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Operation Haifa

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I woke up this morning, checked social media and there was a predictable flurry of opinions from not only residents of the area, but people everywhere on earth about what is happening in Gaza. I find it fascinating the extent to which the global left combines supposed solidarity with Palestinians and orientalism. They go together like a keffiyeh and a see through tank top over a red bra: a combination I'm sure many European activists are wearing right now.

I believe Gaza has become, for the left, a metanymic site- symbolizing west over east, and north over south oppression. I'm here to tell you- you, left leaning globally interested citizen, you probably picked the wrong example. As I sit inside Israel I'm worried bombs are going to fall on me. The aggression is going in both directions. I can not say the same about US aggression in the middle east, for example. You have pictures of a dead baby in Gaza? Well, I have pictures of a dead baby in Israel. So let's not start a martyrdom festival...I don't want one side to be the MORE miserable marytr- I want us all to live.

Last night I attended a protest in Haifa . Had people not been being bombed about 2 hours from where I stood at the same time, it would have been nearly funny. Nationalist right wing Jews protested, waving Israeli flags across the street from Israeli Arabs waving Palestinian flags standing next to communists waving red flags. At one point the "left" side of the street was yelling "the people demand peace" and the "right" side was yelling "the people demand quiet in the south." Police stood half a block away relaxing, but on hand in case things got physical. The closest thing to violence happened when one side waved their fingers in unison, which was met with the other side waving their fingers in unison. After about 45 minutes of yelling across the street at each other, protesters folded up thier flags and went home.  We will see each other tommorow not only at work, but in bars, restaurants and gatherings.

In my opinion Haifa is probably one of the best models for co-existance in Israel, in the Levant, and in fact in the entire middle east. Please do not forget that inside Israel there are Jews and Arabs living side by side who are all worried both that the other side is being bombed, and that bombs are about to fall on our heads. As I watch the war of words unfold on social media, this complexity seems lost. On this very site I saw a cartoon that reminded me of the blood libel smear, an ever recurring expression of anti-Jewish myth. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so how many repetitions of "the left will fall into it's familiar anti-semitism, orientalism and dogmatism" is that?

The reality for those of us who live here is that civilians are being killed on both sides, and we want this to end. We want a region that looks more like Haifa, where opinionated people of all kinds can live side by side in peace, and less like the regions further south or north for that matter.

So in my humble opinion, concerned global citizens should focus less on vilifying one side or the other, and more on how to make a solution happen. 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion 78 Comments

  • Christiaan B 16th Nov 2012

    Is this a joke?

  • Lambert Meertens 16th Nov 2012

    Candice, you write: "The aggression is going in both directions. ... You have pictures of a dead baby in Gaza? Well, I have pictures of a dead baby in Israel."

    Did these two babies attack each other? By writing this you suggest that the death of one baby can be justified by the death of another baby.

    There is no justification for the aggression in either direction. The real problem is that the leaders who say they want peace derive their power from the conflict.

    • Lambert Meertens 16th Nov 2012

      Candace did post a reaction to the above, which for some reason did not show up or disappeared. Here it is:

      Thank you for your valuable criticism of my text. I did not intend to assert that one death justifies the other. What I really want to assert, is that we need to find a way to make the entire region look more like Haifa and less like hell. Seeing Europeans re-iterate a bunch of tired stereotypes is destructive...even I, someone very opposed to militarism, start to feel paranoid 'OK, everyone hates us, what motivation do I have to be civil now?' I'll see if I can add a picture to the blog, so the visual show what I wish would happen: peaceful people in non-violent expression.

  • Alaa Radwan 16th Nov 2012

    Well, when Israel start attacking us, shall we not take revenge? I don't justify killing the civilians in Israel. But you said that Palestinians and Israelis co-exist with each others; but this is not true at all. There have been always troubles with both sides.

    • Lambert Meertens 16th Nov 2012

      Longing for revenge is a very understandable human emotion. But revenge just serves to perpetuate the conflict. Netanyahu and the other hardliners just love it when rockets are fired from the Palestinian Territories. While such attacks cannot inflict serious damage to the Israeli economy and infrastructure, they give the hardliners political cover for taking further steps to humiliate and annihilate the Palestinian people.

  • Gerry Conroy 16th Nov 2012

    Candace Moore wrote:

    >"...The aggression is going in both directions..."

    You're saying there's an equivalence between the extreme violence of the Israeli state towards the Palestinians and the Palestinian response. Israel is allied with the most powerful states in the world and armed and financed by the US and backed by a constant, unrelenting barrage of pro-Israeli propaganda throughout the western corporate media, which also defines media coverage in the rest of the world. The Palestinians are trapped in the conditions of little more than a large refugee camp in constant crisis, and must use the tiny resources they have available to defend what's left to them - at a horrendous cost to them. You can't disguise that situation as 'equivalence'. The Israeli state and it's allies, the US and many EU states, are entirely culpable for any and all political violence in that situation.
    The image of the Israeli state carving up a Palestinian on a dinner plate, with a glass of blood to one side, is appropriate. And the US flag on the fork.

    >"...So in my humble opinion, concerned global citizens should focus less on vilifying one side or the other, and more on how to make a solution happen..."

    The Israeli state and its powerful international backers should be publicly vilified, as that's a first step towards reducing their capacity to carry out their crimes.

  • martin faherty 16th Nov 2012

    Attempting to convey an equivalence between the experience of Palestinians and that of Israeli's is quite preposterous. I say that having lived and worked in Tel Aviv during the height of the bus bombings in the mid 1990s.

    When, in order to maintain an aggressive colonial project, you deprive a population of fundamental human rights; when every aspect of their daily lives is dictated by the occupying army which imprisons and surrounds and confines them in one of the most densely populated areas on earth, what response do you feel is to be expected?

    Should they live a life resigned to being subjected to daily collective humiliation and punishment , denied the most basic materials and even foodstuffs? How do you maintain passive resistance when every attempt is subjected to violent suppression and arrest and when the shreds of territory that are left to your hoped for future state continue to be devoured by an aggressive settler colonial policy?

    No attacks on civilians are legitimate but the sheer suffocating brutality and humiliation which defines the Israeli stranglehold on Gaza and the West Bank does make them inevitable. The steady drip - drip of fatalities which Israel inflicts on the Palestinians is only ever interrupted by a wider slaughter, of which the latest is just beginning.

  • LedSuit ' 16th Nov 2012

    Not to mention the illegal occupation of the West Bank and settlements. The dividing up of the West Bank into cantons. Making it more and more difficult for Palestinians to access water and other basic amenities. The second rate treatment of Palestinians living within Israel who refuse to leave. And, as others above have mentioned, the insidiously inhumane treatment of the people of Gaza, supported by the most powerful nation on earth and its backers. Truly despicable.

  • 16th Nov 2012

    Christiaan, it's not a joke, it's called vulgar propaganda. Unfortunately, anyone can join IOPS and post a blog, even a racist or someone on the far right. Israel is waging a misinformation campaign - see Al Jazeera - and this may just be one example.

    • Candace Moore 16th Nov 2012

      I challenge you to point to one single piece of misinformation here. You can't. You can accuse me of being a propagandist for peace, and that's about it. Racist? I'm black...not that I couldn't be racist...but let's say I know a thing or two about racism. Far right? Because I want peace...If the left supports continued war, then I'll go join the right. Because I am for peace. You can accuse me of being many things, but you are the one with the misinformation in this case. Although even you probably will not accuse me of being a hipocrite, as I type this from a building with no bomb shelter. I'll send you a copy of Nelson's Pediatric textbook if you can find even one example of a lie , or "misinformation" as you called it here...you are the liar to try and smear me. I'm not saying I speak from the other side. I'm saying, I'm here, and this is what I see.

    • Lambert Meertens 16th Nov 2012

      I think the author who posted the blog, like so many people, may be insufficiently aware of the actual conditions under which people in the World's Largest Prison have to live, and that IDF reprisals indiscriminately hit large numbers of totally innocent and defenceless people. It is not something advertized in the mainstream media, not in the West and also not in Israel.

    • 16th Nov 2012

      If the author who posted this blog can find a website such as this, they are just as capable of finding and reading about the actual conditions in Gaza that have been reported in alternative (non-mainstream) media for years. Actually, as someone living in Israel, and presumably a citizen of that country, she has an obligation to understand her government's policies, since they are carried out in her name.

