Tag Archives: terrorism

The Middle East Inversion

10 Nov

Last Saturday’s new episode of Doctor Who, now featuring the 12th incarnation of the lone and loved Timelord, drove a bulldozer from the last demolished Palestinian home right through my chest. If you live in a peaceful, stable nation that merely exports weapons to less stable nations and cashes in on the death and destruction they sow, you may have seen just another profound speech by a fictional TV icon, on a fictional war.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

When you live in Israel, or across the fence, the wall, the checkpost, you have seen your people and those on the other side. You’ve seen youngsters throwing rocks and firebombs at soldiers and settlers, and you’ve seen soldiers shoot those kids, you’ve seen settlers attacking soldiers for failing to shoot and kill those kids, you’ve seen those kids’ parents drive into a crowd or stab a passer-by. You’ve seen bulldozers razing the homes of a terrorist’s family – not the terrorist’s home – and you’ve seen crowds shouting for bloody revenge.
And if you’re not completely jaded to what’s happening all around you, a bus ride from your doorstep at most, it hurt. It hurt having the Doctor pointing at you, your people, your government, your friend with that army-issued rifle or that home-made firebomb. Your cousin who takes the order to bulldoze the home of a terrorist’s mother, when nowhere else in the civilized world, family would be punished for their kin’s deeds. Your brother driving that borrowed car into a flock of children.

But while you may know those who do the deed – the Israeli soldiers, settlers, bulldozer drivers, the Palestinian stabbers, bombers, road ragers – you never know who they’ll hit. Does it feel right to know it’s none on your side? Or do you just feel numb, knowing at least you won’t be mourning anyone, for now? Is it not being someone from your side, good enough to sleep at night, knowing a person you know, is destroying a family who is also a person someone knows, someone loves?

Truth: You don’t know who the next Naftali Frenkel or Muhammad Abu Khdeir is going to be. You don’t know. But someone is going to die at someone else’s hand.

Consequence: This will never bring us peace. This will never free Palestine, this will never give the Jewish people a rest. You can’t expect people not to retaliate against perceived wrongs, much less when those wrongs precede a funeral. The consequence will be more death, and if one of yours has killed one of theirs, then one of yours will die. It will always be this way unless someone starts forgiving.

Two days ago, I was shopping cat food at my pet shop. The staff and I were having pizza and a laugh when the new girl got a call. There was some agitated talk in Russian, and I was just going to do an impression of angry Russian speech, when she hung up, and, staring blankly ahead, said: “My friend died.” The 20-year-old border guard, Binyamin Yakobowitz, who looks like 14 in Haaretz’s article, had been the “someone I know” of “someone I know”. You may just cringe, make a sad face, even feel a stab in your chest when you read names of casualties on your side, but you don’t know them, so you mourn them as you would Heath Ledger. Somehow you keep telling yourself: it’s never gonna be anyone I know. Yes, my friend at the pet shop told herself the same, I’m sure. Most Palestinians, those who hate Israelis, but abhorr violence, don’t want youths going out to attack soldiers or civilians, they hate hearing someone from their neighborhood has committed an attack. Not just because they know someone who isn’t the perpetrator, will suffer for the actions of the latter, but also because they might one day find themselves too close to the Israeli retaliation squad. However, they reall start internalizing how bad these attacks are, when it’s their own flesh and blood who eats retaliation. They, like us, tell themselves it’s never them, always the others. It’s always the others’ fault, and it’s always the others’ losses.

No.

We are all the others. And we never know who’ll be mourning whom next. But what we all must internalise, is that the mourning will continue, and one day hit too close for comfort, unless either of us, any of us, stop making others mourn.

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No lessons learned.

24 Jul

Some people claim to have learned lessons from the missile attacks on Israel, such as all of this being mere antisemitism and a repetition of the Third Reich. The same people probably also very carefully select their history books and happily buy into one-sided narratives that suit their comfort zone.

