charge, committing ethnocide, while the US and the world allow it to happen, willing partners in this crime alongside the rest of the autocratic Arab world, the same is happening in Lebanon.
Ethnic cleansing, the displacement of hundreds of thousands and the deaths of innocents for a war that cannot be won, in an attempt to change the facts on the ground. This will go on and on. Israel’s legacy of hate continues.
The government of Ehud Olmert will set its borders in the next few years, without consulting the Palestinians (who are they?), without giving them contiguous territory, a capital, or international borders, taking whatever land it wants, whatever the Palestinians think. The same is happening in Lebanon. Israeli is telling Lebanon what it should do and deciding to do it for them. Rogue state?
And I haven’t even mentioned Israeli nuclear power or the massive corporate industry that is it’s military, that is the whole state come to think of it.
The Lebanese as a whole may not agree with Hezbollah, or with Iran or with Syria. But many do see a point in unifying and resisting the destruction of a nation. Because that is what we are witnessing today.
The Lebanese were working on national dialogue to find a solution and a way to implement 1559. Perhaps the Lebanese are weak under too many regional influences. Yes it is taking time. But as Condi says diplomacy needs time right?
War this is not the way to solve it. Not with such severity and such damage to Lebanon and its people and, ultimately, to the Israeli ‘cause’.
Who defines the word ‘terror’? What is going on now is state terrorism. Israel is a terrorist. Over 500,000 people without homes or beds. Almost 400 people dead. In just 13 days.
Occupation has corrupted Israel and its people. Where are the universal human rights and civil rights that make the Jewish people who they are? People who far more than continuous Israeli governments represent the good of their religion and faith.
I know this because I spent my youth in a school of mixed races and no religious education of which half the population was Jewish, many friends, all of whom lived in the UK and all of whom demonstrated more goodwill and understanding than the leadership and military of Israel has ever done.
Israel in words of Jeff Halper, Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions in the US, ‘has become a Sparta, an aggressive country with no moral brakes that endangers its neighbours, peoples of far-away lands and, in the end, it’s own population.
‘Israel has become a handmaiden (to choose a nice word) to American Empire, compounding the sins of the occupation by joining forces with chauvinistic neocons, corporations pursuing war profits, anti-Semitic fundamentalists and other dubious forces subverting progressive civil society elements around the world.’
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
The new Middle East will not be defined by America and Israel. The peoples of the Arab world will not allow it. Especially in the face of so much violence and aggression and death laid down by Israel and the US. How many deaths in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine does it to take to understand that this murder is wrong?
As Condi says the deaths of civilians is pretty much the price to paid in the birth pangs of the New Middle East. They are really drunk on power.
If peace loving Israelis do not war as many claim to me then why do they live in a military state. It seems war is allowed under specific circumstances but at what cost to Israel, it’s neighbours and the world.
Lebanon has 300,000 Palestinian refugees. The separation between the questions of Occupied Palestine and Lebanon or the current actions in the country is not possible.
Hezbollah, the question of its arms, its holding of Lebanon to ransom, must be solved by Lebanon and Lebanon alone. If we are just a country being used as proxy for Syrian and Iranian battles then Israel should know better than to play into others hands. Unless this was the plan all along once a suitable pretext came about. And now Israel with the US in tow wants to force a ceasefire under its terms. It will not work and can only backfire. And it is a disaster for Lebanon, the region and for Israel itself.
And countless more innocents die. Stop this war before it is too late for the future of our children.


Blogger Anon said...

I have been avidly reading this blog and researching manically to delve beyond that that is shown on the television here in England. I am thankful for this resource of information and edification.

Although removed from the current events, both in experience and geography, I have a deep sense of sorrow and grievance at the way in which things are unfolding. I am befuddled at to Israel’s agenda and am frustrated at my own government’s inaction and apparently needless conformity.

I particularly find the parallels of Lebanon to Palestine, raised in the post, harrowing. The world cannot stand by and allow annexation or a clone of the West Bank Barrier. Surely. Countless security council resolutions must be transcended to prevent even the possibility. OK, resolution 1559 is outstanding, but aren’t legacies such as 338 (1973) and 242 (1967) also coming back into focus? The apathy that Kofi Annan experienced on the 22nd July is disappointing and inexcusable. I hope that the UN finds the coherence to act expediently, before it becomes just another ‘league of nations’.

