(I received this today from Israel, on day two of the assault on Gaza).
I’ve been driven mad by this whole thing since yesterday, literally in a state of shock, not believing that the so-called “moderate” leadership of Olmert, Livni, and Barak, could actually give the go-ahead to such a bloody operation. And now, despite the unbelievably disproportionate and unjustified punishment of innocent civilians, Livni and Olmert feel they can’t back down until “Hamas realizes it made a mistake”. They’ve dug a hole for themselves so deep, and hundreds if not thousands of graves for the Palestinians, that it will take a lot to get out of right now. I fear many more will lose their lives. The International Community MUST react immediately, and not wait again 34 days like it did in Lebanon in 2006.
…I don’t think I’ve ever been as ashamed of being an Israeli as I am today. And it will take me some time to fully understand the twisted logic that lead these criminal-leaders to act as they did. The absurd of it is, that they (Olmert, Barak, Livni) are pushing us to vote either Meretz, or Likud in the next elections. I no longer understand what the Left, or Center-Left stand for. Their behavior is worse than any of the other parties, certainly today.
…I cannot even bring myself to apologize on behalf of my country, because at the moment I cannot fathom affording them this benefit. Perhaps Israelis truly do not understand what the alternative to peace is, and need to relearn it once more. Perhaps the only way Israelis will awaken from this self-deception and self-pity, is by feeling the consequences of war. Perhaps only when thousands of Israelis, civilian and soldier, will die, will we truly consider our actions. These are horrible words to say about your own people, and your own country, and I pray I’m wrong.
Please continue to believe that there are still many in Israel who are appalled and shocked today, and are ashamed.
Is Israel a bully or a victim??
To the Bleeding Heart Israeli who wrote the letter to QN:
Most Israelis are proud today because they finally see that their government is taking their security seriously. It must be made clear to Hamas what was made clear to Hizballah. If you screw with Israel you will pay a huge price. A disproportional price. A price that will make you say, I wish I hadn’t screwed with Israel. With Hizballah this has worked rather well. The northern border of Israel has never been more quiet. Let’s hope this strategy also works with Hamas. We’ll see.
What you don’t understand is that this strategy will save lives in the long term. By making the price of war very high, there will be much less war. That is the main reason that Syria will not go to war with Israel because it knows it will pay a huge price. The terror organizations Hizballah and Hamas thought they could harass Israel without paying a huge price. Well, they were wrong. Which is good news for the middle east because it means much less war in the future.
And by the way, vote for Netanyahu, after all, “he is the only one that can bring peace”, no?
What a laugh.
You may be making the price of war very high, but you’ve made the price of surrender even higher.
Such sadism baffles me.
Did Hizballah surrender?
What has surrender got to do with anything? Please explain yourself. You think I want Hamas to surrender? All I want is for them to stop shooting rockets.
Nasrallah’s speech just proved my point. He is not willing to actively help the Palestinians except complain about Egypt. Why do you think that is? Very simple, the price of war. It works like a charm. At the basis of every stable arrangement there are credible threats and clear outcomes that can be forseen by each participant. Now that everybody knows the price of an Israel-Hizballah-Lebanon war, the chances of such a war happening are very very slim. Hopefully, such an arrangment will be reached soon in Gaza. So cheer up. The future does not include a Lebanon-Israel war.
I feel better already, AIG.
And by surrender, I don’t mean military surrender. I mean civilizational surrender. What options do these people have left? You increase West Bank settlements on a daily basis. You confiscate land where it suits you, gesturing vaguely to in-kind compensation at some later date. You hint ominously at deportations of Arabs out of Israel. You ignore UN resolutions and international protest, labeling as anti-semitic anyone who criticizes you.
What can the Palestinians look forward to by ceasing their resistance? What are you prepared to reward them with?
If I knew what the Palestinians really wanted I could answer your question. For most, even the “pure” two state solution in which Israel returns to the 67 lines is a civilazational surrender if there is no right of return.
So all I can say at this point is that by ceasing resistance Palestinians will cut their losses, not make any gains. All they have to look forward to at this point is bettering their economic situation under the model being tried out now in the West Bank (it is working quite well, check out the radical improvement in Bethlehem).
It will take years for Israelis to build enough trust in the Palestinians to start talking about “rewards” that you have in mind. The more Meshal talks of suicide bombings the more popular bombing Gaza becomes in Israel. What else would you expect?