Personally, I like to leave my comfort zone and question things that sound too easy, such as “It’s all those Muslims’ fault, Israel is totally innocent”. Rarely can such long-lasting conflicts be blamed on one side making all the mistakes. Scrap that – never. So I left my comfort zone. I got sick. I cried. I raged. Then I calmed down and resumed leaving my comfort zone further and further behind.
Those who know me, know I refuse to view things in black and white, especially things as large as the Middle East conflict. I mean, I used to. But as a meritocrat and passionate intellectual and academic, I cannot breathe when I am not learning and feeding my mind facts. 

One such fact-feeding endeavor was when I started feeling weird about calling my land grandfather, Naeim Giladi, a senile traitor. I never met the men. I never listened to the man’s interviews or read his articles. All I knew about him, were statements from my parents about him having hated Israel. That made it simple for me.
But then I remembered my mother hates big dogs – and I love them! Have I ever dismissed my mother’s feelings in favor of my own? I mean, other than when I bought that Akita without asking her first… Wait a second! My mother hand been the victim of a horrific attack by a big dog, and witnessed another big dog kill a child on accident, by the mere force of its leap. While it may be wrong to hate all big dogs now, her hatred is not something that can be dismissed as the manifestation of an evil person’s black heart.

Now, there were two kinds of Israel haters I also wanted to examine more closely: my grandfather, and a big portion of Palestinians. I buy the blanket hatred against Israel as little as I bought Israel’s consistently pointing the finger at others anymore. Because both attitudes are wrong.
I found most answers in my grandfather’s book; a large portion of its content can be researched and confirmed by anyone who wishes to do so. 
Now, we can line up a few very simple facts to begin with – facts not exclusively found in Naeim’s book.
1. Israel was not built on deserted land; people have been living there – and not only Jews.
2. Palestine as a nation state may never have existed, but the land had indeed been referred to as Palestine and both local Jews and non-Jewish Arabs called Palestinians.
3. There is no Evil Gene in Muslims or Arabs that makes them born anti-semitic. Political views and religious beliefs are taught. Always. Sometimes by the object of the hatred.

Looking at these facts, anyone with an open mind and average intelligence or above, should feel a question nagging at them: if the land had been inhabited by people previously to the establishment of the state of Israel, where had they gone, and why did they leave? And why do Arabs appear to hate Israel? 

The Quran says nothing about Jews needing to die. Many Israel lobbyists actually use the Quran to discredit radical Islamists, saying that the Quran itself approves of Jews. However, the very same lobbyists now lose their argument against Muslims: well obviously, they don’t hate us because their religion tells them to!
In a propaganda video, an Israel lobbyist remarks that Arabs started attacking Jews in 1947. Why not earlier? Why then? Did a new mind control virus that only Arabs are susceptible to, break out in the Middle East? No. There was no Hitler Aids epidemic. A much different disease broke out that year: white supremacy. 1947 was the year that the state of Israel started to be built, by white Jews handed the land by white British to do with as they pleased.
Now, wait a minute! What are the British doing assigning and reassigning land that isn’t really theirs? Oh, wait, he’ve had this before. South Africa for example, where white people invaded the land, grabbed it, and shooed all the native black people into slums. And we also had this in america, where white people invaded the land, grabbed it, butchered the Natives, and had black slaves build them (the whites) something cozy. 

In other words, God didn’t give us Israel unless the Brits are his angels. Now, answer me honestly with “Yes” or “No” when I ask you if the native people of a land can be reasonably expected to surrender their homes and leave just because a bunch of foreigners are holding a holy book in one hand and a gun in the other, saying “God wants me to live here, now fuck off or I’ll make you”?
Because, see, it’s not really relevant whether the Palestinian Muslims were kicked out or herded into today’s Gaza Strip and the Best Wank after having fought and lost an armed struggle, or whether they had been helplessly beaten there every step of the way. Unless you are their landlord and they stopped paying the rent, you are never right to see people out of their homes, much less expect them to “get over it”.

This is also why the argument of the Palestinian Muslims having been offered such and such strip of land by Israel, is invalid. You can’t throw me out of my home and into a much crappier place, and then expect me to forgive you by offering me some bumblefuck place in the middle of nowhere. The scorn of being offered a consolation prize by the one who attacked and robbed me for no good reason, should be apparent even to the thickest among you.