I agree that the disarming of Hezbollah is Lebanon’s responsibility but it seems the international community, allowing only a short amount of time, finds that this has not been fulfilled since the Cedar revolution. However ridiculous, Israel seem to find vindication in their actions from the word ‘Katyusha’. The disturbing supposition that there was a plan given suitable pretext seems to resonate in the chilling article in the San Francisco Chronicle of July 21st by Matthew Kalman.

I hope that Reuters’ report of today’s (24th July) meetings regarding the “world’s most powerful diplomat”, by Sue Pleming, alludes to the beginning of talks which can only start with a ceasefire. I also hope that everyone can embrace magnanimity....quickly.

What I see and hear appals me; I wish you all the best.


1:41 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Say WHAT?????

Tell me Ramsay, before you spewed out all those ignorant questions about the Israeli civilians, did you even think to glance at your own blog?

You dare to judge us, question our morals and peace wishes, when you don't even bother to pay due respect to any opinion other than your own (especially when god forbid it comes from the other side!). You criticize our lives when you've never even been here, when you don't know what it means to be an Israeli, and you don't even try to understand - AND YOU CALL US BLIND?

We israelis may be awful but at least many of us are doing their best right now to create dialog and promoting understanding between the two countries, more than there's ever been before, thankfully with many wonderful partners on the other side who are just as willing. Together, we LISTEN.
Here are a few fine examples of that dialog, you would benefit greatly to learn from them:

What have YOU done, other than fueling the hatred? you talk about peace, is this your idea of making it happen? who is benefiting from your hateful rhetorics, I'd love to know. How are you better than us, then?

Your ignorant and narrow minded attitude is a disgrace to your country and your proffession. A journalist, a man of culture - yeah right. All you are doing is stoking the flame that has already gotten out of hand.

But you'll probably not even look at this anyway.

3:24 AM  
Blogger RS said...

Nothing I have said is unreasonable. In fact talkj to Gush Shalom and you will see there are many ISraelis who agree with me. How many Palestinians and Lebanese must die? How can I visit a nation that occupies another and brutalises another. There is nothing narrow-minded in what I am saying. I am asking you- Lilu - how you can live with all these children dead, and the terrorising of the Lebanese nation. Have you been to an Israeli jail? Have you been to Gaza? Have you tried to travel as Palestinian through checkpoint after checkpoint. You should try it.
As I havce said before this blog offers a discussion and an opinion and this post in particualr asks questions. I do not hate but I want to know how you can live with yourself. The facts, of which such posts are an interpretation of, are there in front of you. 400 dead, 500,000 displaced, a legacy of hate being built, destruction everywhere and a country's infrastructure and economy being destroyed when it had everything going for it. These are the facts I am reporting from here my opinion aside. Nothing in your comment answers the questions I raise. This is not about hate. I am not a hater, but perhaps like you I am angry. My life is upside down, years of hard work destroyed in one fell swoop (and yes perhaps it is not just Israel to blame) and separated from my love who was to land and start her life with me here last week in our new home, and now who I am not able to be with because it is too dangerous for her to come. Now i question whether I can live a future in this country which is now unstable.
I appreciate that my points in the post are difficult to stomach for you but try to look at them closely and ask yourself why?
Whatever happened to the founding ideals of Israel which itself was born out of the terror militia groups? Tell me where is the morality?
Hezbollah could and should have been dealt with in another way.Instead of trying to negotiate with Syria or Lebanon ISrael always opts for power of force to then use what they get out of it to bargain with.
Please try to answer the questions I raise in the post instead of personally attacking me. This is what I am trying to find out. Because if i understand how you see it then maybe we can begin to understand eachother.
And please don't resort to slandering my reporting - Read any of my reporting on this situation in papers or magazines and you will see exactly what i see, with no opinion of analysis. Reporting is straight presenting the facts. That is what I have done if you care to do your research. This blog allows a space for opinion. If we get these questions out in the open then we can talk about them. I have already been challenged on many points I have made and I have answered them and sometimes changed my mind to the others point of view. The point is that I do not need to justify myself. So please as a young 'peace-loving' Israeli please answer the post intelligently so I can understand. BTW I read all the comments. I prefer to answer in the blog.

9:22 AM  
Blogger dobegs said...

Ramsi I think you are a little out of hand with using the hate theme throughout. I think Liulu has a good point that most of your 'reporting' only shows hate and anger and you are most entitled to it. but look at the other side too... it may give you a chance and to the readers of understanding eachother better and offerring hope peace and positive vibe at a difficult time like today.