So in the meantime, until we all chill out and learn to love each other, at least let’s not have wars. That is one step before peace and will allow trust to build. This mission was accomplished with Syria and Lebanon and now we are in the process of establishing this “no war” state with Gaza.
What a ridiculous expectation – that trust will be built by having the Arabs first end their resistance. No, we don’t want you to capitulate, we just want you to stop fighting us. Just live under our rule for a while, just accept our illegal settlements on your land long enough for all of us to “chill out”, and we promise this calm “will allow trust to build.”
And, if our border with you will be the calmest since 1974, we may even consider offering you “peace-for-peace”, rather than your land back. Maybe, if the Palestinians are calm for enough years, have given up on armed resistance altogether, we can expect a “peace-for-peace” offer in 30 years time. I don’t know, if I was a Palestinian today, seeing how 250 of my brothers and sisters are killed in a single day, I think I’d cut my losses, and go for “economic betterment” for a while, putting my national aspirations on hold for a few more decades. I’d opt to just “chill out”… I’d understand my place in this world, and in our region. I would.
With this AIG way of thinking one could say that Nazis were “right”. They gave the Jews a message “If you screw with Germany you will pay a huge price. A disproportional price.”. Isn’t that right AIG?
People like AIG are completely wrong in believing that disproportional violence solves the problems. No it doesn’t, it makes only the resistance and need for revenge more determined. Even the moderates turn radicals and forget the talking “mode”. The history, even the Jewish history, is full of such examples. One could say that if Israel would be a sate of tens or hundreds of millions it would have a chance with the “disproportional violence” strategy, but a relative tiny religious tribe has no chance with that strategy on a longer perspective. Numbers count, a couple of millions are no match against hundreds of millions. You may win some battles but in the end you will loose the war.
AIG the day when Israel has to leave West Bank and Golan by returning to the 1967 borders will be a great day for the mankind and an end for Greater Israel dreams. And that day is not so far in future. Then “you” stand besides an empty swimming pool with your settler friends the government has forced you to accommodate.
Yes, what a ridiculous expectation. Tell me Shai, how many Germans have you killed? How many Poles for taking your family’s property? Are you still planning revenge parties into Europe? No, Shai, you understood “your place in the world” and chilled out. So did I. I am not asking the Palestinians to accept something the Jews didn’t.
Shit happens, that is how history is. A lot of shit happened to the Jews. At a certain point you have to move on because you understand that your actions won’t help. And the reason there is no peace is that most Palestinians have not moved on. The nakba was bad, but it was nothing compared to the holocaust. Instead of accepting an historical compromise in 1948, they kept digging their own hole and here we are now. And it will get worse. Why? Because most Palestinians have not even accepted that there will not be a right of return.
And yes, you will see that this war will buy Israel a few years of quiet. That is the most we can expect in the screwed up middle east.
What a ridiculous expectation – that trust will be built by having the Arabs first end their resistance.
If you can’t expect the Palestinians (like those on the West Bank) to give up their “resistance”, then what is there to talk about?
Here is the “expection” from Obama and his advisors as explained in a recent Ha’aretz report.
It includes a demilitarized Palestine. If you have a problem with AIG’s expectiations, then you also have a problem with next president’s expectations as well.
Of course I expect the resistance to end. But I don’t expect it to end BEFORE we reach an agreement. No matter how terrible it is for us to consider this, or how much we hate it, we must come to realize that the ONLY cards the Palestinians have, the ONLY means of pressuring us to withdraw from the West Bank, is the armed resistance. It is precisely those $10 rockets, that terrorize our population in the South (mostly psychologically) for the past 8 years, that remind you and me of the alternative to peace, and the consequence to our Occupation. 4 years ago ended a long period of suicide bombings. Back then, that was their most effective tool. Tomorrow, who knows what it’ll be, but we can bet it’ll be something. As long as we continue the Occupation, and of course the suffocation and strangulation of Gaza (since 2007), they will continue to resist. We can’t expect them not to. Every people on the face of this planet, who are under Occupation, would do the same. And to be honest, they would have every right to do so.