      It's difficult for me to accept the idea that this is a just a conflict, a serious disagreement between two side when there is such a tremendous lack of parity in weaponry, in the harm that has been inflicted and the utter helplessness those living in Gaza would find themselves should Israel decide to wage a full out attack from the air and ground using F16s, Apache helicopter, tanks and troops. That is what living in fear means.

      So the author spent a night in fear and now has a small inkling of what it is like for those in Gaza.

      The author wishes that the entire region could look like Haifa; it could if not for Israel's brutal policies. Referring to the work of Sara Roy, Chomsky recently wrote:

      "The Gaza Strip could have become a prosperous Mediterranean region, with rich agriculture and a flourishing fishing industry, marvelous beaches and, as discovered a decade ago, good prospects for extensive natural gas supplies within its territorial waters. By coincidence or not, that is when Israel intensified its naval blockade, driving fishing boats toward shore, by now to 3 miles or less."

      The Author writes:'OK, everyone hates us, what motivation do I have to be civil now?' That sounds much like the Bush administration's response to 9/11: Why do the hate us? And then he waged an assault on Afghanistan and Iraq, which his predecessor is still carrying out. But the answer to his question was all too obvious: They hate our policies. The same is true now in Israel.

      Israel has treated those living in Gaza in an uncivil manner for decades and it's amazing that Palestinians have been so restrained. And what type of response should one expect when a Hamas military commander is assassinated by Israel within hours of receiving a truce deal he helped to negotiate.

      I didn't say Candace was a racist or someone from the far right, I was merely pointing out that anyone, even a racist or some on the far right could post a blog here. I accused her of disseminating vulgar propaganda, which I think is fair.

    • Candace Moore 16th Nov 2012

      So many paragraphs of words, and yet you can not find one piece of "misinformation"? It appears YOU are the liar here. As to being a propagandist...if I'm being accused of being a propagandist for peace, then GUILTY as charged. I'm also a propagandist for understanding, social justice...you apparently are just a propagandist against one, short black woman doctor...well, get happy because actually having once nearly died in a terror attack, I have more than a small inkling of what people in Aza must be going through...maybe you should focus on a bigger cause than smearing me, maybe start with your own countried repeated interventions and outright warmaking in the region? Just a suggestion.

  • 16th Nov 2012

    Candace, your profile indicates you are a "Professional medical doctor" so perhaps you will appreciate the words of another doctor who was in Gaza the last time Israel waged a major offensive against the civilian population of Gaza, Operation Cast Lead:

    "They bombed the central vegetable market in Gaza City two hours ago. 80 injured, 20 killed, all came here to Shifa. Hades! We are wading in death, blood and amputees. More children. A pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything so terrible. Now we hear tanks. Pass this on, send it on, shout it out. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We are living in the history books now, all of us."

    So wrote Dr Mads Gilbert at 1:50 pm on January 3, 2009, a message he tapped into his mobile phone. (From the book "Eyes in Gaza".

  • Mark Evans 16th Nov 2012

    Hi Candace - you end your blog by saying "So in my humble opinion, concerned global citizens should focus less on vilifying one side or the other, and more on how to make a solution happen."

    I couldn't agree more and this is exactly what IOPS is about. Unlike most left organisations vision is central to iops and vision is about solutions.

    At the moment we have two blog posts on the IOPS top page giving personal accounts of the situation in Israel / Palestine - one from you and one from Alaa. I assume that, as members of IOPS, you both share the same vision (as sketched-out in the key documents) for a participatory society.

    I think that this share vision is very important in overcoming the vilifying you talk about and also in terms of how you might work together in order to "make a solution happen".

    It would be very interesting and exciting to see you and Alaa form an IOPS project where members from your part of the world could discuss and develop participatory vision and strategy for your region.

    In particular I would be very interested to know what you and Alaa (and others members from your part of the world) think of Steve Shalom's parpolity which is a model and long term vision for a participatory political system that was conceptualised to complement the participatory economic model - parecon.

  • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

    Test

  • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

    It's very difficult to have a discussion if the website doesn't work properly. Is this normal for iosociety.org?

    So Candace wrote this comment which turned up by email but doesn't show in this comment thread: "NO. I'm as serious as the miserable civilians on both sides of this. As a doctor, I know exactly what death and trauma look like...and I can tell you, individual human misery looks remarkably the same regardless of nationality.
    What part of this could be a joke?"

    The idea that this is somehow a conflict between equal powers with equal grievances. I think you need to read up about the history of this conflict from the Palestinian point of view and I think you need a much better understanding of power politics before you go lecturing the 'global left' on Palestine.

    • Candace Moore 17th Nov 2012

      I find it fascinating that someone from England, who does not live in the middle east, and probably speaks zero Arabic, or Hebrew for that matter, is lecturing me that I need to essentially know more about the history of the middle east, as I sit here, in the middle east. Maybe you should stop putting words in my mouth, questioning my sincerity, and perhaps go read up on your countries role in forming the very reality we all live today...some of that reading will be available in English...but you will have to actually READ it, unlike the semi-literate glance you apparently gave my post before you decided you understood what I am saying better than my own words...tell me, honestly, would it help if I had changed my name to say Fadi Abujen? Because I'm sure one of my Arab male neighbors who live in my building could have posted a nearly identical post...would that help, in at least not mansplaining to me what I said?

    • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

      You infer all that from my location. Pot meet kettle. I don't care where you live, who you are or what colour you are. And you certainly know nothing about me. What I'm responding to is your words, which are naive at best. It is Palestine that is being occupied here. Not the other way round.

      If you think I've manipulated what you've written then you have no sense of justice. I'm sure you'd be happy if the Palestinians would just STFU and endure genocide and exile, as long as you can have some peace.

      You can have peace, but you can have peace without justice.

  • John Keeley 17th Nov 2012

    The problem is the existence of a Jewish state.

    Just as people were disgusted by aparthied South Africa, so too we should all be appalled by Zionism.

    The setting up of the Zionist state was supported by the USA. But the US is getting weaker by the day. The money will not always be there to support the Jewish state. Just as the US dealt with Britain & France in the Suez crisis with financial blackmail, all it takes is for the rest of the world to stop using the dollar. In particular, the oil producing states such as Saudi Arabia to price their oil in some other way. This may not be a far off as many think.

  • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

    Pro-justice placard:
    "YOU take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bomb my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, BUT I am to blame: I shot a rocket back"

    Candace, you talk about aggression, peace and the fear you have about bombs falling you, but you have nothing to say about justice.

    How can you have peace without justice? Zionism is the injustice here. And it is an injustice far and away out of proportion to the rockets that occasionally land in Israel. You SHOULD have to worry about bombs falling on you. Until you and every other person living in Israel sees Zionism for what it is: an inhuman racist ideology that is leading the world to the brink.

    • Candace Moore 17th Nov 2012

      OK...let me see if I can get all your twisted logic from the past two comments straight. I wrote that "I don't want one side to be the MORE miserable marytr. I want us all to live" and this makes me genocidal. I spoke of looking at models of co-existance, and for advocating co-existance, I "should have to worry about bombs falling on [me]"? Do you have some kind of problem reading English? Is it your native language?
      Or are you actually so illogical that you belive that because I don't share exactly your viewpoint, I "SHOULD" die...if so there are plenty of militant groups you can join around where I live...but remember if you are good for your word; and you want to bomb me, I live in a mixed neighborhood; so it will be very hard not kill a bunch of Palestinians during your exercise in idiotic militarism...did you ever consider that when you said I "SHOULD" be bombed?

    • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

      When I see you write about justice for occupied Palestine I'll consider taking you serously.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 17th Nov 2012

    "You SHOULD have to worry about bombs falling on you." I beg your pardon, Christiaan? Maybe you would like to reconsider that rather horrendous statement.

    "Until you and every other person living in Israel sees Zionism for what it is..." Is this not another form of collective punishment you are advocating, precisely the kind of cruel and brutal injury of human rights we are criticising in the Israeli government's policies towards Gaza? (Please also note my use of the word GOVERNMENT.)

  • 17th Nov 2012

    At this point, Mark’s approach seems the most constructive and helpful.

