eumelia: (Default)
I've been trying to write about the Goldstone Report and what it's actually doing to the discourse regarding Israel internationally and domestically.
I suppose anyone who is a regular News reader known that the UN Human Rights Council has endorsed the report.

Obviously, Israel is crying "No Fair!".

Israel's reactionary response couldn't have been more predictable. Instead of co-operating and trying to own the story, Hasbarah has gone out of its way to convince the world that the report is "false, distorted and promotes terror".

Personally speaking, I think it's about time we took some responsibility for the fact that, indeed yes, we are not the Good Guys. That there are no Good Guys, and that crimes committed against people cannot be condoned.
this is quite long, so I've cut it )
eumelia: (Default)
First of all Shana Tova! to whom in applies and have a good weekend to whom it doesn't!

The Shana Tova Video )

And now for the actual post.
Which is about the reckoning of our souls.
We have entered the Ten Days of Repentance, which honestly, mean didly squat to me(1).

It's not about my personal soul (which is an extension of the mind in any case).
It's about the fact that during these days, if I'm going to wax poetry, I can see the way that my country is going to go in the next year.

It is perhaps gauche to talk about politics in the midst of the High "Holy" Days, but this is my connection to being Jewish, which is kind of crummy when you think about it.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have about ten tabs open as I write this about the Goldstone Report concerning Operation "Cast Lead", last year's winter assault on Gaza by the IDF.

I'm finding it difficult to come up with words when talking about the report itself. It's nothing we didn't know before, because a few months after the assault we heard the accounts of IDF soldiers who fought in Gaza during "Cast Lead".

Not to mention just the knowledge that before the assault the siege had been going strong for over a year, that along with weapons flour, canned goods and other necessities (like WATER) had been smuggled through the tunnels under the Gaza/Egypt border.
Just to remind, Hamas and other militant groups like Islamic Jihad had been firing at Sderot and the other towns and Kibbutizim surrounding Gaza for nearly eight years (and of course into the Gush Katif Settlements in Gaza itself prior to the Disengagement plan).

All this for a bit of history. And just to make sure everyone knows that Human Rights Violations and War Crimes came from both sides.

A big "however" coming this way; Israel was basically, and please forgive the metaphor, shooting fish in a barrel. Gaza is the most densely populated stretch of geography in the world (as far as I'm aware), using fly over bombs and white phosphorous over that kind of area with the intention of flushing out Terrorists who are hiding among the population, yeah, that's a great way of making sure you're preserving innocent lives.
No, no it is not, though I suppose that goes without saying.

Excuse me, I digressed and began reiterating the points I wrote during the actual assault.

What I really wanted to talk about is Israel's reaction to the report, which is to say, blatantly, "He's lying".
That's it.
Oh, okay, let's add in a few internal Antisemitic remarks like calling Goldstone a "salf-hating" Jew (only Jews call other Jews "self-hating", which I find so insanely irritating and angering. That in itself is Antisemitic of course, that Jews are so deficient in their morality and identification, that they "hate themselves").

I was told that Israel should have been proactive and put together a report of their own countering the UN Fact Finding Mission.
Which, yeah, on a purely rational level that is the thing to do, but honestly, I find it quite repugnant that anyone would suggest any country put together a Propaganda based report aimed at disputing the fact that a sovereign nation committed war crimes on a population that has been deliberately weakened and incarcerated in their own homes.

Hearing the cynical dehumanising discussion of how much better the IDF did in Gaza than in Lebanon two years prior. Saying that more of "Them" died.

Is that the way an ethical people speak and act? Are those the values upon which a democracy is based? Better it be "Them", than "Us".

The soul searching that we should be doing is coming to the realisation that we, as a nation, must end this debilitating Occupation, because beyond it being immoral to deny basic human rights to a population and keep them under martial law, it is bad for us, for me, as an Israeli, to have the undercurrent of violence and hatred course through the streets.

It will end in tears.

Also, how immature is it to call out to the nations to reject the findings, as though closing our eyes, ears and mouth will some how cause it to disappear.
There is also the implication, by denying the report, that all that happened in Gaza was normal and appropriate for anti-Terror and urban Warfare.

However, despite the growing weariness of Europe against Israel (which is of course completely Antisemitically motivated, duh!) the U.S will not be confused by the facts and will back Israel up.

This is far from over. This is not going to be bring the end of the Occupation. That's, unfortunately, a long way off, because economically speaking there is too much vested interest in continuing the Occupation and letting the Settlements expand, thus furthering the possibility of a two state solution from ever happening.

So, on these days preceding the Day of Atonement (in which I will not be fasting) I'll keep in touch on stuff relating to the report and perhaps tell you what other fun stuff is being said about the report.

Maybe some of it will be marginally entertaining and not cause me to grind my teeth.

Chag Sameach Friends, may this year be the best so far!


Notes:
(1)I'm not a religious person, I never was, I tried to be (both Jewishly and not) and really, in the end, it's all about the fact that I do not want, need or even think much of the authority of either an entity we imagined in order to comfort ourselves or those people who claim to know what the Omnipotent and Omnipresent Deity actually expects from us teeny, tiny humans whose lives are only significant to us and maybe to a few dozen more people.
I'd also like to add that I have nothing against people who believe in a deity, I really honestly do not care. Belief isn't the problem, imo. It's religion.
Back to text
eumelia: (Default)
Once more in an issue that is hot and close to me (this time literally and not just emotionally), I have ten or so tabs open about the UN Human Rights Council Report.

