Friday, November 26, 2004

National Pride?

Sometimes I am reminded of the days, not many years ago, when I was a little kid at school. We were taught the history of Israel (naturally, it wasn't from a particularly objective point of view) and there was a very strong emphasis on the wars Israel has fought. Of course it was all about Israel being this tiny little country that was just founded and all it's big bad scary enemies all around, attacking. And of course, much like the David and Goliath story, against all odds little Israel fought hard and brave and prevailed. I remember the overwhelming pride I felt. Nowadays, it saddens me deeply; it saddens me that I didn't understand then what I understand now and it saddens me that I can't feel that pride anymore.

Often when I talk to people about politics, people who are on the other side of the political prism, they misunderstand my point of view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They seem to think I am whole heartedly for the Palestinian people and completely against Israel. The problem is that I am indeed whole heartedly for the Palestinian people but I am also still very much for Israel. And that is a problem because it creates much pain and sadness, to see what this country I love has turned into and to realize time and time again that it doesn't seem like it will because what many people, me included, have hoped it will be.

It might sound quite strange, but sometimes I am a little bit envious of the Palestinian people, in the sense that they are now in the battle for independence, the most righteous of battles, and they know they're right in their goals and I can't possibly ever feel that way about my country.

I don't know if this makes much sense. And it might seem as though I'm whining about things that don't matter, because things are blowing up and people are dying and I'm talking about lost national pride, but it's just what I feel sometimes.

Friday, October 29, 2004

History taking place.

So, I haven't posted anything for quite a while. There have been many things I wanted to say but unfortunately my computer was quite dead for a couple of months or so. But now I am back and ready to type, so here goes.

A couple of days ago the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) voted on Sharon's disengagement plan. The plan was accepted by the Knesset.
Which means that a majority of Members of Knesset agree that all Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip and some of the settlements in the West Bank should and will be dismantled and the settlers evacuated.

All the newspapers, the TV news, the radio talk people all at one point or another said this was a historic day. The more dramatically prone ones were talking about the knesset finally, after 37 years, recognizing the fact that we are an occupying force and declaring the beginning of the end of the occupation.
I tried to be cynical about it, keeping in mind Sharon"s history as a cruel hawk and the fact that many things can happen between now and the summer of 2005 when the plan is supposed to be executed, but alas, I was another victim of media hype. I was moved for a few seconds there. I felt history taking place and was even a little excited.
I am ashamed to say this but I even had some positive feelings towards Ariel Sharon.

Now, I've talked about my views on the disengagement plan. But I really don't remember what I've said and I feel I should say it again.
I do not think it is a good plan. Naturally, I believe in a peace process, with peace talks and agreements and things of that sort. But, since this plan is taking shape and it means Israel actually evacuating Jewish settlements...
Now I don't think people abroad quite understand what this means, the settlers and their supporters are a very powerful and influential political bunch. Very religiously zealous and ideologically zealous as well. And many people support them, or at least don't wanna seem against them. That is not to mention the little group of them that is very violent.
So, it's a huge step to evacuate them and at this point I don't care if it's Sharon who gets the credit. And perhaps, hopefully, once they're evacuated, it will make it easier for more a more moderate Israeli leadership hold talks with a Palestinian leadership.

Another thing that is all over the news is the incredible amount of violent right wing persons and organizations speaking out very violently against Ariel Sharon and other members of the government, which makes everyone think back to the time before Rabin was murdered, and think it looks just the same.

But I'm thinking, there's just so much media talk about this stuff and incredible security measures taken places that nothing can actually happen. I mean, it's gotten really ridiculous, the amount of media attention any little nut who calls himself a rabbi gets the minute he says anything about doing something to Sharon.

But today the biggest thing on the news is naturally Arafat's health. Which is rather funny, that the minute they started talking about Arafat not feeling well and needing immediate medical attention, Israeli media was already talking about all the arrangements that are being made in case he dies. If you watched the news here a bit and didn't know any better, you'd think he's dead. Naturally noone's really sad about it, but I felt rather uneasy when they showed him all weak and weary and ill. It was a bit like watching Saddam Hussein after the US army got him out of that hole. You never liked the man, but you feel uneasy seeing someone so powerful suddenly so powerless.

Sunday, August 08, 2004


Had to post this thing...

"Still, I couldn't help feel pity for the residents of Tel Aviv. Few children were to be seen on the streets, everybody locking their children at home out of fear. Rather than enjoy their lives, they were allowing their own fears to imprison them. Instead of dehumanizing us with the wall and the military oppression, they ended up dehumanizing themselves, like every good colonial occupier who thinks force alone can bring him security. "

That paragraphed genuinely moved me.

from Dr. Saber Zaitoun's article in

Saturday, August 07, 2004


First, apologies for not having posted anything for a month, been super busy and most of the time very much away from computers.

And now to matters at hand.

I have had many conversations recently with people who don't agree with my political views.
Naturally, these people all vary in their reasons for holding those views, but actually there are two main things I see.
I should mention these people are generally not very political, but when asked lean to the right.