  • Will Henry Lapinel 17th Nov 2012

    I happen to disagree with Candace's perspective as well; I think she is a victim of misinformation, but I respect her and I don't think she deserves to have subversive motives attributed to her simply because she sees things differently from the rest of the global left. We are all here to learn, grow, and most importantly build our understanding into the fabric of society. I'm sure there are plenty of us who still fall prey to one form of propaganda or another; let's not be nasty and alienating about it. That doesn't fix anything.

    Also, this blog about a single issue got 25 replies. My blog about an important organizational matter got 3. It would be nice if we could use this energy toward something positive, like, for example, weighing in on the proposed preconditions for a founding convention!

    http://www.iopsociety.org/united-states/california/san-diego/blog/founding-convention

  • Candace Moore 17th Nov 2012

    Mark, I wish your vision had a chance here and now. UNfortunately, I think that will have to be in the future. I would be willing, but it might actually backfire and hurt more people. Today I read a horrific story about a man acccused by Hamas of being a collaborator with Israel. Whether he was or not, who knows...he had no day in court; he was simply attacked brutally in front of children, and his body left on the street quite a while. So while I, and plenty of my neighborhood are going to a protest to demand a ceasefire in a few hours, our counterpart anti-militarists, are probably hiding in their houses.
    Even opening a parpolity group across the border might be suicidal.
    As a doctor I actually sometimes volunteer with a human rights organization to try and help refugees, including Palestinians. From experience I can tell you, the first problem of people in Gaza is Hamas. Sometimes Israel doesn't violate thier human rights, because Hamas gets there first and does it before them. You want a concrete example: when they need to cross the border for medical care, the first obstacle is a meeting with Hamas- which has the power to say they can't if they deem it to be some kind of risk to thier fundamentalist regime. And let's not forget we are talking about a regime that has genocide written right into it's charter.
    If the global left insists on it's condescending and racist view of the Gazans as TOTAL victims, it should at least acknowledge that there are several parties involved in making them such...

    • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

      "If the global left insists on it's condescending and racist view of the Gazans as TOTAL victims, it should at least acknowledge that there are several parties involved in making them such..."
      Oh FFS, I totally disagree with Will. I think you should go join the right. That's where you belong.

    • Mark Evans 18th Nov 2012

      Hi Candace and thanks for replying.

      Vision, by definition, is for the future. My point was that you and Alaa share that vision. Isn't that significant - or at least potentially significant if acted on by you and Alaa and others within your region who also share that vision?

      In your blog you call on "concerned global citizens [to] focus less on vilifying one side or the other, and more on how to make a solution happen."

      Once again I reply that I could not agree with you more - and again would like to highlight your shared vision as that possible solution.

      However in your reply to me you say that acting on this shared vision might actually "backfire" and may even be "suicidal".

      Just to be clear - are you saying that if you and Alaa created an IOPS project on the theme of a shared vision for Palestine / Israel on this site, for you to work together on and for others from your part of the world to join, would put you in danger?

      Maybe I am missing something but you and Alaa are already both members of IOPS so I dont see how creating a joint project together would increase any already existing danger you might be in...

  • 17th Nov 2012

    "The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel, it is not about achieving peace.

    "The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.

    "Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.

    "When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense." - Noam Chomsky

  • Verena Stresing 17th Nov 2012

    Thank you John! I am sure Noam would agree that you posted this.

    • 17th Nov 2012

      I hope you are right; it seemed like the most appropriate response to the preceding comment.

    • Verena Stresing 17th Nov 2012

      I am sure of it! As you can see, my own emotions ran away with me in the meantime...

  • Verena Stresing 17th Nov 2012

    I'll just repeat what I said on Alaa's blog:

    I just like to make this very clear: nobody should die in a war. Not on the Israeli side, not on the Palestinian side. No innocent child should die anywhere.
    And I very much agree with Mark that this is precisely what IOPS is all about: to work for a solution without vilifying one side or the other.

    However, one should also be very aware that right now what happens in the media is precisely the vilification of one side over the other. Just look at the mainstream corporate media and the vocabulary they use to describe the war. And this is the first thing that has to be overcome, so that we can proceed and work for a solution.

    I do feel for the victims on both sides. But it is also true that the people of Israel have a resonsibility to make it clear that they do not agree with the current policy of their government. And actually, there are many who do speak out.

    And I will add: we all have a responsibility to speak out, firstly against our own government and their failures - and believe me, I have enough negative things to say about my own. And the reason for this is that these are the governments whose decisions we can influence.

    But we also have to speak out about the injustices of other governments. And this does not mean equaling the people of a country with their government. But by what I've read in your blog, it seems to me that you are saying that, during Apartheid in South Africa, the only people who were allowed to speak out were the ones directly affected by it, but not the "Europeans". As if one needs to live in a certain place to understand what is really going on. Although I grant you this: it helps having been there, for sure. And I actually have been in Gaza two weeks ago, before the latest escalation began.
    Oct 18 - 25. During this time, (forgive me if the numbers are not 100% correct) at least 6-8 Gazans were killed and more than a dozen injured. These were not Hamas resistance fighters, these were overwhelmingly civilians, farmers, fishermen etc. We heard gunfire every single night from our hotel. The fishermen are systematically attacked when they try to earn their living. And this does NOT happen outside of the so called "security zone" the 3-mile zone, but a mile inside that zone.
    We also heard drones and F16 continuously cruising over our heads.
    During this week, NOTHING, absolutely nothing was reported about the deaths of civilians in Gaza in the main stream media.
    For Europeans, it looked as if the conflict had started indeed only three days ago. And I imagine it was pretty quiet during that week in Israel as well.

    I do not want to weigh the life of a child against the life of another child. And I abhorr war and wish nothing more than peace in the regon, just like you do. But it won't happe as long as we don't face the actual facts. So I repeat:

    Right now, this is not a "two-sided" conflict or a "tit-for-tat" bombing going on. As much as I mourn EVERY innocent civilian, the numbers are very clear: so far, (and I am taking this as latest data from Al Jazeera):
    39 Gazans have been killed and 345 wounded since Israel launched the aerial campaign on the Palestinian enclave on Wednesday.

    In the same period, three Israeli civilians have been killed.

  • martin faherty 17th Nov 2012

    Candace: RE: 'the first problem of people in Gaza is Hamas.' Your motivation and your politics are certainly going to be challenged when you repeat the most threadbare and mendacious of Israeli government lines. I find it very difficult to accept that anyone who had any real concern for or indeed awareness of the relentless DAILY abuse of the human rights of Palestinians under seemingly endless Israeli siege and occupation could write such a remark.

    you probably won't care for the analogy but I recall white south africans during the apartheid era and after telling me how noone understood South Africa who did not live there; Israelis told me the same when i did in fact live there in the mid 1990s.

    Of course the white south africans had never had to live in the black townships and although geographically closer to the suffering of their fellow human beings, they in fact had to make a much greater effort to overcome the ideology and colonial justifications which underpinned their dominant position in a wildly unjust system of apartheid. Those who did overcome this and acted against the state were as few as they were brave.

    Unfortunately, in these times, Israelis willing to stand up to the state are many when it comes to the price of cottage cheese and housing and very few when it comes to their states crimes in the occupied territories; Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall, Gidoen Levy and others like them show extraordinary courage and commitment in the face of vocal right wing hatred and deafening liberal silence.

    By way of context:

    There are NO Palestinian settlers on Israeli land,

    There are NOT thousands of Israelis rotting in Palestinian prisons without any due process,

    Israelis are not denied medecines and basic materials by the palestinians,

    Israelis do not have to undergo endless humiliating checkpoints manned by Palestinian soldiers.

    Israelis are not denied the right to travel or visit family by a Palestinian occupying authority.

    Israelis do not have their olive groves attacked by Palestinian settlers.

    and finally, just a thought...When were Israelis last confined to a densely populated area and not allowed flee whilst one of the worlds most powerful armies pulverised their city and eviscerated over three hundred children?

    In Gaza it was just three years ago and it seems likely it will happen again in the next 3 weeks.

    Saying 'i just want peace' is precisely what the israeli government says, yet it is clearly nonsense unless that is precluded by a desire for an end to the brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people.

    • Verena Stresing 18th Nov 2012

      Thanks for takig the Apartheid example. you said it much better than me!

  • Tom Morris 17th Nov 2012

    First of all solidarity to Alaa in what must be a horrific situation in Gaza, and also respect to Candace for arguing your point of view even though I mostly disagree with your stance.