Mainly Israel's downright immaturity when it comes to report and the slandering of Justice Goldstone when it comes to the facts finding mission.

Really now, calling Justice Goldstone a self-hating Jew when he has historically been a huge supporter of Israel. I remember (I can't find a link, sorry) when he was appointed on this mission that many of Israel's critics said he would be biased in Israel's favour.

Now Israel is saying that Goldstone is biased against Israel.

Make up your minds!

I will expound on the report and the Israeli "methinks doth protest too much" reaction to it.
eumelia: (Default)
I've been a bit down the past few days.
Saturday I was busy and didn't really notice anything.
Yesterday I was a bit out of it, though I enjoyed meeting friends I hadn't seen in a while at Uni and in my own Town.
Today I woke up feeling a bit phlegmatic and worn.
I'm pretty sure it has to with the good ole' biological... stuff... the female body tends to go through on a monthly basis, but... still, it's affecting.

It's probably also to do with the weekend's News stories.

I wrote about the teaser to the soldiers' testimonies being published - We're all right, we're okay / you only think we act this way! - and having read the articles... to say that it made me feel bad is probably an understatement.
The whole Week End Ha'aretz edition was chock full of everything that is and went wrong with the IDF during Operation Cast Lead and beyond.
The main articles to read, if you want to are under the cut )
More articles can be found at the on-line Week End Edition of Ha'aretz from the weekend of 20th of March here - Week's End 20/03/2009.

All the above was written this afternoon, but I didn't a get a chance to post to LJ.

More and more information and articles concerning IDF violence has been coming in and I'm having trouble keeping up.
I'm putting here a few more articles, sans quotes, because in a way it's just more of the same, but it must be noted and must written down somewhere that can be accessed by as many people as possible.
IDF troops used 11-year-old boy as human shield in Gaza.
Rights group: IDF killed 16 medical workers during Gaza op.
IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says, with a picture of the note, for those who can read Hebrew.
A bit off tangent, but still connected with the issue - Israel using excessive force against protesters.

In an interesting coincidence, I had to read an article about National shame for a seminar I'm taking at Uni.
I think the only thing I can say is Q.E.D.
eumelia: (Default)
I've been reading the current Ha'aretz, and there are three specific article regarding the IDF that I found very interesting, though not particularly surprising.

You see, the IDF really prides itself with being a People's Army in a Democratic State, an Ethical and Moral Army. As such is of course willing to be put under the harsh scrutiny of the "Free Press"(1).
The IDF censor has obviously approved the following article - IDF killed civilians in Gaza under loose rules of engagement - in which it says:
During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive.
[...]
Their testimony runs counter to the Israel Defense Forces' claims that Israeli troops observed a high level of moral behavior during the operation.
[...]
The testimonies include a description by an infantry squad leader of an incident where an IDF sharpshooter mistakenly shot a Palestinian mother and her two children. "There was a house with a family inside .... We put them in a room. Later we left the house and another platoon entered it, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sniper position on the roof," the soldier said[...]

I am impressed that this is seeing daylight.
Really I am.
I mean, the testimonies one can read at Breaking the Silence are constantly undermined and not taken seriously.
So to see actual testimony about the fact that the IDF was not what it claimed to be on the ground is really refreshing.

This of course doesn't go unnoticed and the analysis, a companion piece to the testimony above, is not particularly deep, but shows an interesting perspective on the issue of soldiers speaking out about the, shall we say, oversights.
ANALYSIS / Can Israel dismiss its own troops' stories from Gaza?

The soldiers are not lying, for the simple reason that they have no reason to. If you read the transcript that will appear in Haaretz Friday, you will not find any judgment or boasting. This is what the soldiers, from their point of view, saw in Gaza. There is a continuity of testimony from different sectors that reflects a disturbing and depressing picture.
[...]

They have no reason to lie?
I don't know about that, despite that what they may have to say goes beyond reflecting "a disturbing and depressing picture". I'd say that their testimony may say that the IDF did bad things.
But what the commentators on said testimonies will say is that it served a greater picture... this article is already doing so:
It's possible that somewhere in the stories there were a few mistakes or exaggerations, because a squad or platoon leader does not always see the entire picture. But this is evidence, first hand, of what most Israelis would prefer to repress. This is how the army carried out its war against armed terrorists, with a civilian population of a million and a half people stuck in the middle[...]

Emphasis mine.
And indeed the repression will continue without so much of a petition against violence towards civilians.
Why?
Because this is a confession spectacle.
Bad things happen and there is a need for them to be purged and once they're out in the open... what happens?
Do they disappear? Arguably yes, because when you confess, you want to be forgiven. And we are so very good at forgiving (and forgetting) our own sins.
These testaments are True because they were witnessed by Good Soldiers who did Bad Things.
Any testimony spoken by a Palestinian is dismissed:
When statements came only from Palestinian witnesses or "the hostile press," it was possible to dismiss them as propaganda that served the enemy.

Our own propaganda of suffering will continue to blind us to the fact that this didn't occur in a vacuum. Which every one known, but no one counts.

