Mad in Israel

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Solution For The Gaza Blockade

Here is my solution for Gaza. Since we, the Israelis, are in the eyes of the world the evil prison wardens, hoping to starve the population into submission, I suggest to hand the administration of Gaza's external borders over to the world. Not the whole world of course, because that would mean the UN, and the UN has yet to prove effective in administrating any border in this region (ask me about this one, if you wonder what I mean...). Not Egypt, of course, as they already share one border with Gaza and have supported the blockade nicely for the last couple of years.

No, the real expert for how to deal with Gaza, the humanitarian crisis and the Hamas is the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who has publicly cursed Israel for the "massacres" during the Gaza War of 2008 and the "humanitarian flotilla attack". So, here we have an expert on dealing with radical Palestinians, who also knows how to keep his own problem in form of the PKK in check, in cooperation with the Iranians and without the oh-so-busy-with-Israel world opinion even noticing.

Therefore I suggest to open the Gaza strip, both the harbour and the airport, under the condition that Turkish customs officers police the border crossings. I am sure they will know better how to bring everything in, except for missiles, mortars, TNT and other goodies that really don't help that much with the humanitarian crisis.

If you promise to keep me and my family alive, Mr. Erdogan, I am willing to give you the Gaza strip. How's that for a deal?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Israeli Army Saving Lifes in Haiti

Israeli Jews saving Christians out of the ruins of Port-au-Prince. The army has dispatched over 200 soldiers from a medical home front unit, who have set up a field hospital with 50 beds in a socker stadium. The BBC (not exactly pro Israeli any other day) called the hospital the "Rolce-Royce" under the field hospitals and praised the Israeli search and rescue team as "the only team that knows what it is doing". Fresh wind from London?

Where are the search and rescue teams from Hezbollah, Hamas, The Muslim Brotherhood, The Islamic Jihad? Not fair? Okay, then let's think about Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Sudan (and North Korea)?

The obvious answer is: Islamic fundamentalists couldn't care less about 100,000 dead Christians. Actually, they are probably celebrating ("God is punishing the infidels"). The really crazy thing is that even many fundamentalist Christians are using God as an explanation for the Earth Quake ("They used condoms, that place is full of homosexuals, ...."). And the Jews that died over there were punished for driving on Shabbat. Yeah, sure. What a world - FUBAR (remember that one?).

I wondered how Turkey would respond to the desaster. To my relief and satsifaction there are Turkish search and rescue teams in Haiti. Maybe there is a reason deeper than cold strategic interests for Turkey being the only muslim ally of Israel?

Read Christopher Hitchens in Slate about the religious abuse of natural desaster over centuries. Nothing has changed, people.

And in any case, you can make a humanistic donation void of a missionary agenda here:
Non-Believers Giving Aid: a religion-free way to help disaster victims.

Atheists donated $50,000 in the first 24h after the quake via Richard Dawkins' initiative. That is the power of the web, paired with human compassion. No religious dillusion necessary to help your fellow humans, it seems.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time for peace now, is it? Or why Abbas will make me rich and dead.

Well, it is always a good time for peace out here, but is this a realistic time for peace? The peace talk these days is very much like the talk about the imminent release of Gilad Shalit from captivity in Gaza. Every other week we read that this time it is only a question of days, maybe weeks, and just five disputed names on the Hamas list of prisoners to be exchanged for Gilad. And stupid us, every time we again believe it and get excited. Every time a little bit less, to be sure, but still, one must not loose hope, right? Poor Shalit family.

So today we read in the Haaretz that Abbas can make peace, finally, if we just stop building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for six months. Independent of the fact that in my opinion we should stop to build in the West Bank for six years, or better yet, for ever, this new line is really pissing me off.

What is it with these people? Once more the Palestinians are blundering a chance for peace, and by all accounts maybe the last one for a long time to come. Netanyahu has been resized to human proportions by the American pressure (thank you, Mr. President, but still, you should not have accepted that Nobel Prize, at least not the one for Peace. Economy, maybe. Okay, that was just a joke for my follower(s) over at the Fox news), with some European assistance, and maybe, just maybe, a bad conscience for that freak show of a government he has assembled. Actually, his only way to fame is either a) a war with Iran, or b) peace with the Palestinians. I hope for the latter, but I have my money on the first.

So here we have Netanyahu, a solid right winger by any standard, sending the feared and fearless Border Police into the most extreme settlements to enforce a building freeze all over the West Bank, and what has Abbas to say? Not good enough, Jonathan, try harder.