    In my opinion, Israel is a colonial state that over several decades has seized land and resources previously belonging to Palestinians. It has done this through military force, backed up by US imperialism, which sees Israel as a key ally in a strategically important region. The Israeli state maintains its dominance over Palestine through routine violence, terror and collective punishment. The current assault is an escalation of policies that are carried out on a daily basis. Others have given many examples so I won’t go into more detail on this.

    Therefore to equate the violence of the Israeli state with the violence of Palestinian resistance fighters is a mistake. The violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed are not the same thing. Equating them leads to a utopian liberal attitude to the conflict – the ‘isn’t war nasty and why can’t we all just get along’ approach, which ignores the social, economic and political roots of the situation and therefore fails to provide meaningful solutions.

    So just appealing for peace between the two sides will neither end either the conflict nor remove the violent hold that the Israeli state has over the Palestinian territories. But we must also avoid a stance that is widespread on both the reformist and revolutionary Left: assuming that when it comes to imperialism ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.

    This line has led to some spectacular blunders over the years, with numerous leftists making excuses for, or even allying themselves with reactionary regimes in the name of opposing imperialism. Leftists ranging from social democratic governments to small Leninist sects have been guilty of this. The Workers’ Revolutionary Party’s support for (and probable funding from) Colonel Gaddafi, and Hugo Chavez’s alliance with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are just two examples.

    In regard to Palestine, this attitude takes the form of support for Palestinian nationalism and (often) apologism for Hamas. I was at a demonstration in Birmingham last night against the Israeli assault, and a large number of Palestinian flags were on show. I understand that people wave these flags out of solidarity with the victims of Israeli state violence, but suppose Palestinian nationalism did defeat the Israeli state – what would be the outcome? The Palestine that emerged would retain all the features of a hierarchical society that we oppose in IOPS – capitalist economic relations, sexism (especially if led by the theocrats of Hamas), authoritarianism etc.

    Perhaps this would be a lesser evil for Palestinians as the daily Israeli state terror would be over, but it would not lead to real freedom for most of the population – the main beneficiaries would be a new elite of capitalists and bureaucrats like the ones who rose to power in the post-colonial states after the successful struggles against European imperialism.

    Ultimately (as Mark pointed out), the solution to these problems is the struggle for a global self-managed society of the kind IOPS is committed to. As far as Palestine is concerned, this would obviously include a struggle against the oppression of the Israeli state, but not one that merely replaces one form of nationalism and capitalism with another. The struggle would be immensely strengthened by being part of an international movement for a new global society. This would include Palestinians building alliances with the Israeli working class and other exploited layers of Israeli society to help achieve this goal.

    In the short term this is a much more difficult approach than being cheerleaders for Palestinian nationalism like much of the Left. But in my view it is the only approach that in the long term can end both the military war of Israel against Palestine, and the ‘social war’ within these and other societies.

  • Christiaan B 17th Nov 2012

    More Palestinians were killed in Gaza yesterday than Israelis killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past 3 years: http://t.co/1X0gDi7r

  • Candace Moore 17th Nov 2012

    I don't know why people feel the need to write me as if I support human rights abuses. I myself have both nearly died in a terror attack, and been threatened for volunteering with human rights organizations. As someone who tries to support human rights I have the joy of being harrased, and sometimes threatened physically, by just about every side of this picture. Most recently, a right winger drove his car up me (and several other people demanding a ceasefire) and tried to punch me from the window. People who think I should be bombed, as one here wrote, are EXACLTY the same kind of people. Actually, they are worse, because they don't want to see my bruises, they want to see my complete death.
    It does make sense, in the sense that they will then have full ability to put words in my mouth. If you are going to post anything here, please do me a favor and READ what I actually wrote...otherwise, you only prove my point, which is that a lot of the left has a bizzare anti-semetic stance, demanding I be bombed, no matter what I do, and what I stand for.
    Is anyone capable of seeing the irony of the fact that I was calling for co-existance, and people told me they hope I die?

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    By calling for "co-existence" under Israel's terms without any mention of justice you're effectively calling for the final destruction of a people. And nobody told you they hoped you die. To be clear I hope you don't. But as long as Palestinians have to fear be bombed then so should Israelis. Sorry if some find a moral hazard in that statement but perhaps it incumbent on them to explain which language other than violence Israel understands?

    Like I said, when I see you write about justice for occupied Palestine I'll consider taking you serously.

  • Candace Moore 18th Nov 2012

    Christiaan B, what YOU said, and I qoute was "You SHOULD have to worry about bombs falling on you." As I, and any Palestinian could explain to you- that is very equivalant to wishing I die. As I said, it's a wonderfull scenario for you, because then you can continue putting words in my mouth, and attributing motives to me that I never had. Now, you will note, even the Palestinian poster here, did not write anything so suggestive of violence against me as you did- probably because she, like me, actually knows what it is to live through violence, airstrikes and bombings.
    In some very broad sense, if I was forced at gunpoint to make a guess about who's vision of co-existance, and the only options were Israeli of Gazan, I would want to live under, I would probably choose the collective Israeli one. That is based on my experience of living in a mixed neighborhood with very little violence for years. In fact the only murder that happened here anytime in recent memory was when an Arab girl moved in to the area, and started hanging out in my street's bars and dating around. A couple of her male relatives came into the neighborhood one day and killed her at gunpoint in a horrible scene people talk about to this very day.
    The whole point of my post was that we should not choose between slightly better versions of hell, but we should imagine a whole region where people co-exist without ever shooting each other.
    Overall, I would have to say that since you can't move past threatening violence, I'll just hope you stay far away from my neighborhood of the world.

    • Verena Stresing 18th Nov 2012

      Hi Candace,
      so how do you propose to actually arrive at a peaceful region where people co-exist? We all agree with you that this is the goal. But imagining it is not enough.
      What is your vision?
      What do you say about the "peace negotiations" that have been going on for decades now.
      What about the UN resolutions?
      What is you vision of co-existance? A two-state solution? What about the settlers, then? Should they be allowed to stay where they are?
      If not: how to you propose the Israeli government handle the situation?
      A one-state solution?
      I am guessing from your post that this is what you propose, but correct me if I'm wrong.
      What about justice (for whoever had been deprived of justice?)
      Who actually has been deprived of justice?
      What do you expect Palestinians to do?
      And more imortantly, what do you expect your own government to do?
      What about the rights of the civilian population? On both sides?

      Nobody doubts that you want peace and co-existance.
      That's what we all want.
      But how do we get there?
      And why didn't we get there yet?

    • Candace Moore 18th Nov 2012

      Important questions, I'll write awnsers to after I finish my workday at around 11pm tonight. I'm in the bussiness of saving lives, not erasing them...but broadly speaking, what I EXPECT governments to do is very different from what I would WANT them to do. It's really no surprise when governments have military and ex-military disporportionately represented, and are in fact military command. When you are a hammer, the whole world is a nail. I'm a stethoscope...and I'll write about the pulse I want to hear, but later.

    • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

      Your answer to all this is to "imagine" a better place?

    • Candace Moore 18th Nov 2012

      As YOU sit there asserting "the only language [I] understand is violence", I'm sitting here imagining a more peacefull world. Or perhaps, you could say I'm going to argue intellegently with your genocidal assertions, until you get bored to death- but thats about as violent as I'm going to get.

    • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

      In this imaginary world of yours would Palestinians have the right of return? Would they have the right to take back property and land that was stolen from? Would they have the right to vote out Zionism? Would they have the right to scrap Israel's law of return, which gives automatic citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent?

      Or, as I suspect, would they just have to live under Israel's Zionist terms as they do now in Haifa?

  • martin faherty 18th Nov 2012

    Ok 'Candace' it's taken a while but you've finally fully exposed your real motives in posting here, the line about the arab girl being murdered in your idyllic mixed neighbourhood was a step too far . Vague waffle about your concern for 'human rights' in response to posters asking whether you share their outrage regarding the very specific human rights abuses of the occupation simply won't wash.

    'If i had to choose' 'i'd choose the israeli vision of co-existance' .What utter rot, there is no Israeli vision of co-existance with the Palestinian people bar that they are moved into their cantons and do not dare resist, the Israeli vision of coexistance is raining down on the people of Gaza right now, they are cowering in terror, a captive population. Please dont repeat your utterly ridiculous attempts to suggest Israel is experiencing the same.