See, before the state of Israel was established, Muslims did not hate Jews. Both groups were well respected by the other, and coexisted just fine. Muslims also would not have minded Israel being established on truly vacant land. But you sort of need to understand their feeling of resentment when Jews who aren’t even from around here – European, Russian, american, Soviet – Jews come and build their cities over the forcefully vacated houses of the Muslim inhabitants of that land.

My grandfather came to hate Israel after having loved and nearly died for it. Such a change of heart doesn’t happen over night and is not a decision one takes consciously. It is something that happens when enough is enough. In the beginning, my grandfather had been enthusiastic about the idea of a Jewish state. He helped smuggle Jews out of Iraq so they could start a new life in Israel. He went to death row for this endeavor. 
Sadly, he soon found out that not only was that state built at the expense of a large part of the land’s inhabitants, the pogroms he and other Arab Jews fled to Israel from, had also largely been staged or deliberately provoked by Israel’s founders themselves in an effort to populate Israel with Jews as quickly and as massively as possible. And when the Arab Jews arrived, they found that this land was built and run by white people who needed the Arab Jews mostly to replace the cheap labor force that the Muslim Arabs would have been, had they not been paid or forced to leave their homeland because Muslims weren’t quite the right kind of population for a Jewish state. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Naeim Giladi gave Israel the finger and left.

 

Fast-forward to the 21. century.

Hamas is throwing rockets at, and Best Wankers are slitting throats of, Jewish Israelis. Now, while I know many simpletons haunt the net including this blog, I must ask you not to misread me: I do not defend the attacks on civilians. I consider the Itamar massacre, the missiles upon Israel, the murder of the three Jewish boys, as horrible a violent crime, as any. And I have no patience for violent criminals whatsoever. Be it a punch, a rape, or a massacre, I hate violent criminals.
However 1.
Strangely, mere suspects in the triple murder had had their houses bulldozed by Israel, which brutally arrested hundreds in the search for the killers. Now, when a Jew murders an Arab Muslim, Israel proceeds a lot more gently. Gag orders on identities even after confessions were made, the option to plead insanity, and obviously, no relatives of the suspect/convict having their homes destroyed. Why this difference in procedure? Why handle Muslims more roughly than Jews, for the same kind of crime? 40s america, anyone? Yes, I’ll just say it right here: Israel is treating its so-called citizens like america treated black people back then, with that very same attitude that turns “blacks” into “niggers”. Yes, as long as these Palestinians are under Israel’s thumb, they are its citizens. And Palestinian Authority or not, they are under Israel’s thumb or else Israel couldn’t just barge in as convenient, and arrest people and bulldoze their homes. The PA is a strawman, a joke, a comforter to silence those who say that Israel is robbing the Palestinian Arabs of their sovereignty. Israel still holds most power over the territories, whatever anyone may call them.

However 2.
The claim that Israel left Gaza for peace… If Israel can continue to carry out target assassinations and control what goes in and out of Gaza, and even switch off their electricity, Israel is not “out of Gaza”. It is so far up Gaza’s ass that Gaza is shitting Osem.
Ah, yes, Osem, another interesting point. Israel prides itself in delivering food and electricity to Gaza. Are prisons proud to say that their inmates receive the bare minimum required to survive? Not really, prisons rarely start bragging at any degree below offering continuing education and ways to re-establish oneself after release. Except, other than the terrorists there, Gaza is not just a cesspool of criminals and hence should not serve as a prison – there are normal people there whose only reason to hate Israel is to be caught in the middle of a fight they didn’t ask for.
Now you’ll ask a very valid question: “Why then, do they support Hamas?” Because Hamas still gives them more compassion than Israel does. Hamas may be evil, but when one side makes you poor, keeps you cooped up in slums, and makes sure you live a pointless life, and the other side gives or promises you purpose (even if through death), yet happens to be evil, well..? Consider that the Gazans consist of many generations of living and dying with the same pointlessness, and getting the same undignified treatment from Israel, and the same rhethoric from Hamas. There is no new fresh generation of hope there, only a repetition of not so ancient history. 