AIG’s expectation is ridiculous, because although he claims he doesn’t want them to capitulate, he in essence is asking them to do exactly that. What does it mean, for a people with justified national aspirations, who have been suffering under Occupation for over 40 years, to end their armed resistance? It means to capitulate. I have friends here in Israel who tell me “why give back the Golan – it’s the most quiet border since 1974…” So why shouldn’t these same people tell me “why leave the West Bank – there’s no armed resistance coming out of there…”? You and I might never have even considered that the Palestinians should have their own nation, at last, if it wasn’t for the Intifadas, the suicide bombings, the Qassam missiles, and every other form of armed resistance. Not everyone is a Ghandi, even if we’d rather they were.
It’s difficult for me to conduct a serious conversation with someone who explains 250 dead and 700+ injured, in a single day, with “shit happens”.
My expectations are super realistic and are backed by reality.
1) The Golan has been occupied yet the Syrians are not shooting missiles.
2) Before missiles, the Palestinians used suicide bombings. We put a stop to that. We will put a stop to the rockets also.
3) Putting down your gun is NOT capitulation. Only in your mind it is because you equate accepting reality with capitulation. These are two totally different things. And in any case, the Palestinians can accept reality now or accept it later after losing more. It is their choice.
Most of the Israelis support what their government is doing. There is a wall to wall consensus in the Zionist parties.
Shai, perhaps you just need to accept that you are not a Zionist any more. You are a cosmopolitan humanist without any national aspirations. Don’t fight yourself. Go live with your friends in Syria. You will feel much better with yourself and your consciense. This whole Zionistic enterprise is really too bloody for you to take. I understand.
Of course I expect the resistance to end. But I don’t expect it to end BEFORE we reach an agreement.
“Before”, “After”, “simultaneously”, it’s all a crock. The cease fire will be signed between Hamas and Israel using a third party.
And after the cease fire goes into effect, a missile or two will fall a day later. Then a year later several will fall. Then a year after that, several more will fall, and then the Israelis will repeat the process. Deja Vu Rules Habibi!
No matter how terrible it is for us to consider this, or how much we hate it, we must come to realize that the ONLY cards the Palestinians have, the ONLY means of pressuring us to withdraw from the West Bank, is the armed resistance.
That’s a false statement. Fatah is not lobbing missiles from the West Bank where Israel is still occupying. The missiles are coming from NON-OCCUPIED Gaza. The overwhleming concensus has already demarcated the borders (see the link I showed you above). The Palestinians have the “peace card” and it seems to me the West Bank half has already played it. It’s not so painful Shai.
It is precisely those $10 rockets, that terrorize our population in the South (mostly psychologically) for the past 8 years, that remind you and me of the alternative to peace, and the consequence to our Occupation.
Israel has a perfect excuse for using the IDF against Gaza. Defending oneself from indiscriminate missile firings is the best excuse. I would expect every country to follow Israel’s example.
Of course most Jews (and I’m willing to bet most of the 78% of American Jews who voted for Obama) probably find it ironic that the UN is crying about “disproportional” use of force against Gaza but didn’t use this term at all for Iraqi civilian dead, which was anywhere between 50,000 to 90,000 souls!
What’s up with thaaaaat??
I can’t wait for the IFM to respond to the Brits when they start complaining. Britain and the US have the right to kill over 50,000 civilians on the other side of the Globe, but Israel isn’t allowed to respond to border attacks because killing over 300 terrorists is “disproportionate”??
It smells of anti-semitism to me or at least a different set of rules for the evil “Jewish State”.
I’m sorry, you’re talking nonsense now. “Deja Vu Rules Habibi!”? This is your “Shit Happens” (AIG-style) conclusion? And your conscience-soothing phrase? It’s a cyclical disease that can’t be treated, except with force, and more force?
Fatah is not lobbing missiles from West Bank. Do you have any idea why? I’ll help you – because we’re still OCCUPYING the West Bank, controlling it at a moment’s notice with our constant military presence. When we occupied Gaza (back in the good ‘ole days), there were no Qassams either. Hamas is lobbing rockets because we’re suffocating its 1.5 million citizens (that’s what our blockade is doing, in case you thought otherwise), because we’re still occupying the West Bank (which is still part of the national aspirations of all citizens in Gaza, in case you forgot), and because Israel has been, in every way possible, trying to undermine Hamas legitimacy within the Palestinian people, in Gaza, AS WELL AS in the West Bank. You may have forgotten these few little facts, or chosen to disregard them when thinking about possible Hamas motivations, other than their typical “antisemitic ones”.