    You have now ticked every box in the israeli government line, 'we just want peace'/ 'we are a democratic human rights respecting democracy whilst they are uncivilised fanatics who kill little girls.'/ 'we are being bombed too'... the inferences that there is an anti-semitic element to peoples condemnation of Israeli crimes...Hasbara will not work here.

    Is their any number of dead, maimed and terrorised palestinian children that would cause you to refrain from this appalling attempt to defend the indefensible? You are relying on readers having complete ignorance of life in Israel,

    ' As i and any Palestinian could tell you' Your life as an Israeli in Haifa and that of the Palestinians coud not be further removed, and in using those words you are relying on readers having an almost total ignorance of Israeli society and even geography, given what is happening now that phrase is simply disgusting.

    i would urge all reading this (and you 'Candace') to follow Alaa's facebook updates on the sheer horror and terror she and her people are undergoing these days and to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

  • Verena Stresing 18th Nov 2012

    Hi Candace (and Christiaan)

    in answer to your last comment: yes, we all expect our government to do things, and we are disappointed when they don't.
    So what do you propose to cange that?

    I know what I do: I speak out. I demand change. I vote accordingly. I write articles and publish everywhere I can. And in the current case, I try to make people aware of the imbalance (and injustice) in news reporting. Which includes speaking out about how the latest escalation has started. From our article that has been posted in several languages and on many websites (although by now it is quite outdated)

    "Furthermore, articles that do mention the Palestinian casualties in Gaza consistently report that Israeli operations are in response to rockets from Gaza and to the injuring of Israeli soldiers. However, the chronology of events of the recent flare-up began on November 5, when an innocent, apparently mentally unfit, 20-year old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen, was shot when he wandered close to the border. Medics had to wait for six hours to be permitted to pick him up and they suspect that he may have died because of that delay.

    Then, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was killed by fire from the IDF that had moved into Gazan territory with tanks as well as helicopters. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 was therefore already part of a chain of events where Gazan civilians had been killed, and not the triggering event."

    http://rabble.ca/news/2012/11/nous-accusons-mainstream-media-fails-report-atrocities-gaza

    Reporting the facts is the first step to actually changing the situation. If you want to achieve peace and co-existance, you have to face the facts. And you have to face reality.
    And the reality is that there is suffering on the Israeli side. And then there is exponentially more suffering on the Palestinian side.

    And the responsibility for that lies where?
    Who is responsible for the policy of settlements?
    Who is in favor of a "two-state political settlement on the international border, the pre-June 1967 border, with minor and mutual modifications."
    And who voted against this international UN agreement every single time?
    If the answer is Israel (and the US), then why? And who can change that?

    So, again, wanting your government to do something, but then expecting them to do something different means that you don't in fact believe that things can change.
    If your government does things that you don't agree with, then who is responsible for changing this?

    So again, what is your vision? Open up the borders and just let's live together peacefully? Let's not talk again about the Paestinian's right to their own land? Let's forget about what has been done to them, how their rights have been violated, let's just forget about all that? Let's just look forward from here on?

    Seriously, what is your concrete vision of how we arrive at a solution?

    Oh, and, latest facts: 55 dead in Gaza. Mainly children, women and elderly persons.

    • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

      The very first thing we need to do is support the Palestinians in the choices they make. It is up to them as oppressed and occupied to decide how they want to achieve justice and peace.

      And that includes standing up for their right to choose a democratically elected government, no matter how much you dislike their choice.

  • Verena Stresing 18th Nov 2012

    I should have said: not only do I speak out, demand change, vote accordingly or write, I also engage in IOPS, which is all about implementing real solutions, now, and based on the reality we live in, not some utopian vision of the world.
    And that is precisely why IOPS is different (or so I hope).

    One of the main visions of IOPS is "to place a very high burden of proof on utilizing violence". Not only in the future, but right now.

  • Verena Stresing 18th Nov 2012

    and here is a list of names ofthe Palestinian dead so far:

    http://palestinefrommyeyes.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/gazaunderattack-names-and-ages-of-killed-people-who-fell-victim-during-the-past-ongoing-israeli-attacks-on-gaza/

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    It's worth reiterating again that Israel is the occupier. They are the aggressor. Not the other wsy round. What they're doing right now is a crime because the violence they're using is not a last resort. They only need to stop their criminal activity and pull back to the pre-67 borders and the rockets would stop. That's Hamas policy.

    And that's what pisses me off so much about Candace's piece. It glosses over these facts and presents this conflict as "aggression going in both directions". It's not, the Palestinians are using violence as a last resort against an aggressor, an occupier.

  • Verena Stresing 18th Nov 2012

    "When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense." - Noam Chomsky

    (I took that as a given...)

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    Indeed. And telling Palestinians to surrender meekly in the face of brutality is not an argument for peace. It's an argument in favour of brutality and overwhelming power.

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    I have a question for you Candace: what would it actually take before you'd be willing to vilify Israel? Or would you keep mum even if it wiped Palestine off the map?

  • Candace Moore 18th Nov 2012

    WUHU 30 minute break, so now in the name of efficiency i'll respond to many posts in one:

    christaan: well, in my imaginary world i don't make decisions for people i really don't understand, regardless of whether they are palesinian, arab, jewish, muslim or israeli or all of the above as some of my neighbors are. or perhaps, you can't imagine a world in which such people exist because YOU seem imagine we all are living in segregated ghettoes where people have no babies not the result of inbreeding. (if your wondering how people can be both jewish and muslim, i mean this in the sense that they have a jewish mother and muslim father...to play along with religeos nuts in the way they split imaginary hairs) i would guess you imagine, or better put have delusions of such world given given your assertion of supporting palestinians, yet hoping that i get bombed. now my most of neighbors here in haifa, i understand them, regardless of genetics.
    really, you seem to be the one telling people what to do here, not to mention what they think; ironic and sad for the party the least effected directly.
    what i can't understand is people like you who assert violence as a solution. let's take your own words "violence is the only language they[Israelis] understand." what if someone said that about the palestinians? would you then admit it was extremely racist, and even genocidal? or do you imagine i have some special semetic superpower that makes me immune to suffering from violence? and if not, is your asssertion that my own blood is worth less than that of someone else's depending upon whether they have jewish relatives? please tell me the awnsers to all these questions- i'd actually like to know.

    PS: i find it fascinating you even ask me about the horrifying possibility of wiping another people off the map; do you realize leaders in this area talk about wiping my people of the map? or is this an irony you are happily playing with given you want me to "have to fear bombing"?

    other guy: you don't need to put '' around me name. none of my friends use this name but it is in fact my first name- my parents chose it over my second name, so i wouldn't have to roam the world with an ethiopian jewish first name...a name that doesn't exactly evoke love from, hmmm, oh, i don't know...european descended men like yourself? just a guess about thier motives and your identity. seriosly now...are you asserting i'm making up an anglo name as opposed to a afro-semetic one to avoid racism? and if so, wouldn't you just be proving my point? my parents who named me are the ones who realized the racist realities of the world would effect me and did that. since you know so much about my motives, why do you pay attention to what i type at all? my neighborhood is "iddlyic" only in the sense that we all peacefully co-exist. we are poor (most rich people would not live in my neighborhood), annoyed, sick of traffic, sick of our national government- and oh yeah, did i mention REALLY SICK OF the never ending realities of violence and war? now i actually believe there is a strong connection of violence on all levels of society; so i think that it's worth thinking about the fact that an unfortunate bunch of my neighbors have the 'cultural tendancy' to believe shooting a woman who doesn't want to live under patriarchal control is acceptable. much in the same way, that i think we need to think about people useing physical violence to discipline thier children. perhaps it's my medical training, but i feel violence is more like an infectious disease with systemic consequences than an idea so abstract i wish it on whoever i don't agree with politically as some people here do. I think you, should stop assuming you understand so much about me- because it shuts down dialog rather than helping it. Why dialog? Well, what I don't think is that there is any solution to the problem that involves more violence, unlike certain posters who replied to me. Why is my first hand observation, speaking out against violence "over the line" and the assertions that I should be bombed perfectly acceptable? Can you understand why you come off as exactly the kind of anti-semetic nut case who lives in the left I'm writing against? Do you think I have some kind of semetic superpower as well, a superpower that makes me immune to noticing when one of my neighbors gets shot, as well as being immune to all personal suffering of violence? Seriosly...because when you criticize my call for peace on this padde, and don't criticize people who suggest I get bombed on this page, it certainly reads that way to me. If you truly think that way, the BDS movement isn't your club...perhaps you would fit in better with some select group of neo-nazis; though I suspect you WILL have a hard time to convince them of just how awesome the palestinian people are. on second though, maybe you should go to BDS, and just form an elite group focused solely on claiming jews should have fewer rights than anyone else....I'm sure they would not really mind, which is exactly the kind of thing that tends to bother me.