One type of right-leaning-generally-a-political person was those who are just angry and scared.
They are angry because they know people who've been killed during the Intifada, they're scared... well... for obvious reasons.

The other kind is the people who naturally lean towards peacee and non-violence but they have absorbed the notion that "there is noone to negotiate peace, they don't want peace, they all want to kill us".

So where am I going with this?

I think the main problem of the majority of the Israeli public nowadays is that we are unwilling to accept the fact that we are not the victim. That we stopped being the victim a long time ago.
That we need to take responsibility for our actions, past and present.
I find it hard to believe that we can achieve any for of peace without acknowledging what has happened here, and the role we had in this.

I think Israelis should visit this site (The organization is called Zochrot, and what it does is go to places in Israel, where Palestinians used to live until 1948 and tell the history of the place and the people). I have visited the site and have read about the place where I live now. I knew there was a Palestinian village here, but never knew anything about it. And I must say seeing that has brought up many emotions. From guilt to sadness to a determination to somehow make things better.

I know many people would say I'm just being naive, which I am told constantly.
But I don't think I am naive. I think I'm trying to find a balance between ideology and realism.

I might also be blamed for being over emotional, but how can you not be?
Knowing that in 1948, thousands of people were chased away from here.
And knowing that I came here when I was 5 years old, in 1989, and had this place handed to me on a silver platter when there are people who've lived here for generations and are constantly told they don't belong here.

Call me what you will, but I refuse to surrender to fear and anger and misguided hate.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Lately the news media is quite focused on the extreme right in Israel.
As in the days of Rabin and Oslo, when it seemed as though the right wing agenda was not being implemented, the extreme right is getting militant.

Certain political, religious and ideological leaders are voicing opinions that, to anyone outside the extreme right, sound incredible.

And so Ariel Sharon is under more protection than ever.

It all seems so ironic, since Sharon was then (in 95) one of the right wing leaders who didn't object to Rabin being called a traitor, a nazi, a killer.

But when you think of it, they do come from the same sphere. Generals turned politicians. That is not to say that Sharon's becoming a dove, he is after all still a hawk who's possibly realized finally that we can not stay in Gaza and the West Bank. But then Rabin wasn't exactly a dove either, though we all would like to remember him as such.

Though I disagree with sharon on practically everything, it seems that if he weren't around, it'd be Netanyahu. And Netanyahu, to me, seems far worse.

I never thought a day would come when I wouldn't object to Sharon in every possible way.

I can somehow avoid feeling icky about that by just thinking and hoping that by the 2006 elections, there will actually be someone on the left who is able of being elected.

(Nope, still feel the urge to whole heartedly objecting to Sharon.
Oh well, maybe if I just think "at least not Netanyahu")

Monday, June 28, 2004


Ok, I've gotten some response to a post I've put up here (the angry lefty one).

And, even though I didn't wanna do this, I feel like I should set the record straight. Hoping this isn't going to sound like I'm taking anything back or apologizing for my views. Just seems I haven't been entirely clear in saying what I mean.

Just as anything else, my political views are complex, largely emotionally motivated, and not at all static.
In that post I've presented one side of that big mess.

That is not to say I'm not aware of the fact that any real change would require shit loads of moderate left.

I just get rather tired of bending over backwards to sound moderate and express realistic suggestions.

Yes, when you're negotiating a peace agreement or running in elections, you need to be realistic. But I really don't see what's the problem with just saying what's on my mind.

I do sometimes feel guilty for living here. I do hurt when we build walls and tear down homes and shoot at people. I also have plenty of sympathy for settlers who had good intentions and now have to watch their dream burst. Just as I feel for innocent people who've been hurt in terror acts, of any nationality.
I don't see how those things should contradict.

I don't see why it's wrong if I'm a modern liberal Zionist who supports the Palestinian people.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


I naturally often come across the issue of disengagement (oh no, we can't call it withdrawal, that'd hurt our ego), and I must say I am not completely 100% set in my opinion on it.

I know it's not at all the best solution. Far from it.
It perpetuates our (Israelis) sense of superiority over the Palestinian people. In this plan, this idea, we don't treat them as an equal counter-part. We actually don't really view them as a side to this at all. We pull out settlements, we seal all entries and exits, we throw some Egyptians and such in there, and we don't negotiate or talk to anyone. Oh, we do talk to W. Bush. Well, I'm not even gonna go into that one.

So on the one hand we pull out of Gaza, we take out settlements. That's all good.

But we do everything on our own. We take complete control over this. We shift blame and take control.

Gaza will be locked down and sealed shut. Can that be good? Can Gaza be rebuilt? Will the people get a chance to recover?

It's far from perfect. It's even far from acceptable.

I don't believe that's the best we can do.

But to come back to reality, that is the best we have now. And it might just create a small opening. And maybe we'll all take advantage of that and manage to get the process into place.

This plan doesn't evoke feelings of hope and anticipation to what's to come. But with no choice at the moment, I'd say yes.