While the building freeze is popular with the secular (still) majority, few members of which have voted for the Likud, it is hugely unpopular among the religious of all sorts - a central pillar in the coalition. In other words, this policy is not sustainable unless it brings a tangible benefit very soon.

Now, the hard core religious elements in the coalition will not consider serious negotiations with the Palestinians about a two state solution a tangible benefit, and may actually try to topple the government if there was a chance of those negotiations succeeding. However, in that case the Labor rebels, Kadima and Meretz would either join the government or support it from the benches, and once again a right wing prime minister was the one to make a peace agreement with an arch enemy.

I don't know what Abbas's reason for not picking up the ball is, but I have a suspicion. It seems to me that a short term tactical achievement is more important than the strategic goal of achieving statehood. This was the case in the final collapse of every serious peace initiative so far. If the Palestinians were a person one would say this guy has some nasty self-destructive tendencies and needs to see a shrink, soon.

So here is what is going to happen. Before Abbas wakes up Netanyahu's attempt will collapse under the pressure from his right wing religious coalition partners. The government will find a good reason why the negotiations are off the agenda - a few more Quassams fired from Gaza and we will be there. Abbas goes into retirement and a third intifada breaks out, terror attacks, suicide bombers, you know the drill. Now Netanyahu is really back to where he left off during his last tenure as prime minister, which is not generally considered a great success, to put it mildly. And this is when I get rich - remember the Iran option. Rich and dead, possibly.

But it doesn't have to end this way. Among the Palestinians there are reasonable voices, like Ray Hanania, the founder of Yalla Peace ( Ray has announced his candidacy for the office of the Palestinian President. Yes, he has. Whatever I'll have made from the Iran option, I won't bet on Ray for President. A) He is actually an American Palestinian, married to a Jew. So much for popular support on the streets of Ramallah. And B) he is just way too reasonable and balanced. His proposal for a two state solution is more or less what will be the outcome of serious final status negotiations, should there ever be any. We know it, they know it, but we can't just agree on the reasonable thing now, can we. As Abbas put the negotiations with Olmert (from the article linked to the headline):

"The next day, we started talking about maps. Olmert showed me one map and I brought back one of ours. He showed me a new map and I brought back a map of ours. And so it went. We agreed that 1.9 percent would be with you and Olmert demanded 6.5 percent. It was a negotiation, we didn't complete it. As a shopper enters a store, that's how we held the talks."

It is the Middle East here, after all. I have a proposal for Ray: Since you are married to a Jew, you can get the Israeli citizenship if you both immigrate to Israel. And then you can run for office in Israel. I'd say your chances here are somewhat better than over there and you can keep the platform as it is.

If we are still here after that war with Iran we may need every creative mind we can get...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Swedish Joke....

Here is one that describes the kind of objective journalism covering events in Israel, especially but not only in Sweden...

An Israeli on vacation in Stockholm sees a crazy dog attacking a small, freightened girl. He orders his cab driver to stop, jumps out of the cab, struggles with the dog and kills it in the end. Bystanders call the local newspaper and a journalist arrives within minutes at the scene, where the bloodied Israeli is still holding the shivering girl. After inquiring what exactly happened the journalist tells the Israeli: "Wow, what a story! You are a hero! The headline will be "Swede saves girl from attack dog." Replies the Israeli: "But I am not Swede!" "Of course, what was I thinking, why would you speak English, and with that funny accent. Okay, so we'll write "European saves little girl from attack dog - how's that?"" Whispers the Israeli: "Well, better, but I am also not a European." "So what are you?" "Israeli." The journalist makes an astonished face, looks at the little girl, turns around and walks away without a word.

The headline the next day reads "Crazy Israeli kills loved pet of little Swedish girl".

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Taliban in the IDF

Without anybody noticing, the Taliban have arrived at the Israeli Defense Forces (click on the title to read the Haaretz article). They masquerade as Rabbis and abuse the public trust into the IDF's rabbinate in order to educate Israeli soldiers to behave like Taliban, Hamas or Hezbollah warriors. "Show no mercy to the cruel" sounds a lot like "show no mercy to the infidels" to me, in my humble opinion.

The only thing that separates us and them now is that common Israeli soldiers subjected to that kind of teachings came forward and reported the intellectual garbage to the press, for all of us to read and get goose bumps. Free minds and a free press are the only thing standing between us and the final abyss.

Still there are islands of reason and common sense left, but where is all of that leading us? If Rabbi Ronzki will still be the Chief Rabbi of the IDF in a couple of months from now, it is time to pack up and move to Afghanistan, I'd say. At least the property prices there are a lot more reasonable.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Israeli Humanity - Does it Exist?