    V : THANK YOU...you are one of the people here who isn't putting words into my mouth, and telling me what I think, regardless of what I actually think. Ultimately, I think the present governments on all sides are nearly unredeamable. I lack thier sense of grandiosity, which allows them to assert they have great solutions for us. Broadly speaking: what do I think of what's gone on in the past? Bad to say the least. One state, two states? Personally, I think it's MUCH more important what these states look like: whether we live in a secure and just peace, or we keep up this militarized insanity...though to tell the truth I have argued for a three or more state solution in the past (where secular people such as myself separate from religeous people ) if I hadn't just wasted so much energy responding to people who are being deeply uncivil here in spite of living at least one ocean away, I might have more energy to type further about this....but I'm exhausted, so in three hours I will sleep, unless there is a bomb siren.

    All: sorry all, my semetic superpowers do not give me the ability to spend my whole break typing or to live without sleep...in fact the only semetic superpowers i seem to posses at this point, especially after being told about my supposed similarity to white south africans, as a black living in a mixed neighborhood in haifa working ( in the medical chain of command at least ) for an arab boss getting told what i supposedly think, are sarcasm....along with my uncanny ability to non-violently argue until the other side is bored to death. and yes, nearly ALL my neighbors here have these powers and abilities. whether they choose them, or thier weapons....

    V: perhaps if these kinds of things interest you, and you know, or want to know, a lot about the area, then you might be very skilled to support your governement doing more diplomatically...watching two governments both partially controlled by armed religeos fudamentalists try to negotiate, is somewhat like watching people argue over the color of an invisible g-d.....i guess diplomacy may be like marraige: it ultimately fails on some level for most people, yet we optimists want to keep trying...and trying..and trying....only because trying violence over and over is even less effective, and far more awfull. at the same time, governments can never be the awnser, or the whole awnser...and at the end of the day at a theoretical BEST they reflect the will of the majority of thier citiizens (who they tend to undereducate in terms of everything except being obedient)....in most cases i don't even believe that level of democracy happens.

    As I am looking or solutions ( in spite of getting hate mail here) I have to notice the criminal class finds a way to co-exist no matter how extreme or religeous or well, CRIMINAL they are. A few hours south of here near contested areas of jerusalem, religous men can't agree on much- except the price of weed and hookers. No, I am not joking. My sarcasm superpower is actually makeing me point out something rather interesting. The one place these people seem to peacefully co-exist is whorehouses, and drug sale points. They do this not because of the government, which should and would want to see these activities gone, but in spite of it. I think that is something worth noting.

    • martin faherty 20th Nov 2012

      Perhaps i should have emphasised more that Israel's Hasbara or 'explaining' campaign, specifically the engagement of many ordinary (left and right wing) israelis in an online campaign to counter 'anti-israel propaganda'is at the root of my challenging your motivations, a full explanation (with some supporting evidence) is provided in my comment further down.

      You take our outrage at Israeli state actions and empathy for the people of Gaza and distort that (rather childishly) to imply that we are variously anti-semitic, misogynist and genocidal, therefore to express outrage and anger at the Israeli state and those who support or tacitly condones their states murderous actions cannot be real, it must be anti-semitism, indeed of genocidal proportions,

      A while back outrage over the invasion of Iraq was 'anti-americanism'. To be against the war was to support Saddam hussein, just as my supporting the rights of the Palestinians means to you that i support Hamas.

      more below...

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    All that waffle and still no answers. Let's try again: In this imaginary world of yours would Palestinians have the right of return? Would they have the right to take back property and land that was stolen from? Would they have the right to vote out Zionism? Would they have the right to scrap Israel's law of return, which gives automatic citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent?

    Or, as I suspect, would they just have to live under Israel's Zionist terms as they do now in Haifa?

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    Did you see Gilad Sharon's piece today calling on Israel to "flatten all of Gaza" and take inspiration from the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

  • Christiaan B 18th Nov 2012

    And would you like to see a map of Palestine and Israel over thd past few decades to remind yourself how Israel is doing exactly that: wiping Palestine off the map?

    • Candace Moore 19th Nov 2012

      I've seen all sorts of historically innaccurate maps floating around the internet. My partner has a graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, and used to work in a group called Shalom Achshav (Peace NOW.) Part of the work of this group, as well as the human rights group I volunteer with, is recording the realities of our angry politicized real estate squables. I would simply say my partner's name; but then you might write him as nastily as you write me. I bring him up, because given that we BOTH speak the local languages, and have academic level access to historical documents...I'm pretty sure I could tell you more about the area and maps than you could tell me. I do after all live here unlike you. For someone who said they don't take me seriosly you seem to write me rather profusely.
      What is your stake in this area? Do you live here? Or are you just reminiscing back to the days that this place was a British colony, and us locals didn't speak up too much? Seriosly...I may get get bored to death of your inability to infer even the most basic ideas soon. So for example, when I sarcastically write that I imagine a world where I don't make decisions for people I don't understand...to put that rather simply for you: LET DEMOCRACY DECIDE...but a democracy in which I am not cowering fearing bombs, as you hope I will be.

    • Christiaan B 19th Nov 2012

      Finally, some substance. I'll assume by democracy then that you mean Zionism and the Jewish state are dismantled and Palestinian refuges have right of return. You can't have a real democracy without these things in place.

      If that's the case then we agree on the ideal outcome.

      How the world gets there is the question (the stakes are high for the entire world, not just Palestinians and Israelis; this could all easily lead to a world war). And the onus is on Israel as the occupying power. Palestinian government policy is a long term truce based on the '67 borders. That could be a stepping stone to a one state democracy. The ball is squarely in Israel's court.

      I think it's wrong and shameful to suggest "the aggression is going in both directions" and I think you should rescind this comment. There's a huge difference between using violence as a last resort in self-defence to fight off an occupying power and using overwhelming violence as a occupying power to subjugate another people.

  • Rod 18th Nov 2012

    Hi Candace, just wanted to say thanks for staying on despite receiving some nasty personal attacks. I hope you're not scared away by these comments and will stick with IOPS some more.

    I have issues with parts of your post and subsequent comments but I think you mean well. My issues have mostly been covered by others and I also don't think that it's very helpful to have an extensive debate right now, so I'm not going to go further into that.

    I think right now the focus should be on getting a ceasefire as soon as possible and to show solidarity with the people suffering (on both sides).

    • Candace Moore 19th Nov 2012

      Well, actually I AM scared away. I think in spite of the well meaning intentions of such a place, it seems some individuals want to fall to the level of reproducing morally bankrupt old hierarchies (examples: men over women, europeans over locals), instead of actually trying to learn and have dialog. When you acually live near rocket fire, having someone tell you they hope you have to worry about being bombed as your building lacks a bomb shelter is not only nasty, but suspiciosly arrogant for someone probably living in Europe. I do not think it would be right to accuse the men here who want me attacked of sexism, as I don't know them...but I think they would do well to learn how to communicate. It does seem possibly sexist when a man tells me that writing about my experience with a woman get shot in my neighborhood is 'over the line,' wheras a man telling me he hopes about as much happens to me is just so A-OK it deserves no comment. If people really want to encourage diversity on this site, then I would suggest we don't let such nonsense go unchallenged.
      One of the main points of what I was trying to communicate was that a lot of leftists are complete hipocrits when they think about my area. The same people who would launch into some bizzare apologetics to try to excuse honor killings- a phenomenon I see here EXCLUSIVELY in certain Arab populations; expect our population- many of whom are refugees or descendants of them from the surrounding countries, therefore carrying a very similar cultural background- to act as willing victims of terror as opposed to the omnipotent masterminds they incorrectly imagine them to be.
      And conversely they seem to imagine certain Palestinians to be blameless victims who would otherwise have been living thier vision of some sort of tribal bucolic fantasy. This vision is many things, not only historically innacurate , but triumphantly racist towards both Jews and Palestinians. Is it a coincidence this vision seems to be spouted by so many Europeans who's own states, until recently, controlled not only Palestine, but pretty much lots of the area? I don't know...could be or not.
      We are all capable of reacting emotionally. I certainly did when I saw the blood libel cartoon starting off a post about what is happening in Gaza. I just don't see how it would start productive dialog about a specifc confrontation of less than a week, in a local conflict of less than a century, to bring up a nasty anti-semetic myth over 1000 years old from Europe. I don't think that was even neccisarily the intention of the person who posted it...but I was, among other things, trying to add my persective. In the future, I don't think I'll bother if people are going to be this uncivil about it. Especially if it is people who would seem to have an extremely limited stake in the situation in the first place.