The same issue in which these two articles appear, another, so called, optimistic article appeared. Showing the positive side of Operation Cast Lead (OCL).
Breaking the Mud Ceiling. Apparently, OCL was a land mark in Women's inclusion in the battle field!
Now, from a purely Liberal Feminist point of view this is a good thing, the equalisation of women in the IDF should promote equalisation in civilian life(2).
Here's what the article has to say:
Without our noticing, in the middle of Operation Cast Lead a milestone was passed in the integration of women into combat in the Israel Defense Forces. The Gaza war was not the first in which female officers and soldiers were present on the battlefield. It happened during the Second Lebanon War[...]
This meant that if all those with a certain job are supposed to accompany the combat forces into the Gaza Strip, gender became irrelevant. Female munitions officers with whom we spoke say that they, and their male colleagues and subordinates, accepted the change naturally, while acknowledging the novelty of the situation.
[...]
The change reflects not only a spirit of feminism in the Israel Defense Forces, but also the difficulty of recruiting personnel into the various technical units. While the motivation to serve in elite combat units remains high, young men are less enthusiastic about serve in technological positions, partly due to the steady decline in the number of trade schools and of high school students who opt to study technological and technical subjects at a high level.

Emphasis mine.
Yup, assimilation into a militaristic mind set in which you conform (willingly, of course) to ideals of power through violence and in which you only got the job because not enough boys are willing to "tinker".
I'm feeling the equality.
Or not:
While female munitions officers in combat battalions are no longer an unusual sight, Ben Aderet and Cohen [Two Munition Officers being interviews[ still feel they're under a magnifying glass. Not only because of their participation in the fighting but also because of prevailing beliefs in "civilian life," such as women's lack of technical awareness.

"It's not self-evident," Ben Aderet said. "When I come at 2 A.M. to rescue a vehicle, they first see a girl who has come to take care of a patrol that got stuck. I feel I have to prove myself each time. My soldiers already know that and they come to work, but when I work with companies from other units my soldiers prepare them and say, 'She's not a girl like the kind you know.'"

"It really is a man's job," Cohen said. "It's dirty and there's tank grease and they still raise an eyebrow when they see me for the first time, but it doesn?t last too long. There are still nasty comments. Soldiers ask me, do you even know the difference between a Merkava 3 and a Merkava 4 tank?"

The spirit of Feminism.
Gotta love the regular every day sexism, though.

As for what they saw in Gaza (like the soldiers testimony above)... not much, apparently:
They are also reluctant to comment on issues relating to the Gaza operation. Aloush [another interviewy] says she saw no [Palestinian] civilians or demolished houses inside the Strip, "but I did see the launching of missiles at Israel, just 300 meters from me." Ben Aderet says that she did see the suffering of the Palestinian population. "You go home after a month, everything seems very strange and you don't take in where you are. It was not so pleasant."

Amazing what they put together in one Newspaper.

Notes
(1) This "Free Press" writes articles about the censorship it undergoes through the IDF censor: This article has been approved by the censor.

(2) Though I think we all know that this is really not the case, seeing as the power a women soldier has in her unit does not get translated into civilian life. Not to mention that as long as boys serve more time than girls and that jobs continue to be gendered... the IDF really isn't a platform for equalisation.
eumelia: (Default)
With the Academy Awards just around the corner - tomorrow, in fact - the Interwebs and media that I read are a-buzz with Waltz with Bashir, which I wrote about a few times.

I've mainly been reading analysis' of the film and something that I keep jumping from these reviews is the fact that Ari Folman silenced the Palestinians voices in regards to the massacre of Sabra and Shatila.
That he did a disservice by not talking about or telling a bit of the victims' story.

This is a valid complaint, as Ari Folman really doesn't give a voice to anyone other than the soldiers and journalists that were in Lebanon and Beirut at the time.
Another thing that I keep reading about is how Folman is replicating the myth of The Good Soldier, that Israeli soldiers even when they do bad things are fundamentally good and moral.
And of course, the lack of political context, the invasion of Lebanon and Israel complicities in the massacre, green lighting it and assisting the Phalanges by lighting their way (well, Jews always said they were Light unto the nations). Why was it happening? Who gave the order? Why did the soldiers obey? etc. etc. etc.

All these are valid complaints and questions.
I don't think though, that they have anything to do with the movie.

Ha'aretz jounalist Gideon Levy, well known for his weekend column "The Twiligh Zone in which he writes about the every day atrocities of the Occupation, wrote an op-ed about Waltz with Bashir titled Medal of Dishonour.
In it he wrote:
[...]The images coming out of Gaza that day looked remarkably like those in Folman's film. But he was silent. So before we sing Folman's praises, which will of course be praise for us all, we would do well to remember that this is not an antiwar film, nor even a critical work about Israel as militarist and occupier. It is an act of fraud and deceit, intended to allow us to pat ourselves on the back, to tell us and the world how lovely we are.
[...]
Why do we need propagandists, officers, commentators and spokespersons who will convey "information"? We have this waltz.
The waltz rests on two ideological foundations. One is the "we shot and we cried" syndrome: Oh, how we wept, yet our hands did not spill this blood. Add to this a pinch of Holocaust memories, without which there is no proper Israeli self-preoccupation. And a dash of victimization - another absolutely essential ingredient in public discourse here - and voila! You have the deceptive portrait of Israel 2008, in words and pictures.
[...]
It is very convenient to make a film about the first, and now remote, Lebanon war: We already sent one of those, "Beaufort," to the Oscar competition. And it's even more convenient to focus specifically on Sabra and Chatila, the Beirut refugee camps[...]

I'll stop quoting here, as I don't want to talk about the entirety of Levy's article, but mainly about Levy's shallow reading of the movie.

