Tag Archives: middle east

More Thoughts on Gaza

The ground offensive in Gaza commenced this past weekend.

I feel pretty torn. Sometimes I feel supportive, and sometimes I am reserved and concerned about the operation.

At this moment in time I am worried about the long-term effects of the incursion. The humanitarian problems plaguing Gaza are disturbing to me. And the inevitable civilian casualty loss is rising.

Moreover, I am worried these attacks will only weaken any peace process (if there were even a chance of having one before this started). I don’t think the attacks will ‘teach Hamas a lesson’ or obliterate this terror organization. If nothing else, they will use the attacks to justify more attacks against Israelis. Palestinians in general will use the attacks to justify resistance–as opposed to nonviolent protests. I fear, moreover, that the more Israel attacks Hamas, the more sympathy they will get from Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank–which is a problem for Fatah. Its as if Hamas wanted these attacks to take place so they could justify continued armed struggle and strengthen their political base. Israeli actions will only entrench Palestinian tendency toward self-destructive ideology and actions. Cycle of violence anyone?

But what are the alternatives? If we live and let live would Hamas continue arming itself with rockets that reached farther and farther distances? I am all for opening the passages, but I fear Hamas will only take advantage of any literal and figurative openings that Israel offers to smuggle in more weapons and strengthen their base. We’re not fighting the Palestinian civilians. We’re fighting a terror organization that wants to destroy the state of Israel and doesn’t care how much violence it takes to achieve its goal. Perhaps that is just simplistic and painting things in black and white–feel free to offer more nuanced ideas.

So as far as I can see Israelis find themselves in the unenviable position of ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’ I don’t see any endgame in sight.

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Gaza Strike

I went online after Shabbat this evening to find that Israel went ahead with an airstrike on Gaza. I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. On the one hand, these types of military escalations can backfire and just make the Palestinians angrier. Do they really end up helping things in the long run, I wonder. Also civilian casualties, even when minimized, do result in these operations. The opposition uses these attacks as yet another propaganda weapon to show the oppressiveness and unjustness of the Occupation regime.

On the other hand, Israel has a right to protect its civilians who have been subjected to a continuing barrage of rocket fire. Some–particularly the right-wing–have been critical for its slow response to the Qassams as opposed to its aggressiveness towards the Palestinians. Also I can’t deny that I have misgivings about Hamas’ trustworthiness given its ideological bent and seeming efforts to take advantage of any openings on the Israeli side to inflict pain.

Surely the Gaza blockade and the military strikes create suffering for the Palestinians, but what are the options in terms of preventing the other side from augmenting its instruments of terror? If you allow everything to go into Gaza and if you don’t have incursions, how do you prevent weapons from being smuggled in. How do you know that the other side is just building up its resources until it can launch an even bigger attack?

And yet, how do you protect civilians without sabotaging efforts to create a lasting peace? Is it possible to reach a compromise or will each side find just one more thing, one more justification for continuing its actions? Will each side demand just one more thing in order to gain the upper hand?

If anyone happens to stumble upon this blog, I welcome comments. But please no rants. I am actually looking for observant, insightful and thoughtful comments which actually have evidence to back them up. Otherwise I just won’t post them.

Americans Don’t Know Crap about Israelis and other observations

Eric alerted me to two articles this past week that complement last week’s Jerusalem Post article about the UJC GA in Israel.

The first one is actually a response from a piqued Israeli reporter, Anshel Pfeffer’s pointing out that Americans don’t know much about Israelis.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1041903.html

The second one is a thoughtful analysis by Michael Oren that explores the gap between American and Israeli Jews.

http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=472

I think there was something else in the Jpost recently as well, although it slipped through my fingers Continue reading

Israelis Don’t Know Crap about American Jewry

Hey sorry for the long delay on blogging. Graduate school studies have bogged me down as of late. I’ll write about that in my next post. For now I will share with you an article in the Jerusalem Post about how the Israeli media completely disregarded the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.

Such an oversight exemplifies the complete ignorance that many Israelis have of the Jewish diaspora, particularly the American Jews–which is a particularly stupid strategy given that American Jewry have been a significant source of funding for Israel. Moreover, they are not just another backwater diaspora community. They are the size of Israel!

Not only do they fail to understand, but they actually think they know what they are talking about and don’t seem to care about learning more. The article also reveals some of the historic disdain that Israel has harbored toward diaspora Jewry and the ever widening rift between American and Israeli Jewry. Continue reading

School is On!

So I actually am starting school tomorrow. Olmert finally interevened and said enough is enough, the universities need to start on time.

Haaretz wrote an interesting editorial on the university crisis, calling for more accountability on the university level. The treasury wants university spending to go toward certain avenues as recommended by an entity called the Shochat Committee, but the universities want free reign.  Continue reading

Update on University Status

I’m still not sure if I’m going to school on Sunday. University and government representatives weren’t able to reach a settlement yesterday, and the finance ministry is apparently dragging its feet.

If the current situation continues, I can see how education will become increasingly split between the haves and have nots. The ones who have more money and don’t want to put up with anymore interferences in their studies will go to the Michlalot–or colleges–which are somewhat more expensive or else study abroad. The ones who have less money will have to put up with a crumbling education system and watch their own professional future suffer. Continue reading

The Holiday Season

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come and gone here, but we are still in the midst of the holiday season, with Sukkot starting Tuesday night. It’s hard to get anything done during this time of year–you’re always getting ready for the next chag plus shabbat too. So there’s a lot of time spent food shopping and cooking if you end up hosting all of the meals (which I didn’t). Even if you don’t host each meal, it’s a very busy time.

Luckily for Rosh Hashana, we were invited for almost every meal by people of Ner Kedoshim, the orthodox shul that we’ve been frequenting here. By the time the chag was over, I was ready to go on a diet! Continue reading