I have many lebanease friends that dont hate so much nor promote hate as much as you but on the last comment to Lilu it seems you have personal anger and I can understand why you hate so much.

I really wish you all the best, stay safe and hope that you get everything that you hope dream and wish for in life. oh one more thing which Im sure you know.... life is so so short, lets love eachother a little more than hate.....

A plus tard, ciao, Shalom, bye Salam.

2:59 PM  
Blogger mrfixit1 said...

you are right, they should not bomb, they should simply send in ground troops and take care of business that way. but then why should ground troops die? how is a soldiers life any less precious than anyone elses? a life is a life.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you are right, they should not bomb, they should simply send in ground troops and take care of business that way. but then why should ground troops die? how is a soldiers life any less precious than anyone elses? a life is a life. "

Maybe, but Soldiers are armed and have a superior logistic.
They can defend themself.

Civilians can't...

1:11 PM  
Blogger dobegs said...

oh I see no coment what so ever from the all mighty Ramsay. not to bother to enegage in dialogue with anyone that he does not agree with on his BLOG.

OK understood Sir! good luck with the positive attiude. :)

2:28 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Well FINALLY a response.. though, I am not surprised to see you didn't understand what I was trying to say.

I am not disputing or denying or even disagreeing with your facts nor some of your opinions, it's your attitude that troubles me. I am sorry, but there are more facts you need to recognise. Other questions to be asked. Other sides. Other victims. Where are the Israeli children in your posts? if less of them die in comparison to Lebanese, do they not matter? are their deaths not as senseless? they're not important enough to talk about? the Israelis are the only ones at fault here? no one else has made mistakes that have led to this situation? We are to be confronted with the error of our ways, but you guys are perfect, you're in the clear?
Your posts give me the impression that your heart bleeds, but only for the Lebanese. And this is the problem - that type of attitude has NEVER SOLVED anything. A lifetime of living with crisis and seeing it responded with exactly this attitude - each side sticking to its own, lashing out, blaming, ignoring the suffering of the other side - has taught me that. Your protests? I've heard them all before, too many times. It appeares this is the standard Middle Eastern response at every incident, on each side. Are we still in this mess? yes we are. So obviously we should start looking for different ways to handle this, if we want to actually bring on some changes. We have to WORK TOGETHER FOR ALL SIDES, otherwise no one will get what they want.

As for your reporting - please don't hide behind the word "blog". You are a well known journalist, so any public platform you use automatically has the same clout, and this blog has the same influence as your newspaper and magazine pieces, I think you know it. You have the same responsibility to give the fullest and best researched reporting you can here - especially when it is your opinion that you voice. This is exactly the reason I started talkbacking here - because you get so much exposure, you have such a voice, so if I could get a dialog going with you and achieve some understandings, maybe this will be an example for lots of people. But I have yet to see you put yourself objectively in the other side's shoes, and this is the first step to achieve understanding - so how is anyone gonna learn to do this from you? your words, at times, are literally de-humanising the Israelis. This is what you want to teach?

As for your questions. Well, like I said, the answers WERE there in the comments. I don't know why you assumed I'm not aware of the horrible things happening to the Lebanese and Palestinians. How do I live with myself knowing all those [Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian] children are dying? with much pain and sadness (it troubles me you didn't see that from my comments). So I try whatever is in my democratic means, as your average young Israeli, to make a difference - I exercise my right to vote. I protest the causes I believe in. I find the places where I can change something. If I see that previous solutions aren't working, I try something else. Now for example? I think a big part of the problem is the misunderstandings on both sides, so I try to find the place where I can communicate with the other side and establish some conversation. I don't think I need to justify myself either. And by the way, here's another example of how some Israelis live with themselves - There's some people to learn from about morality. They recognise their mistakes and try to correct them.

One more thing, a general note regarding what the government of Israel/Lebanon/Syria/Iran/USA is or isn't doing, what it should and should not do, what it has or hasn't. I'm not a politician or an army leader, neither are you. Neither of us know exactly what is going on behind those commanders' doors. There is much we do not know about what each party is REALLY up to past present and future, so we should be careful making statements about it.