It's easy to say "Folam silenced Arab voices".
Well, he silenced Women's voices as well - the only time we see women in the movie is when they are either victims of war or sexually objectified for the soldier's benefit and comfort.
Maybe after the Oscar's I'll rent or download the film and write a feminist and queer review of it - breaking apart Israeli masculinity that is on the verge of destruction there in any case.

But I digress.

Levy writes that this is a "deceptive portrait of Israel 2008, in words and pictures".
On the contrary I say.
This is exactly, exactly the way Israel sees itself and Folman shows it, yes, in a beautiful artistic way.
Israel is enamoured with it's self-righteousness.
Israel cannot distance itself from the Holocaust, it is our greatest disaster and everything we (as citizens) and as soldiers is coloured by the fantasy of persecution, ashes and death.
Ari Folman shows this, by using his therapist friend who lovingly tells him, it is not the camps "over there", but that camps "back then".
Ari Folam in the film isn't convinced that this is so and continued exploring his memories.
Continues to challenge the silence surrounding what happened "over there".
And yes it is specifically Israel's own silence about what happened - the massacre is not taught in History classes, it is not spoken about when discussing atrocities of war, or of anything.

To call the film convenient is very shallow.
Ari Folman managed to bring back into the forefront of people's minds the massacre in which we were complicit - yes, he didn't write or include the political context or give place for the victims story... but as an Israeli film maker, Ari Folam has no right to tell the Palestinians story in this movie. As for political context, I think Folman managed to show us that things in Israel remain the same in every decade.

Yes, during the Golden Globes Israel shot Gaza to smithereens.
And Ari Folman made no statement other than "My movie will always be relevant".
Should he have made a stronger statement against the operation in Gaza?
Maybe.
Or maybe one should watch the movie and see the video images that bring home that this is not a fun, artistic, quasi-psychological film.
This movie brought Sabra and Shatila back into the forefront of people's minds, not to mention that an entire generation that knew little or even nothing about Lebanon now knows that Israel was complicit in the death of hundreds (even thousands) of innocent people.

I know, what about Gaza? Where were the 400,000 people marching in against this operation. Why did we vote for a Right Wing government?

Because Israel is as portrayed in the film.
Self-righteous.
Paranoid.
And disconnected from the principles of cause, effect and dialectics.

And Ari Folman's portrayal of that dissonance was brilliant.

Below I've linked other critical reviews with which I agree with more or less. I didn't feel the need to go into as with Levy's somewhat acidic critique of a film that managed to portray the cruelty of Israel in it's final shot better than he has with a weekly column.

Film Review: "Waltz with Bashir" by Naira Antoun.
Waltzing alone by Liel Leibovitz.
When Israel accepts the war waltz and when it doesn't by Tania Tabar, which I wrote about here.
eumelia: (Default)
A critical article regarding Waltz with Bashir called When Israel accepts the war waltz and when it doesn't which was brought to my attention by [livejournal.com profile] shelestel via [livejournal.com profile] esizzle.

As some of you know Waltz with Bashir won the foreign language Golden Globe which aired during the second week of operation "Cast Lead" a.k.a the Israeli War on Gaza.
To say it was apropos would be an understatement.

Reading this very interesting article, few things popped out and made me think of something I hadn't actually considered before.

"It is a completely apolitical film. It's a personal film. If it were a political film, we would have dealt with the other sides, meaning that we would have interviewed the Palestinian and Christian sides. And it does not. It's a very personal film," Folman told France 24.

But in being apolitical, Waltz With Bashir also fails to provide context.

The film's narrative begins as Folman, the main character, travels to Europe and around Israel speaking with fellow soldiers who fought in Lebanon. He eventually begins to piece together what happened during his time in Beirut, which he had erased from his memory.
[...]
Maybe it was too much to ask Folman to reinterpret the entire historical accounting of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in one film. But if the Israeli public is able to swallow the sensitive nature of Waltz With Bashir it is precisely because it stays away from treating the Israeli state as a long-time political actor in the systematic, ongoing violence in Lebanon.

Thus, there is no overt questioning of why Israel was in Lebanon in the first place. Israeli military actions are validated under the guise of "fighting terrorism," and this is poignant when considering how the current Gaza war will be viewed in hindsight.

Also, Waltz With Bashir fails to present Israeli soldiers as direct participants in the massacres of Sabra and Shatila. Israeli soldiers were only following orders so any responsibility lay solely with the chain of command.

Emphasis mine.

I have to say... this wasn't something I had considered before. Quite simply, because I am ignorant of Israel's role as a political entity within Lebanon's inner politics.
I consider myself a pretty well-informed individual.
I knew of the massacre.
After the second Lebanon war I took the time to read about the first Lebanon war and "discovered" the massacre in which the IDF is complicit.
Before 2006 Sabra and Shatila was just something that happened to the Palestinians in Lebanon. I had no idea who or why or even what was committed.
For over 21 years a portion of history - mine and theirs - was unknown to me.
This is not something strange, I know a few others to whom this movie was the first time they were confronted with the fact that the we, Israel, helped commit a crime... no "war" prefix needed in my opinion.

This article is correct in stating (not directly) that Israelis in general do not ask "Why?", "For what reason?", "How does this serve us?".
We [the collective] take for granted, in this very militarist and nationalist inclined society that everything done, even if it's "bad" is for the good of Israel and Jewish people.
In Sabra and Shatila there was senseless murder.
Ari Folman shows that very well.
What isn't asked is "Why were we even there in the first place?", now I don't know what Ari Folman's thoughts or opinions on that are, but I do know that for the "average" Israeli the question doesn't even enter our minds.