Also consider that nobody is born suicidal or commits suicide easily. No matter what our beliefs, survival instinct stops most of us from crossing certain lines. Suicide bombings or endangering one’s life by firing missiles or otherwise directly attacking Israel, are not part of Islam, and are contrary to our supreme survival instincts. Please, by all means, DO doubt that these terrorists kill themselves with any more ease than do other broken-hearted people in a last-ditch attempt to either end their own misery, or pave the way to a better future for their loved ones (no matter how wrong they may be to expect that to come out of their deeds). Suicide is always an act of despair. Muslims are no different. Muslims do not lack survival instinct, they do not have a kill-yourself-plus-infidels gene.

And food isn’t all people need to live a life that is too good to be wasted on hatred and terrorism. People need quality water. Reliable power. New clothes, decent health care/services, construction/renovation materials, decent schools and colleges, recreation. Israel mustn’t pride itself in throwing the Gazans a few tons of Osem. Would you praise a junkyard owner for throwing his chained dog low-quality kibble and water, while denying the animal all the other things it needs to live a dignified version of its one and only fleeting life, and beating it whenever it misbehaves as a result? Well, the Gazans are that dog. 

Fact: Gazans are born into a futile existence. There are no career paths there, no academic institutions, no airports to leave for a better life. They are born like hamsters in a pet shop, to either be eaten by their cage mates due to overpopulation and stress, or be bought by thoughtless adults as playthings for their children. Even if Hamas were funding education and prosperity for all their citizens, there would be no point to it. There is no getting out of Gaza. So Hamas investing in picking up the place, would merely result in the cage getting a golden paint job.  

So how can you be surprised that they tolerate or even support Hamas, knowing full well that Hamas endangers their lives as much as Israel renders them futile? At least, Hamas promises them that their deaths will have purpose, while Israel makes sure that their lives do not.

After you’ve let that sink in – or so I hope – I’m sure you’ll understand the following: today, especially among young people who haven’t lived through enough history yet, a lot of the anti-Israel sentiment among Muslims and pro-Palestinians may have transformed into blanket antisemitism. Many may not know exactly what they are protesting or defending, and many may simply use the plight of the Palestinians as an excuse for racism. 
However. The source of the hostility of Palestinians towards Jews, is not religiously or ethnically motivated. No matter what today’s generation may explain their feelings with, the conflict started because people were made homeless and empoverished for the sake of the Jewish state. For the sake of the Jewish state, its previous indigenous inhabitants have been split into two groups according to their religion and ancestry: Jews were declared citizens and Muslims were declared fuck-them. And now the Israel lobby is one-sidedly blaming them for the conflict, hiding behind pathetic, half-assed “outreach” and “offers” to pretend that they have, indeed, tried solving the conflict. However, you simply cannot expect people to stop hating you just because you offer them a bandaid for the shotgun wound you put in them when you took over their home.

Now, you are probably going to say I am one-sidedly blaming Israel. Well, not really. The land grab was initiated by the British, and Jews just happily took what they were offered – as would anyone. However, what Jews then proceeded to do, is unjustifiable. But so is terrorism, such as dumping missiles on civilians. However, it’s the only thing a desperate people such as the Gazans know how to do anymore to move Israel in any way. Israel is so strong and dominant that force seems the only way to still so much as scratch us. While Israel has a right and a duty to defend its citizens, haven’t we seen enough of these wars to know that they are no solution? 
If Hamas is destroyed, other terrorist factions will emerge. 
The only ways to end the hostility are to either eradicate all of Gaza so no potential attacker is left, and that’s genocide… 
Or for Israel to replace Hamas as the bringer of hope and purpose. And this would require Israel to stop treating the Gazans like chained junkyard dogs. It would require Israel to lift the blockade after a long and tolerant probation period during which the people of Gaza would be receiving more than food. Decent health care, rebuilding efforts, and humanity. There is simply no way there will be peace if Israel continues to treat Gazans and West Bank Arabs the way it does now. There is no way there will be peace if Israel continues to treat Jews and non-Jewish Arabs differently, even within “Israeli mainland”. You can simply not reasonably expect Hamas to pack up and leave one day and take all the other militants with them. Not as long as Israel keeps treating Arabs like less-than-human beings, and that is exactly what Israel does every time a Jew gets away with saying “Death to Arabs” while boycotts are staged when an Arab says something similar about Jews. And it is exactly what Israel does when it bulldozes the homes of the suspects in the murder of Jews, yet gives maximum humanity and legal protection to the Jewish murderers of Arabs. It is exactly what Israel does when it coops up a bunch of Arabs in a place where there is no real future, and then bombs them disproportionately for doing what a caged animal does: bite.