These days a lot is being said and written about the Israeli war machine killing innocent children with Israelis showing no remorse. Israelis have been called the "New Nazis" and the war in Gaza has been marked as the new Holocaust. 

Holocaust? You must be out of your mind to write such bullshit. 6 Million Jews perished in an industrial killing machine. We would need to fight the war in Gaza 6,000 times over in order to reach that kind of magnitude, and even then there is a difference between victims of war and exterminated people because of what they were.

But that is not what I wanted to tell you today. I want to give the human perspective of the war, which is not being reported in the media at all, and I wonder why that is.

A relative of mine came to visit from the US the other day and developed symptoms of a heart attack a day after the flight. She was admitted to Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv and remained under observation for a couple of days. She shared her room with one other Israeli woman and a woman from Gaza, as quite many patients do these days. We have heard about children being transferred to Israeli hospitals, but this story is different. The woman from Gaza suffers from a head and neck cancer, which had been treated in Gaza for years and finally had reached a stage where the doctors there gave up and send her home to die. That was shortly before the start of the war. A few days later Israeli troops reached her neighbourhood and her husband was brave enough to go out and ask the Israeli medic of the unit operating near his house for help. The medic called the units surgeon, who checked the woman and told the family that without treatment she would die very soon, but that he knows that surgery could be performed at Ichilov hospital. If they agreed he would try to arrange for a transfer. They agreed and the woman was evacuated in an Israeli army ambulance under Hamas fire to the Gaza border, where she was picked up by a civilian ambulance. She was operated on shortly after and was recovering from the surgery when my relative was admitted. 

You see, that is the real face of Israeli humanity. Yes, there is war, and yes, innocent people die in wars, but Israelis don't fight the war in order to exterminate the Palestinians. They fight to defend their country and their way of life from maniac terrorist who have managed to take 1 million Gazans hostage.

As for the Nazis, the only surgery they performed on Jews was either experimental or aimed to sterilize young women, so they would have a longer productive phase in slave labor before going to the gas chamber. 

If you still need to compare modern Jews to Nazis your are either totally ignorant or plain stupid.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Response to Mr. Bishara (Al Jazeera)

Marwan Bishara is a senior political analyst for the Al Jazeera English network and has published an opinion piece about Israel's motivation to go to war in Gaza in the International Herald Tribune of December 30, 2008. I sent the following reponse, which this time did not get published, so I do it here.

Experiencing democracy and observing it are not the same. Mr. Bishara's writing about Israeli motivation to go to war against the Hamas proves him to be an observer only, like the overwhelming majority of his Middle Eastern compatriots. When Israel's political leaders bow to overwhelming public pressure and come to the help of the Israeli citizens in the south, they finally do what they are supposed to do: Listen to their people first and the international community second, and there is nothing cynical about it. Being a democratic country at the very core, Israel also did not punish the Gazans for electing Hamas, as Mr. Bishra believes. Many Israelis even hoped that the new strongmen would fulfill agreements, once negotiated, more reliably than the chronically defaulting Palestinian Authority. Gazans started to suffer the siege once Israel tried economic sanctions against the continued rocket fire, before finally resorting to an all-out war against the terrorists-turned-rulers-remained-terrorists.
The most serious misunderstanding however is the question why Israel choose to go to war in the end. Just like the second Lebanon war did not start because of two abducted soldiers, the Gaza war did not start because one Israeli prisoner and a few rockets fired since the end of the cease fire, as Arab and most European media consistently claim in order to condemn the disproportionate use of force. Both wars started because the Israeli population living near the borders having been subjected to random rocket fire for years, which turned hundreds of thousands of lives into nightmares and the entire city of Sderot into a ghost town. One week of targeted strikes seem a very proportionate response for years and years of indiscriminate terror when you live in Sderot or Kiriat Shmona.
If Hamas' agenda was to create a state in Gaza and the West Bank, all they had to do was nothing. When Hamas took power in Gaza Israel was already set to withdraw from most of the West Bank as well. But pre-state sponsored terrorism proved the true agenda - the destruction of Israel, never hidden from those who wanted to know. Terror turned Israeli public opinion against concessions and delayed the creation of a Palestinian state once again for indefinite time, like several times before. The truly cynical outcome of the Palestinian's first experiment with democracy is to be left with two governments, one irrational and one incompetent, both being incapable of fulfilling their national dreams alongside Israel.