We are not encouraged to ask these questions that may undermine the hegemony of citizen loyalry to the Zionist collective.
We are not encouraged to ask questions period, we are either stupid or provocative, and who wants to be regarded as either stupid or provocative.

Every war is a war for the continued existence.

Even though every war, since the 1982 Lebanon war, has brought about internal protest.

This war, on Gaza and against Hamas, has brought a wave of right wing nationalism and extremism. The political discourse may be saying "Left", but facts on the ground (a saying we love so much in this part of the world) is screaming "Right":
During "Cast Lead" over 700 Palestinian-Israelis (colloquially known as Israeli-Arabs) were arrested and brought in for questioning for demonstrating against the war.
The two Arab parties Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al were stricken from the ballot (the Supreme court will reinstate their place, no doubt).
The Israeli media did not do it's job by asking the tough questions that great Free Press Journalism makes, we can always blame the IDF censors, but I think a certain ideology runs through Israeli media.

The biggest questions the no one asked was "what good will this war bring? will it actually stop Hamas from firing rockets? and if this is for the people of Sderot and the rest of surrounding towns why was this not dealt with before 2005, before the IDF left the strip?".

Same with Lebanon 1982... no one asked why. Not the soldiers who were only following orders like all the soldiers in the world who do not want to consider what they do to be inhumane. Not the home front who wants to believe that what is happening is done for their own protection.

No one asks.
No one answers.

It's a point that is, I think, brought across quite poignantly in Waltz with Bashir.
eumelia: (Default)
Hey remember my post Satire for the Masses which has lyrics to the "Hasbarah Hip Hop".

Well, I've finally found the video for our pleasure on Youtube!



Video with English Subtitles )

X-Plain Lyrics )
eumelia: (Default)
Last night Israel declared a unilateral cease fire.
Today Hamas declared a unilateral cease fire (for a week so that the IDF can withdraw).
Which, I'm surprised to say, they are.

I doubt, though, that something will last more than a week.

The last three weeks have been hellish.

Understatement, I know.

As stated, I'm not optimistic.
This has happened before.
I don't think Israel or Hamas will be ceasing fire for long.

One thing that really hasn't been spoken about at all, either in the Israeli media or International is the actual political aspect of this all.
As I'm sure some of you are aware, Israel is entering general elections next month. Just so you know, Kadimah and Avodah, according to the poles, are doing very, very well.
Yeah.
Conclusion may be drawn without much trouble.
But let me not speak treason.

The Palestinian doctor who lost three of his daughters in the the fighting - video of the interview on Israeli television - has been just one of many such stories out of Gaza, only it is one of the few that has seen full coverage in Israeli media.

In Israel three civilians were killed and 10 soldiers died in combat.

All personal tragedies are terrible and unthinkable and traumatic.

But 1,300 dead people in Gaza, over 400 of them children, most of them civilians.
Even if more Hamas combatants died in the fighting, was it really worth it?

Are we even able to comprehend the fact that each and every one of dead has a name? A family that will miss them... maybe even an entire family that dies with them (in Gaza only at this point, seeing as no Israeli family has been wiped out by rockets)?

Hoy... I'm tired.
Tomorrow is another day.

That's all folks.
At least for now.
eumelia: (Default)
I'm quite speechless.
Really I am.
I'm quite sure there are rules about this sort of thing!

Okay, so there is a cease-fire.
And yes, okay, It's unilateral, for all the new kids that means it is one sided. Which means that one party made a decision which does not include the opposition.
Israel, has a history of this these kinds of moves.
Suffice to say, Hamas has not signed any cease fire agreement.

At two am (my local time) the cease fire should come into effect.

But if Hamas chooses to continues to fight and fire rockets... the IDF will respond only if they are fired upon and maybe even broaden the operation.

The fighting will continue until peace is restored.

Good night folks.
For News coverage that actually makes sense and logic I leave you with:
eumelia: (Default)
As I sit here and finish off an assignment for tomorrow, Olmert and most likely Livni and Barak will be coming onto teevee to tell us if there will be a cease fire and what will be happening with Gaza (regarding "Security" of course) over the next week.

I dunno if I've mentioned, or if it was just so obvious... but I'm really not optimistic.

Especially when Israel is talking about a unilateral cease fire.
'Cause those worked so fucking well in the past.
Not!
No, really.
They haven't.

History not learned.
We are doomed.
eumelia: (Default)
Every week, every day, there are demonstration over in the West Bank against the Gaza assault.
These demonstrations are nothing new, as they have been protesting against the building of a fence, a wall, which continues to usurp land from people whose land is already tenuous in their grip.
These demonstrations have been going on for years, since 2002.
That's eight years.
How many years has Southern Israel been under rocket attack?

A worrying trend has been showing over the past week.

There have been numerous Anti-Gaza assault demo's in the West Bank since the operation began.
Today, during such a protest, a Palestinian man was shot by IDF forces, this is the third casualty in as many days.
A soldier was wounded by rock throwers.

So... yeah.
eumelia: (Default)
The Israeli Socio-Political Satire show Eretz Nehedret - ארץ נהדרת - lit. Wonderful Country is probably one of the sharpest, most biting, satires on television today.
They are definitely up there (at least in my book) with "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report".