  • Lambert Meertens 19th Nov 2012

    I agree; several reactions were inappropriate and some were totally and shamefully over the top, amounting more to bullying and shouting a discussant down than to contributing (rational or emotional) arguments to the conversation. I did find the initial posting insensitive, but there are better ways of pointing that out than what we saw. I think Tom Morris, above, did it best.

    What is being inflicted on the people in Gaza is a horrible outrage and should, nay must, raise powerful feelings, including anger, among everyone who has a core of humanity. But that is not an excuse for the bullying we saw here.

    Candace, like Roderick above, I hope that you will keep contributing to the discussion.

  • Christiaan B 19th Nov 2012

    What is shameful is the suggestion that Palestinians are somehow equally to blame for all the violence. That their resort to violence as a defence against occupation is somehow equivalent to that of the brutal Israeli occupation.

    Perspective people.

  • Lambert Meertens 19th Nov 2012

    The pain and sorrow of a mother over a child that has been killed is not more or less when the mother is an Israeli citizen or a resident of the Gaza Strip. In either case it is unfathomable. And killing children cannot be justified as "defence", regardless of who does it. There are two sides in this conflict, sides that do not respect boundaries: humanity versus inhumanity.

    • Christiaan B 20th Nov 2012

      There are two sides but there is one side that can stop the cycle and refuses to. It refuses to because it wants to win by conquest. For that single fact they are responsible for the killing of children on both sides.

    • Lambert Meertens 20th Nov 2012

      I agree that inhumanity does not want to stop the cycle. But I think only humanity can stop it, and I hope it will be strong enough to do so.

    • Christiaan B 20th Nov 2012

      Gideon Levy:
      “I want to be proud of my country,” he says. “I am an Israeli patriot. I want us to do the right thing.” So this requires him to point out that Palestinian violence is – in truth – much more limited than Israeli violence, and usually a reaction to it. “The first twenty years of the occupation passed quietly, and we did not lift a finger to end it. Instead, under cover of the quiet, we built the enormous, criminal settlement enterprise,” where Palestinian land is seized by Jewish religious fundamentalists who claim it was given to them by God. Only then – after a long period of theft, and after their attempts at peaceful resistance were met with brutal violence - did the Palestinians become violent themselves. “What would happen if the Palestinians had not fired Qassams [the rockets shot at Southern Israel, including civilian towns]? Would Israel have lifted the economic siege? Nonsense. If the Gazans were sitting quietly, as Israel expects them to do, their case would disappear from the agenda. Nobody would give any thought to the fate of the people of Gaza if they had not behaved violently.”

      He unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians, but adds: “The Qassams have a context. They are almost always fired after an IDF assassination operation, and there have been many of these.” Yet the Israeli attitude is that “we are allowed to bomb anything we want but they are not allowed to launch Qassams.” It is a view summarised by Haim Ramon, the justice minister at time of Second Lebanon War: “We are allowed to destroy everything.”

  • martin faherty 20th Nov 2012

    The reason for my inverted comments around your name Candace has to do with the Israeli State's Hasbara campaign. This is the Israeli State's extensive 'public diplomacy' policy which involves engaging ordinary members of the Israeli public in order to challenge 'anti-Israel propaganda'; here is an excerpt of the Wikipedia entry on the topic;

    "The Israel Citizens Information Council (ICIC) says its purpose is "to assist efforts to explain Israeli life from the vantage point of the average Israeli citizen. Towards that end, the ICIC enlists Israelis from all walks of life to participate in its various projects ...Some hasbara experts study methods used by Palestinian activists and offer advice on how to respond. ... They draw attention to the subtle differences of meaning between words such as demonstration and riot, terror organization and Palestinian political organization. They advise against name calling and point scoring".

    Many readers may not be, but as an Israeli, you will be aware that an important part of this vast campaign involves encouraging ordinary Israeli citizens to engage in social media, write blogs, engage in political discussion forums etc. in order to counter 'anti-Israel' bias. Indeed If you have an academic background you will be aware that one of the only two Israeli university courses in Hasbara is in Haifa, i link to an article trumpeting its initiation below.

    Hasbara is of course merely a euphemism for propaganda, propaganda creates mistrust , the more widely used - the greater the mistrust. If you find people questioning your motives offensive i would be fascinated to know what you think of the Hasbara campaign which encourages people to do exactly what you have done, i.e. ostensibly offer the Israeli perspective from an ordinary persons point of view. Do you feel it is a useful tool or do you feel it creates mistrust and leads to honestly motivated people such as yourself having their motivation questioned unjustly and assumed to be part of a broad based state propaganda campaign?

    Many online Hasbara activists as with some left wing, use pseudonyms, i wrote my comment in a hurry but the intent with the inverted comments was to suggest that your motivation for joining this group and blogging was driven by your commitment to countering 'anti- Israel propaganda' as a Hasbara activist and not by your commitment to this organisation. If i was wrong i apologise but my suspicions, in the context of the Hasbara campaign were far from unreasonaable. As you have persisted in refusing to acknowledge the difference between occupied and occupier, colonised and coloniser throughout your postings, your political position appears to me, firstly incongruous but furthremore given the current situation in Gaza, i and others find it crass, insensitive and offensive, exactly what you are accusing myself and others of being.

    I link to an article on the Haifa Uni Hasbara Course below, Eli Avraham a senior lecturer at the Uni's communications department says "the course... teaches students how to ... write balanced, factual blog entries, and challenge anti-Israel views in chat rooms and forums."

    the full article is available here.
    http://www.cjnews.com/campus/haifa-u-course-teaches-web-hasbara-strategies

    Finally where is the anti-semitism? Why would an anti-semite live in Tel Aviv in the 1990s and work as a landscape gardner in Savyon (my boss was a former security guard for settlers in Hebron)?

    For the record, I and virtually every palestinian solidarity activist i have met think Hamas are a disaster for the Palestinian people but to suggest as you and the Israeli Government do that they, like Arafat before them, are the principal problem of the Palestinians and to suggest this as your army pulverises a captive, destitute population is in my view simply sick. Shouting 'anti-semite' and 'nazi' doesn't even shock any more, Israeli apologists bandying around such terms demeans and debases the memories of the victims of anti-semitism, the irony, which is of course not lost but wilfully ignored is that the most vocal and active Palestine activists are very often Jewish themselves.





    • Verena Stresing 21st Nov 2012

      "For the record, I and virtually every palestinian solidarity activist i have met think Hamas are a disaster for the Palestinian people"

      Count me, my 8 traveling compagnons and Chomsky in on that one. And virtually EVERY Palestinian activist we met there in a week. I mean those who live in Palestine and work for NGO's there...

  • Christiaan B 20th Nov 2012

    A must read: Gideon Levy, Israel's dissident journalist:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/is-gideon-levy-the-most-hated-man-in-israel-or-just-the-most-heroic-2087909.html

  • martin faherty 20th Nov 2012

    From Todays Haaretz newspaper:
    "Long before the cabinet authorized the Israel Defense Forces to call up 75,000 reserve troops, masses had already flocked to the flag. High-schoolers, students, good Jews from the Diaspora, all heeded the call of the Electronic Hasbara Force to engage in public diplomacy and have been serving ever since in virtual Iron Dome batteries and the trenches of the social networks. They’re busy intercepting every..."

  • LedSuit ' 20th Nov 2012

    Rather apt article so thought I'd put in full. Thanksn Martinfor pointing out existence of Hasbara.