I am very sorry for what has happened to you. I wish you will be able to reunite with your love and restore at least some of the work you have lost. I personally, as a fan of Time Out Tel Aviv, would love to read Time Out Beirut one day. But you are not the only one whose life has been turned upside down. I wish I could find and send you the picture of Pesach Pesachov in his in-law's front yard in the village of Meiron, refusing to let go of the small sheet-covered body of his 7 year old son Omer, who was directly hit by a katyusha rocket while in his grandmother's arms - she was badly injured and died shortly after.
As for futures? me, I wonder whether any of us will even have a future.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And i would still like to know why you do not speak of the PM of Lebannon that was assasinated by the Syrian gov't. Why is it that you talk so freely about the res 1559 but no talk of WHY it is not being enforced.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow Lilu I am impressed by your passion and writing to Ramsay. lets see if the Great 'Editor' Journalist choose to respond as a human being to a human being.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

:) thanks... I'm not much counting on it, not that I wouldn't like to see it....

9:29 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Clearly I have now acquired a big reputation.


First, my professionalism as a reporter, editor and writer and my record as a journalist are not something you need to question. It stands for itself and many,many people will vouch for it. I hide behind nothing. My words are clear.

Second, I don't presume that everything I say is right. My attitude has never ignored Israeli dead or injured. The posts on this blog are merely telling a story that is happening now from the point of the view of someone who does not believe that what Israel is doing at this time is right and who finds it very difficult to understand the extreme actions of the IDF. I think since you remain glued to this blog my views in some cases are ones that have opened your eyes to many things you will admit - though not all that you agree on.

I have not once defended suicide bombings, Hezbollah missiles, or the murder of innocents on any side.

But my job here is talk about what is happening in Lebanon and I hold Israel responsible for much, as much as I hold the conniving, power hungry Lebanese politicians from all sides responsible for much.

I let you tell me about the Israeli civilians who die. You are my eyes and ears over there.

Again i am asking you to answer the questions i pose in this post to help me understand where you are coming from.

Tell me where is the moral and rational compass of the Israeli state?

Explain to me the Security Wall.

Explain to me the depths of despair of my Palestinian friends in the camps of Sabra and Shatilla who just long to go back to their country - who have shit lives here but whose parents and grandparents have lived in exile since 1948.

Do you beleive that Palestinians have equal right to the land of Israel? When will the occupation stop?

I have little faith in politicians. That is why I am a journalist. To keep an eye on the elected officials who we put in power to take decisions for us. They need to be watched. Unfortunately when you shut your eye for second they do things 'not in your name' - Hezbollah in LEbanon and the IDF in ISrael. But most people in ISrael are pro this war.

That is something I disagree with. My friends and family are displaced from the south, their homes destroyed, their villages crushed in one fell swoop. That is not because of Hezbollah. That is because of Israel.

The majority Israeli attitude of 'by any means necessary' is very problematic for me. People are worth more on every side and are not just collateral damage. All extremists and governments need to understand that.

And Dobegs - your sarcastic attitude doesn't encourage people to take you seriously. But I think you know that.

Lilu I hope this helps a bit. I am merely trying to understand. But I will again tell you that I believe Israel's current action is wholly and morally wrong and the destruction and damage it is causing to Lebanon and to Israel by the attitude it is causing many Arabs to take against your country is something that might never be repaired.
The link you posted has provided some clarity on how some Israelis think differently.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

well Ramsay, it's just I haven't seen you respond much, especially not to the Israelis on here, so cheers for that..

Again, I'm not all questioning your journalism record and skills. More so, I hold much respect for them and for you, this is exactly the reason it was so important for me to try and communicate with you - because your voice is THAT far reaching. And for that reason, this blog is far reaching too, as much as a newspaper article. I'm really trying to emphasize to you the power of this blog, I can't believe that you're not aware of it..

I believe that you do not ignore the Israeli dead - but you speak nothing of them on THIS BLOG. I tell you that as a reader, going by the general atmosphere here, it's as if they're not important. Because this blog has such power, because you yourself do, I should think it would be appropriate to present more than just one side - because there is more than one side and that's the reality of the situation. You know what? I'll just say it. I am asking you to present other sides. Please. For the sake of all of us. I have much faith in you that you are the kind of person who can make a difference.

Actually, what keeps me glued to this blog the most is the dialog I am able to have here. This place gives me a unique opportunity to bridge some very wide gaps and possibly add something better to the world. Yes, my eyes have been opened to new things, but it was mostly, I am sorry to say, from the other talkbackers. I see extreme importance in keeping this line of communication open, if we're ever gonna recover from this and live side by side in peace.

I understand you need to talk about what is happening in Lebanon. I thank you for doing that. It's just that to me, talking about what is happening in Lebanon cannot go without talking about what is happening in Israel - the human aspect of it. They are inseperabley joined.