On this week's show they had a sketch of hip-hop Hasbarah (Hebrew for "explanation" and what is colloquially known as Israeli for describing the efforts of explaining Israeli government policies, and to promote Israel to the world at large)

The video is brilliant - but unfortunately cannot be embedded at this time, so I've put the direct link here and translated the lyrics which are a mixture of Hebrew and English (everything emphasised is me translating the Hebrew/Hebrish terms)
Link to Video: It's Time for a War Anthem.
Lyrics under the cut )

Hilarious!
So biting and true!
Though, I acknowledge... it may only be funny for the Israelis and other Hebrew speakers here.
eumelia: (Default)
As promised... meta-blogging!

Over at Feministe, David Schraub of The Debate Link is guest blogging on the Gaza War:"Cast Lead".
He has written a brilliant (and long) post titled: “We Cannot Live Without Our Lives” Either: Jews, Privilege, and Anti-Subordination.
Now I don't agree with everything he's saying, but the way he breaks down the conflation of Antisemitian and anti-Zionism and how Antisemitism really still a reality for Jews world wide and Jewish history of course.
In any event, it's long and the comments on Feministe are always great to read as they are generally well written and well thought out.
Here's a taste of the entry:
But since I have the microphone at Feministe, particularly, I want to talk about some broader-level issues that tend to come to a fore when I participate in discussions in this community, and other progressive environments like it. The folks on this blog (both writers and commenters) are, by and large, wonderful people. But – here and elsewhere – there is very little recognition and very much resistance to a true, critical engagement with anti-Semitism and Jewish experiences writ large. Indeed, the moment we start talking about anti-Semitism, we’re shouted down with accusations that we’re “playing the anti-Semitism card”. No charge infuriates me more, because no charge is more reviled by progressives then specious claims of card-playing. We’ve all heard how conservatives will short-circuit any discussion of racism by saying “oh, you’re just playing the race card”, and we all have learned the hard way that “the race card”, whatever its benefits, is easily trumped by “‘the race card’ card”. And yet, for some reason, I’m expected to take seriously sanctimonious statements which claim to deplore anti-Semitism but then proceed to assert that “accusations of anti-Semitism are often used to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s activities”.

Is that statement true? While I guess some people sometimes do cry anti-Semitism merely to shutdown discussion, that is rarely the true purpose. Rather, we’re actually trying to point out a couple of things.


I found this very interesting article at the Alternative Information Center.
During times of war it is easy and convenient to forget that Israel is probably one of the most culturally split countries in the world.
Palestinians and Palestinians with Israeli Citizenship (colloquially known as Arab-Israelis) are not the only "Other" in Israeli society.
The majority of people living out in the peripheral "Development Towns" which in the Negev (Southern Israel and Qassam fodder) are Mizrahi Jews who immigrated here in the 1950's and have remained in low socio-economic statues because... well... Development Towns exist in order to keep the Centre from overcrowding by new immigrants - many from the former Soviet Union who immigrated to Israel in the early 90's also settled in these towns (and secular Settlements in the West Bank).
The article I linked posits that:
The war of 1956, and the nationalist wave it aroused in Israel, created a space in which to ideologically include the immigrants. All Israelis, immigrants or not, shared the hardship of war and social discontent was relegated. Similarly, eleven years later, the 1967 war and the nationalist wave it unleashed following Israel’s victory served as a tool to discipline the independent trade union movement that had begun to develop.

Wars did not unify the diverse communities in Israel, but served to establish discipline within a fractured society. The wars, and particularly the military victory of 1967, served to establish the ethnic fundamentalism that characterizes the hegemonic discourse in Israel. This allowed the ruling classes to overcome the social rifts and thus suggest a Jewish national identity.

For this reason, the discourse of peace, which does not propose solutions to the social upheavals of Israeli society, subverts the promises of ethnic fundamentalism. With peace disappears the common danger that holds together the unemployed in Sderot and the systems engineer in Tel Aviv. At the same time, peace makes evident the social and ethnic rifts of Israel breaking its current façade of social stability.

Interesting stuff.
Jewish monolith?
Not so much.

Laila El-Hadded the blogger behind Raising Yousuf and Noor: diary of a Palestinian mother, writes a very evocative post - The inebriates of Israel's war -about what the Israeli Powers That Be want and how they try and get it:
I said something about how I don't know that the Israeli government has thought that through; that they are so drunk with self-conviction, absolute power and military might, racism and nationalism and perceived "success" all while a media blackout, a well-planned hasbara campaign and a public hungry for "action" fuel the war-terror machine with their blessings and support, that they will blaze ahead, losing sight of why-ever the hell they think they started this and whatever the hell it was supposed to achieve (the latest line is "increasing their deterrent force").

The herd mentality at its best.


I finish this lengthy quotes entry with the unbeatable Amira Hass:
History did not begin with the Qassams.
[...]Ever since the Palestinian Authority was established, the Israeli public relations machinery has exaggerated the danger of the military threat that the Palestinians pose to us. When they moved from stones to rifles and from Molotov cocktails to suicide bombings, from roadside bombs to Qassams and from Qassams to Grads, and from the PLO to Hamas, we said with a whoop of victory, "We told you. They're anti-Semites." And therefore, we have the right to go on a rampage.
What enabled Israel's military rampage - the proper words to describe it cannot be found in my dictionary - was the step-by-step isolation of the Gaza Strip.
eumelia: (Default)
The tone of this blog entry is light hearted and slightly sarcastic, nothing new I know, since my style has that quality most of the time.
I'd just like to reiterate the seriousness of this situation and explain that if I don't outlet my thoughts and feelings like this I'd be writing bad poetry and crying all the time... much like circa 2006 and 2007 after the 2nd Lebanon War and my (non-combative or field) participation in it.