    Israel's 'Right To Self-Defense' - A Tremendous Propaganda Victory

    November 20, 2012

    By Amira Hass
    Source: Haaretz

    Amira Hass's ZSpace Page
    One of Israel's tremendous propaganda victories is that it has been accepted as a victim of the Palestinians, both in the view of the Israeli public and that of Western leaders who hasten to speak of Israel's right to defend itself. The propaganda is so effective that only the Palestinian rockets at the south of Israel, and now at Tel Aviv, are counted in the round of hostilities. The rockets, or damage to the holiest of holies - a military jeep - are always seen as a starting point, and together with the terrifying siren, as if taken from a World War II movie, build the meta-narrative of the victim entitled to defend itself.

    Every day, indeed every moment, this meta-narrative allows Israel to add another link to the chain of dispossession of a nation as old as the state itself, while at the same time managing to hide the fact that one continuous thread runs from the 1948 refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, the early 1950s expulsion of Bedouin from the Negev desert, the current expulsion of Bedouin from the Jordan Valley, ranches for Jews in the Negev, discrimination in budgets in Israel, and shooting at Gazan fishermen to keep them from earning a respectable living. Millions of such continuous threads link 1948 to the present. They are the fabric of life for the Palestinian nation, as divided as it may be in isolated pockets. They are the fabric of life of Palestinian citizens of Israel and of those who live in their lands of exile.

    But these threads are not the entire fabric of life. The resistance to the threads that we, the Israelis, endlessly spin is also part of the fabric of life for Palestinians. The word resistance has been debased to mean the very masculine competition of whose missile will explode furthest away (a competition among Palestinian organizations, and between them and the established Israeli army ). It does not invalidate the fact that, in essence, resistance to the injustice inherent in Israeli domination is an inseparable part of life for each and every Palestinian.

    The foreign and international development ministries in the West and in the United States knowingly collaborate with the mendacious representation of Israel as victim, if only because every week they receive reports from their representatives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip about yet another link of dispossession and oppression that Israel has added to the chain, or because their own taxpayers' money make up for some of the humanitarian disasters, large and small, inflicted by Israel.

    On November 8, two days before the attack on the holiest of holies - soldiers in a military jeep - they could have read about IDF soldiers killing 13-year old Ahmad Abu Daqqa, who was playing soccer with his friends in the village of Abassan, east of Khan Yunis. The soldiers were 1.5 kilometers from the kids, inside the Gaza Strip area, busy with "exposing" (a whitewashed word for destroying ) agricultural land. So why shouldn't the count of aggression start with a child? On November 10, after the attack on the jeep, the IDF killed another four civilians, aged 16 to 19.

    Wallowing in ignorance

    Leaders of the West could have known that, before the IDF's exercise last week in the Jordan Valley, dozens of Bedouin families were told to evacuate their homes. How extraordinary that IDF training always occurs where Bedouin live, not Israeli settlers, and that it constitutes a reason to expel them. Another reason. Another expulsion. The leaders of the West could also have known, based on the full-color, chrome-paper reports their countries finance, that since the beginning of 2012, Israel has destroyed 569 Palestinian buildings and structures, including wells and 178 residences. In all, 1,014 people were affected by those demolitions.

    We haven't heard masses of Tel Aviv and southern residents warning the stewards of the state about the ramifications of this destruction on the civilian population. The Israelis cheerfully wallow in their ignorance. This information and other similar facts are available and accessible to anyone who's really interested. But Israelis choose not to know. This willed ignorance is a foundation stone in the building of Israel's sense of victimization. But ignorance is ignorance: The fact that Israelis don't want to know what they are doing as an occupying power doesn't negate their deeds or Palestinian resistance.

    In 1993, the Palestinians gave Israel a gift, a golden opportunity to cut the threads tying 1948 to the present, to abandon the country's characteristics of colonial dispossession, and together plan a different future for the two peoples in the region. The Palestinian generation that accepted the Oslo Accords (full of traps laid by smart Israeli lawyers ) is the generation that got to know a multifaceted, even normal, Israeli society because the 1967 occupation allowed it (for the purpose of supplying cheap labor ) almost full freedom of movement. The Palestinians agreed to a settlement based on their minimum demands. One of the pillars of these minimum demands was treating the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a single territorial entity.

    But once the implementation of Oslo started, Israel systematically did everything it could to make the Gaza Strip into a separate, disconnected entity, as part of Israel's insistence on maintaining the threads of 1948 and extending them. Since the rise of Hamas, it has done everything to back up the impression Hamas prefers - that the Gaza Strip is a separate political entity where there is no occupation. If that is so, why not look at things as follows: As a separate political entity, any incursion into Gazan territory is an infringement of its sovereignty, and Israel does this all the time. Does the government of the state of Gaza not have the right to respond, to deter, or at least the masculine right - a twin of the IDF's masculine right - to scare the Israelis just as Israel scares the Palestinians?

    But Gaza is not a state. Gaza is under Israeli occupation, despite all the verbal acrobatics of both Hamas and Israel. The Palestinians who live there are part of a people whose DNA contains resistance to oppression.

    In the West Bank, Palestinian activists try to develop a type of resistance different from the masculine, armed resistance. But the IDF puts down all popular resistance with zeal and resolve. We haven't heard of residents of Tel Aviv and the south complaining about the balance of deterrence the IDF is building against the civilian Palestinian population.

    And so Israel again provides reasons for more young Palestinians, for whom Israel is an abnormal society of army and settlers, to conclude that the only rational resistance is spilled blood and counter-terrorizing. And so every Israeli link of oppression and all Israeli disregard of the oppression's existence drags us further down the slope of masculine competition.

  • Candace Moore 22nd Nov 2012

    The revolution will not be photographed…
    “OH NO!!! Don’t put that anywhere! I look awful” I said, bleary eyed and sleepy, I could still look at my new friend’s camera phone and realize I looked BAD. “It’s OK to have messy hair. We are having a revolution here!” said my friend. “Good point, ok, maybe your Facebook page…”
    So went the banter as I and a team of mostly communists postered Haifa in posters in Hebrew and Arabic with a very simple message. “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” Eventually I worked up the courage to ask one guy why he spoke both Hebrew and Arabic without accents. The question is very loaded with everything I sometimes hate: identity. A Jew born in Iraq speaks Arabic as a mother tongue and Hebrew with a supposed “accent” when compared with his Ashkenazi counterparts. A Druze who goes to school with Jews her whole life will speak better Hebrew than Arabic. Someone like me will speak both languages with a clear accent. When you ask someone about their accent, so much is revealed about their ethnicity, social class, background and ultimately identity.
    “Why do I speak Hebrew and Arabic both without accent? I grew up here, in Haifa.” he answered. That was all I needed to know. I didn’t particularly care if he was a Mizrachi Jew, an Arab Christian or any other of the many ethnicities that make up the fabric of daily life in Haifa. I just wanted to know how I can get rid of my own accents.
    As we hung posters at some point I stopped for a photo- op with a prominent Muslim Arab lawyer doing the same. It was the ultimate inside joke for me as a doctor. I see no problem with Jews and Arabs getting along…but lawyers? I LET him live as he was the son of the head of anesthesiology at the local hospital.
    I wonder what is happening a 6 hours from here with another anesthesiologist. I am always horrified to see Dr. Ramhi in the press. Here is a man who was an anesthesiologist, who like me went through over a decade of higher education to save lives. Here is a man who could in fact probably save thousands of lives…and instead this conflict has reduced him to ordering death by rockets on civilians. This one small tragedy is symbolic of the whole situation in my eyes. People who could be doing something productive are instead at best wasting their time, and at worse wasting the lives of their neighbors.
    Some days ago I posted a post about how I wish the whole region looked life Haifa. Since then I have had everything from people accusing me of being a propagandist to calling me a victim of propaganda, and wishing me worse. No matter what I write, given some simple mathematics (I need to work my real job, advocate for peace, and have a life) I will not be able to respond to every reply, as there are many readers, and me, one very tired writer with a different real job.
    Still, I stand by my vision that any solution that is meaningful in this region will ultimately have to come from inside of it, not from foreign intervention. I still assert my home in the broad sense (the region), could look like my street, my neighborhood, and my city Haifa. Not everyone has to share my vision of humans getting along peacefully …but I’m not sure how pleasant places like Syria, are for anyone. Even as I write that I am sure someone will misinterpret it as me slurring the Arab world for it’s militarism. So let me write it more simply: give our peaceful ways up here in Haifa a chance.