The way your conscience determines if 300 dead people a single day and near 1,000 injured is “disproportionate”, is by comparing other terrible crimes, and checking whether they’ve been labeled as such? You need the U.N. to tell you what’s right and what’s not? That the U.N. hasn’t called the U.S. and U.K. massacres “disproportionate” doesn’t mean they weren’t. Heck, the world also accepted fire-bombings by the U.S. upon Tokyo in WWII, burning to death some 100,000 Japanese in a single night. So what’s 300 Pals, between friends, eh? Do me a favor, when you speak such utter nonsense, at least have the decency to look yourself in the mirror. See if you can continue looking up, as you so calmly seal the fate of hundreds and thousands of Palestinians.
Maybe a little innate racism helps here – I don’t know – but to me, Arab blood is still not worth less than Jewish one. Because my government doesn’t know how to end the psychological terror those $10 rockets cause upon our citizens in the South, doesn’t allow them to massacre Palestinians. Imagine it was the other way around – 1 dead Palestinian, and 250 dead Israelis, on just that Saturday. You and the whole world would have screamed “Existential threat! Barbaric antisemites!”, right? But hey, they’re just Arabs, so let’s not get carried away here…
How ’bout them Bears, AP?
I would love to have someone like Shai as my neighbor. I would actually offer him my home in Damascus rent-free for as long as he wants to stay (if peace ever happens). But as for AIG, people like you are the **** that happens. [Please, no obscenities; -QN]
Oh by the way Shai, I knew I liked something about you, you must like the Chicago Bears.
Are you part of the
Syrian regime? Do you lock up people and murder them? So, it is OK for you to kill people to maintain your elite status but Israel has no right to defend itself?
You represent the highest form of hypocrisy. When you are strong, you pillage and murder. But when others are strong, you deny them the right to defend themselves. Very soon the Syrian people will revolt against the likes of you and you will get your just rewards.
And by the way, why isn’t Syria doing anything to help the Palestinians? Why is the border quiet? Are you just all “half men”? It surely seems that way. All talk and no action, except of course using your army against your own countrymen.
This is your “Shit Happens” (AIG-style) conclusion?
No this is my “the Israeli government’s first priority is protecting her citizens from threats foreign and domestic” conclusion. But you can word it any way you’d like.
And your conscience-soothing phrase?
My conscience has nothing to do with it.
It’s a cyclical disease that can’t be treated, except with force, and more force?
History has shown that it is impossible to negotiate with violent terrorist organizations that do not recognize you and considers you to be illegitimate. Certainly, the US and Britain didn’t spend much effort to negotiate with the Iraqi insurgents and al-Queda.
Fatah is not lobbing missiles from West Bank. Do you have any idea why? I’ll help you – because we’re still OCCUPYING the West Bank, controlling it at a moment’s notice with our constant military presence.
False. Because the Palestinian government (Abbas/Fatah) is CHOOSING restraint. There could be PLENTY of ambushes and suicide attacks from the West Bank because it IS so enmeshed with Israel and the occupation. Did you forget Yassir Arafat Shai?
When we occupied Gaza (back in the good ‘ole days), there were no Qassams either.
This could be reason to reoccupy Gaza.
Hamas is lobbing rockets because we’re suffocating its 1.5 million citizens (that’s what our blockade is doing, in case you thought otherwise)
Gaza has its land. They, however, are still at war with Israel. But if that wasn’t enough, they feel the need to indiscrimately fire missiles across the border into Israel. I don’t know who “hit first”: the Israeli Blockade (BTW – There is an Egyptian Blockade as well), or the Gazan missiles.
If Gaza wants to negotiate an end to this problem all they have to do is call Jimmy Carter;) or you on your cell phone.
The way your conscience determines if 300 dead people a single day and near 1,000 injured is “disproportionate”, is by comparing other terrible crimes, and checking whether they’ve been labeled as such?
My conscience tells me that Israel protecting her borders from missile firing and killing 300+ Gazans (who are mostly terrorists), is more legitimate than the US and Britain killing tens of thousands on the other side of the globe. Now you know.
You need the U.N. to tell you what’s right and what’s not?