Here are a few News articles.
For your... err... enjoyment.

Venezuela and Bolivia have cut diplomatic ties with Israel over "Cast Lead".
Damn, there go my chances at visiting Caracas and La-Paz!
Seriously though, I'm not surprised. As the two front runners for re-establishing Socialism in Latin America(1) and two of the United States' harshest critics, it doesn't surprise that they are making this kind of stand.
Israel has the highest profile of any other US ally and is perceived as an extension of US policy in the Middle East - not entirely true, but we sure like those US taxes and weapons, nom nom.

I'm not sure how much the Israeli higher echelon is giving a damn about what they probably consider two coo-coo heads of state, but I have a feeling that at some point in the near future it will bite us back in the ass.

For more pertinent issues:
It is reported that "Hamas accepts Egyptian cease-fire proposal":
Israel is asking for a number of guarantees from the Americans:

b A U.S. declaration calling on the international community to deal with the smuggling of arms from Iran to terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

b Intelligence cooperation between Israel and the U.S. for identifying the sources of weapons, with focus on the network linking Iran, the Persian Gulf and Sudan.

b An international maritime effort along the smuggling routes to find ships carrying weapons to the Gaza Strip, possibly with the involvement of NATO.

b An American and European commitment for the transfer of technologies to Egypt that will help it uncover tunnels.

b Plans for the economic development of Rafah, with particular emphasis on the Bedouin to undercut the financial motivation for building and operating tunnels.

Regardless?
I want to say... Yay?
A total cease-fire is something I've been hoping for since before day one.
Thing is... both sides are not very good at accepting agreements which don't hold their best interests at heart.
Israel isn't going to get everything it wants.
Hamas and the Palestinians definitely won't:
The war in Gaza isn't over yet. The final days of the Second Lebanon War show that it's best to be wary of agreements that come too early. But the way things looked on Wednesday, Hamas seems to be willing to accept the Egyptian initiative, which is almost a kind of surrender agreement for it.
The Egyptian proposal is mostly bad for Hamas. It doesn't let the organization bring the Palestinian public any political achievement that would justify the blood that has been spilled, and even forces on it the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, in the form of its renewed presence at the Rafah crossing (as a condition for its reopening).

Today is a day of waiting.
I hope that by this evening there will be something concrete to report about an end to the fighting and the bloodshed.

That's all for a News update.
Stay tuned for more general War impressions from blogs and my own brain.

Notes:
(1) Is that the correct term?
eumelia: (Default)
Israeli Reserve Soldiers have been deployed into Gaza.

I've been told by friends that I'm thinking too much about the war. I want to reply that not thinking about it is a privilege which does not extend to large portions of the population: In Israel, I don't think the people of the South are able to concentrate about much other than wait for the siren to go off; in Gaza... well, seeing as they're actually living in a demolition area I doubt they're thinking of much else expect trying to find shelter against Israeli fire; as for the rest of the country (including the West Bank), friends and family - on both sides.
They don't get much rest.

I'm seeing so much belligerency IRL and the interwebs that it makes me kind of sick.

And again, I'm caught up in the discourse of needing to establish the fact of acknowledging the suffering of the people of Sderot and the South (constantly reminding people that my Girlfriend lives in the fucking line of fire!) and that of course Hamas are bad.
Why is this even an issue?
Perhaps because no one wants to acknowledge the fact that for eight years the Israeli government has been using the (working-class, Mizrahi, Jewish) residents of the South to Symbolise National Strength (which I've dubbed the National Erection) and that they are, de facto, human shields as well.
But because they're not used as human shields, one on one... the ethics is less shaky, right?

Not to mention, those "open fields" Qassam rockets fall into?
There are dozens of unrecognised Beduin villages scattered in the areas south of Be're Sheva and between Arad and Dimona. And by unrecognised I mean they get no municipal support from any where, they have no sewage system, they have no proper housing.
This is what happens to certain ethnic minorities in Israel - and the Beduin volunteer in the IDF like the best of them us.

Another thing that's easy to forget is that Gaza, in comparison to Israel, is tiny and one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

You know what?
Fine let's not talk about nearly 1000 dead Palestinians in Gaza (who can only blame themselves, of course, for electing a government that's sole propose is to destroy Israel and the world Jewry - let us not forget who put Hamas there, first as a charity service and then as an opposition to the PLO) and thousands more wounded.

It isn't normal for people to live under rocket barrage day in and day out.
It really isn't.
Very likely that there is an entire generation high on PTSD that can't wait 'till the day it gets an M-16 and has a chance to shoot back at the Arabs that destroyed their childhood, adulthood, livelihood etc.
It isn't normal for boys and girls to be trained to work as a police force against a civilian population which isn't even getting the chance at communicating with those who are not wearing a uniform.
It isn't normal to walk around being suspicious of any girl wearing a hijab and any boys and girls who speak Arabic.

It isn't normal that the boys and girls who are now fighting Hamas in Gaza see the destruction that was created so that their movement won't be hindered and that the combat will be easier.
Is it not inhumane to send teenagers to seek and destroy?
Is it not inhumane to call up reservists, people with jobs, families and lives, disrupt them and possibly even end them in an operation which will only create more animosity towards Israel and establish another generation for Hamas to train in firing rockets and/or commit suicide in one big event of defiance.
For what greater defiance is there against an Occupier if it isn't declaring "I will not live like this" and go out in a blaze of glory.
I shake my head at this.