To your questions: the moral and rational compass of the Israeli state? hell I don't know. Everyone has a different opinion. What does the government think it's doing? I haven't a clue. All I know is that I think this has spiralled horribly out of control and that you shouldn't be paying this price. I also know that many many other ordinary civilians think like me. This is what I know.
I have no explanation for the Security Wall. I really don't. Nor do I have any answers for your refugee friends. I wish I did. I wish I had a solution for them.
Yes, I think Palestinians have equal right to this land. I think both sides need to recognise they both have a claim here, and must learn to share this land, there is no other choice. I do not know when the occupation will end, all I can do is hope it will be soon, so everyone could start focusing on building their own futures instead of fighting for them.

I also have very little faith in politicians. Especially ours, and I haven't seen one true worthy leader here since Rabin. The only good things governments has ever been able to do since his assasination, were ending the occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000 and the disengagement plan last summer. I really thought that was the beginning of real change here. So far it seems I was wrong.

Yes, most people in Israel are pro this war, but not how you think. Not at the magnitude it has excalated to. They just have a different view on it. You think this war as about getting at the Lebanese, well we see otherwise. From here this war is about defending and protecting us. It is something every citizen of every country expects and demands of their government, a need you surely can understand.
But no, we do not want it to cost so much damage. Few are those unintelligent twats who are happy at the destruction of Lebanon.
Objectively speaking - you cannot expect of someone who's home was destroyed not to want the government to do something about it, right? No, they do not want the government to go out and kill innocents for it, but they want justice of the people responsible. I'm not justifying, just explaining - it's just that you and the government of Israel have different views on exactly whose responsible. I'm not saying they've got the right idea, but I doubt they are delibaretly going after civilians just for the fun of it.

As for your friends? well I'm sorry but I guess we will always disagree on that. Yes, Israel lit the flames. Yes, Israel destroyed their homes. Yes, if it weren't for Israel your friends would probably still have their homes. But yes, Hizballah struck the match. Yes, if it weren't for Hizballah your friends would definitely still have their home. If you do not see that, you are more naive than I. And you know, I can say the same thing - friends and family are displaced from the North, their lives destroyed. So who shall I blame? I could say that if it weren't for Lebanon, they would still have their homes, couldn't I? that it is because of the Lebanese government who did not stop Hizballah before they fired the rocket? and then you could say that it is really Israel's fault because they provoked Hizballah and the Palestinians... and we could do this forever, It would never end, and no one would ever win. This is the game of constant never ending war. Everyone's responsible for something, and the ball keeps on rolling. It will get us nowehere.

Yes, there is a big problem with the 'any means neccesary' attitude. But you see, Israel is unfortunately badly affected with paranoia and pride. I don't think this is the right way to go about, I think the government should learn to rise above it, but I understand where it comes from. We are so small and new, we have never had any quiet. War and attacks are all the people living here have ever known, there are so many bad memories of horrors, of having to fight for your life (many citizens are also holocaust survivors), so people are wary to put trust in anyone but ourselves. Sometimes I think that maybe people here just don't know yet how to live without being victims - like it is an inseperable part of the definition of the word Israeli. To me this is a negative thing, and I hope we learn to move beyond it soon. I think I am seeing the beginning of it now, with the changing of the generations.

Of course, I completely agree that people are worth more on all sides.

On a practical note, I completely agree that we are, though indeliberately, causing ourselves great damage with the attitude we are planting in the Arab world. Simple cause and effect. I have always pleaded this as a case of why we should soften up on the Palestinians - because violence breeds violence, hate is our biggest problem so we should make sure we minimise it as much as possible and refrain from anything that brings on antagonism.

All I am asking is that you grant me the courtesy I grant you - I listen to you, I put myself in your shoes, I work my head around to understand, and I feel pain for you.

I hope this helps YOU understand.

12:33 PM  
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3:26 PM  
Blogger Arab Killer said...

The Lebanese looked the other way while hezbollah launched rockets into Israel again and again. They do not control their own nation and turn to hezbollah for their defense? hezbollah has helped destroy Lebanon and turning to them will only lead to further destruction. I anticipate the day the lebanese army is wiped out for engaging the IDF on the battlefield. This would be mass suicide.

I feel no sympathy for the dead who are less than the dogs that eat their rotting corpses.

6:45 PM  
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8:27 PM  

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