Maybe a little innate racism helps here – I don’t know – but to me, Arab blood is still not worth less than Jewish one.
If Gazans were of the Jewish faith, I’d feel the same way.
Because my government doesn’t know how to end the psychological terror those $10 rockets cause upon our citizens…
And frankly, neither do YOU and the ISraeli Left for that matter. Let’s be inclusive in your condemnation.
How did this blog suddenly become the province of Syria Comment’s Israeli crowd?
Do you guys not realize that you’re only reinforcing the stereotype about Lebanon’s traitorous sympathies? 🙂
Oh well… may the games continue.
AIG, I won’t lie. You make a decent point. (And I believe that Majid over on Syria Comment is making sense too). It is hypocritical of Arabs to complain about Israel’s actions when the Arab regimes have brutalized their enemies (including, at times, the Palestinians!) in just as ruthless a fashion.
But then the question becomes: what is your response to an Arab liberal? What is your response to someone who finds his own regime at home repulsive and illegitimate? Then, the hypocrisy card doesn’t work, as I’ve tried to point out to you time and again. Then, it just becomes comical that you are using the Arab regimes as your benchmark.
Let me tell you something. I can’t stand Hamas. I think they are the lowest of the low. When they were elected into power, I felt sick to my stomach. And I have the feeling that whoever comes next will be worse.
But I still do not understand Israel’s responses. Has the strategy of the disproportional response really worked? Israel didn’t just discover this strategy, AIG. It has used it systematically for decades. And where are we now? Your problem is that you look at things with a very short time horizon. You say: “Look at Lebanon. We killed 1500 people and now the border is quiet.” But what guarantees that this will remain the case? Not the “price of war”, I guarantee you. There are more than enough people willing to pay the price of war, again and again, as long as they feel that:
a) the historical injustice has not been rectified;
b) there is political capital to be gained in paying the price of war.
Unfortunately, Israel is playing into the hands of the worst actors in the Arab world when it plays the “price of war” game.
Add the Czech republic to a long list of “conscience-challenged” nations…
Rami Khoury says it better than me:
The biblical 40-year time span between Israel’s attack on Beirut airport on December 28, 1968 and its war on Gaza on December 27, 2008 is eerily relevant. It is time enough for frightened and arrogant Israelis to learn that in all these years their weapons have promoted neither quiescence among neighboring Arabs, nor security along Israel’s borders. The exact opposite has happened, and it will happen again now.
Here’s something to ponder as the next 40-year period starts ticking down: The only thing that ever did bring Israelis and Arabs genuine peace was equitable, negotiated peace accords — with Egypt and Jordan — that treated Arabs and Israel as people who must enjoy equal rights to security and stable statehood.
Out of respect for you, for your blog, and for other readers, I think I’ll take a little break from this comment section. It’s enough my country is occupying Palestine, I don’t think we Israelis should also take over the Middle Eastern blogosphere…
Listen carefully to QN’s words. Not everything that criticizes Israel is a regime-supporter, and not every criticism should receive the “Your country is no better” knee-jerk response. Killing 300 and injuring 1000 is wrong, not because it is worse than what others have done. It is wrong, because if you had been on the receiving end, you would also call it a massacre. And to fight $10 rockets, you don’t need to massacre a people.
In’shalla, one day you and I could recall great moments from the Bears’ history (remember Walter Payton? Refrigerator Perry?), sipping ahwe in a Damascus cafe, or tea in a Tel-Aviv one…
If there is one think we Israelis learned in Lebanon, it is that we cannot plan more than one step ahead (at the most). All our plans were always laid to waste because of unforseen circumstances and the ruthlessness of the players involved. Basically, there are no rules in Lebanon. If murder or genocide supports your interests, go for it. This has spread to Gaza. The most Israel can do is gain periods of relative calm. That is what we have with Hizballah now. I don’t expect anymore anything Israel does to work for 40 years. If it works for 3 years, that is fine. The way you and I view security is quite different. What we have with hizballah now is a secure border. The long trend over 60 years is of Israel becoming more secure. In fact last year, the least number of Israelis died of the conflict ever.
I do not know what to say to an Arab liberal except wish that you were the majority and you were in power. But you are not. That is why I think there will be true peace only when there is true democracy in the middle east.
cc: Rami Khoury
With all due respect, if Israel didn’t bomb the Beirut airport on December 28, 1968 it wouldn’t have made one scintilla of a difference.