We also glorify the dead soldiers.
Our Memorial Day is a day of mourning, black and white and candles, reading out the names of those boys and girls who gave their lives, willingly, for the protection of this nation state.
The siren sounds and we stand for two minutes of wailing silence.
Woe is it to anyone who doesn't stand during this time.
Even if all we are thinking about is wanting it to be over already.
Are these glorious dead not martyrs also for the cause of Jewish Nationalism?
Are the thousands of bereaved families worth it?

I can only sigh.

I hope the boys and girls and reserve soldiers do not have to stay a long time in Gaza.
I hope the people of Sderot and the rest of the South will not have to endure for much longer
I hope the people of Gaza overcome and survive.

I can only support and hope that the soldiers retain the humanity the IDF system tries to extract and that they leave Gaza as soon as possible.
I can only hope that enough soldiers and reservists say that "No, this is not right".

This video is of a demo made up of Refuseniks. It's in Hebrew with English subtitles:
Soldiers Refuse to Serve in Gaza 2009 )
eumelia: (Default)
Hebrew and English texts:

Sderot War Diary

Nomika Zion, Sderot, 8.1.09


[...]
Not in my name and not for me you went to war. The current bloodbath in Gaza is not in my name and not for my security. Destroyed homes, bombed schools, thousands of new refugees - are not in my name and not for my security. In Gaza there is no time for burial ceremonies now, the dead are put in refrigerators in twos, because there is no room. Here their bodies lay, policemen, children, and our nimble reporters play acrobatically with Hasbara strategies in view of “the images that speak for themselves”. Pray tell me, what is there to “explain”? [Hasbara literally means "explanation" - Translator's note] What is there to explain?
[...]

יומן מלחמה משדרות

נעמיקה ציון, שדרות, חברה בקבוצת ‘קול אחר’, 8.1.09


[...]
לא בשמי ולא למעני יצאתם למלחמה הזאת.
מרחץ הדמים המתנהל מזה שבועיים בעזה הוא לא בשמי ולא למען ביטחוני. בתים הרוסים, בתי ספר מופצצים, אלפי פליטים חדשים - הם לא בשמי ולא למען ביטחוני. בעזה אין זמן לטקסי קבורה, ואת המתים מכניסים זוגות זוגות לתאי הקירור מרוב דוחק. הנה מוטלות גופותיהם שוטרים שוטרים, ילדים ילדים, והכתבים החרוצים מלהטטים בין טקטיקות של הסברה מול “התמונות שמדברות בעד עצמן”. מה יש להסביר, תגידו לי? מה יש להסביר?
[...]
eumelia: (Default)
I've always considered the UN to be one of those international bodies created for when the Aliens come and humanity pretends to have unified global government.

Right now, the UN Security Council is really... redundant.

The answer to the UN Gaza cease fire resolution have been:

#1 Israel says This? This is what you want us to do... screw you!. The shelling, bombing and fighting will continue until all objectives are achieved.
What these objectives are is a mystery; because so far Hamas hasn't stopped firing rockets and Gilad Shalit hasn't been liberated.

#2 Hamas says What? That's all?! screw you!. Rockets will continue to be fired, the tunnels that are destroyed will be re-dug and Hamas will continue to dis-acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
What exactly Hamas hopes to gain in this in unknown, since right now Hamas are just throwing everything they've got at the soldiers and across the borders.

What we have here... is a blood tinted pissing contest:
One of the contestants is pissing on the other.
The other meanwhile is trying mightily to keep a steady stream.
I leave to you to decide which is which.
eumelia: (Default)
The UN suspends their aid to Gaza because they were shot at by the IDF. One of the aid workers is in fact dead. Israel is presenting a complaint to the UN regarding the rocket fire from Lebanon, which I mentioned earlier today.

Dude.

An acquaintance of mine said that the UN aid people were naive for going in there.
I pretty much goggled at that statement.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza is, and I very much understate, dire.
No one would ever, EVER, suggest that the aid workers in Sderot are naive, no they're doing "holy work" and actually helping the traumatized children.

Now without aid going into Gaza, the people there will no doubt be feeling very kindly towards Israel and gladly overthrow Hamas.

A more sinister thought entered my mind about why Israel is willing to play into Hamas' deliberate use of UN facilities (seriously, why is the IDF shooting at UN schools, making them looks way worse than Hamas) and shoot at UN aid envoys.

Could it be... that Israel doesn't actually want any UN presence in Gaza?
Without the aid coming in Gaza would become even more dependant on the tunnel economy - which is used to smuggle far more than just weapons, it includes school supplies, food, water, toilet paper etc. Seeing as there is no other "legitimate" economy in Gaza, it would make sense for Hamas to cultivate not just arms dealing, right?

Of course the tunnels are the "source of evil" and must be stopped.

By the way.
Aren't we supposed to be trying to free Gilad Shalit?

Sorry to be so disjointed this evening, but this has gone on for long enough and too far.

Stop.
Just, stop.
Please?
eumelia: (Default)
Mother fucking perfect.

At least three rockets hit Northern Israel from Lebanon this morning.
Hizbollah aren't taking responsibility at this time and it would seem that one (or more) of the little Palestinian groups are firing.

Israel, so far, has responded with artillery shelling.

I'm feeling a little bit nauseous.

Not just because I don't know if I could deal with another "front", but also because [Southern!Girl] is heading to Haifa this weekend!
Dude!
Can she not catch a bloody break.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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