Israel bombed numerous airports in Egypt and it didn’t stop Egypt from making peace with Israel. The Egyptian leader had the audacity to accept Israel.
The better question is “what if Hezbollah was not in Lebanon and/or didn’t take their orders from non-Lebanese organizations”.
Israel left Gaza to be rewarded by war.
Not a good test case for leaving more land.
Apparently non-Jews and several states mor ein agreement with the GOI than with some liberal Israelis. Imagine that.
Palestinian girl disagrees with some Israeli liberals. Apparently she doesn’t believe her suffering isn’t due to the non-Israeli occupation of Gaza…
(considering her public apperance, she may suffer more)
I hope so too. I will be able to show off my Bears Memorabilia. I have met both of them. Walter was a great guy.
I didn’t even serve in the army. There you go again arguing with yourself.
I apologize for the vulgarity. I meant it as a figure of speech meaning people like him (on both sides) are the problem.
Before you even begin complaining about Israel make sure that your house is in order and that Syria is 1/10 as liberal and democratic as Israel. What right have you to preach or ask Israel of anything while Syria is one of the worst dictatorships in the world? If you want people to change, FIRST change your own country and give an example.
And paying to not have to do military service is not something to be proud about. Maybe Syria would look different if all the Syrian “liberals” actually served in the army.
It is hypocritical of Arabs to complain about Israel’s actions when the Arab regimes have brutalized their enemies
QN, the bottom line is I don’t need a non-hypocricy certificate from you or AIG if I am to criticise what’s wrong.
And what hypocrisy in this case means? that I am not really concerned about Palestinians and just criticize Israel for the heck of it, or for the sake of scoring points?
P.s. I haven’t been to your blog in ages, And I am still uneasy about the argileh amoking cow!
Happy new year to you and to your family.
Of course you don’t need a certificate from me. What do I know?
My point was that criticisms hold more weight when they are seen to come from a fair critic. Just like Arabs chortle loudly when they hear Americans talk about democracy in the Middle East…
Happy new year to you too!
As out of place as it might sound, coming out of an Israeli today, I do wish you, your family, and all your blog’s readers a Happy and Peaceful New Year!
May we get to return to talking about a future of hope and peace, rather than a present and past of bloodshed and violence…
Yes, it means that you do nor really care about Palestinians.
When “insurgents” bomb mosques and market places in Iraq and THOUSANDS of Iraqis are killed, there is no outrage in the Arab world. You do not participate in vigils. You do not demand immediate stopping of these bombings. When hundreds of thousands are killed and raped in Sudan you do nothing. You commemorate all of Israels “massacres”, but do not even commemorate or have a official memorial for the tens of thousands innocents murdered in Hama. YOUR fellow countrymen. They are not important because they were killed by Arabs, not Israelis.
So yes, and Arab life matters to you only when it is killed by an Israeli. So, you do not really care about the Palestinians, you care about bashing Israel. Do you understand this simple logic?
This addresses the issue exactly:
I think offended should read it.
I agree entirely with Mona.
She sent me that piece before it was published. I thought it was superb.
But you should know that Mona does not feel that her criticism of Arab regimes means that she cannot criticize Israel.
Of course she can criticize whoever she wants including Israel. So can offended, as the fact that he does proves.
I don’t mind people criticizing Israel. What I mind is the lack of self awareness of most Arabs regarding what they accept in their societies and what they demand of Israel, and of course that is what Mona points out in her piece. Since Arabs in general view hypocrisy as something really bad, I formulate my argument using hypocrisy. But in the end, it is something deeper that I will leave to you to explain. It is some kind of tribalism combined with a problematic cultural relation to the west that is hard to pin down. The Chinese were abused by the West and the Japanese much worse than the Arabs yet they do not display the same symptoms. They are much more comfortable with the West than the Arabs are. Perhaps its religion. I don’t know. But then the Jews were the most abused by the West yet are comfortable with it. Go figure. I hope that in my lifetime the Arab “new historians” will elucidate this issue. Because in the end, I think you would agree that this lack of self criticism is holding Arab societies back.
If you had time to read the comments, a Jordanian disagreed with her that Jordan was a dictatorship! Sometimes I have to pinch myself.