Had the roles been reversed, had Jews been the people surrounding a tiny strip of Palestine, forcefully grabbed by foreign Muslim invaders who threw out the Jews, would you sit by idly? Would you accept the situation? This is, again, a very simple Yes/No question. Few things in life are this simple, so rejoyce as you answer!

Drip drip boom

11 Jul

Drip drip boom
The rhythm of the region
Drip drip boom
The song of God’s Chosen People 
The chant of Allah’s Chosen Men

Drip, hatred seeps into your home
Drip, hatred creeps into your heart
While it sleeps.
Boom, in the morning it awakens
Sirens blaring, walls are shaking

Drip, three sons, one dying breath
Drip, a young boy burned to death
Blood freezes in their mothers’ hearts
Boom it breaks, blood spills from scars
Another mother soon joins in

Drip, one more green uniform falls
A flower reported, painful calls
Drip, one more green headband dies,
A martyr reported, streets echo with cries
A warrior’s blood, it drips on dirt
It drips unheard
Boom, a mother’s heart has ears

Drip, all mothers’ hearts bleed the same
For Eyal, Mohammed, for the losers of this game
Boom goes the mutual retribution
To make sure the others, too, remain in pain.

Drip goes the conscience after dark
Drip goes the sight that “the others”, in their eyes,
Boom – are us.

Is rape not bad enough?

27 Jun

The case is reported on here:

Rape victim asks State to recognize crime as terror act

 and

Tel Aviv rape: Palestinian arrested near crime scene

In all fairness to the victim, I hope this is not going through. While I am absolutely in favor of public executions for rapists and even those who enabled them, and while I think 20 years aren’t enough, as long as Benny Jaber wasn’t screaming “Allahu akhbar!”, this is not an act of terrorism. Prove his intentions qualify as such, and I’ll shut up.

If her request is granted, she will be considered a victim of a terror attack, thereby eligible to disability benefits by the Defense Ministry.

I’m sorry, but this is ludicrous. Yes, every rape victim, no, every victim of any form and degree of violent crime, should get the maximum support. But disability benefits for rape victims who are not suffering from Aids or permanent injury sustained during the rape? I sympathize, I do. I’ve known sexual abuse myself. But I’m sick of rape victims wallowing and indulging in their self-pity to a point where they use this as an excuse to depend on benefits. I had a friend once who tells everyone of how she got raped, and she does so with a winner’s smile. Well, she did win. She is now able to get disability benefits in addition to unemployment, so she gets to sit at home all day dressing up her daughter, or getting her nails done. She pretends she would like to work and be part of society, but “I can’t, because since the rape I can’t be around people anymore, it’s too distressing”. So why can she go to crowded restaurants, parties, pubs, clubs, etc. just fine and why has she got no problem cheating on her boyfriend with 4 members of his family? I thought she can’t be around people? Or is this only the case when it isn’t fun?

Rape victims should get all the therapy and support they need as long as they need it. But while they are not responsible for what happened to them, they are partially responsible for how they decide to deal with it. They can wallow and languish, but they can also get their act together. I’ve personally been through all kinds of traumatic experiences, not only sexually. I’ve known the horrific fear of incarceration in a foreign country with a brutal jail system, with nobody telling me why or how long for. So what? This was 3 years ago; why should I mooch unemployment and disability now?

I’m sorry, but the way she expresses herself – “He murdered my soul” – is way too poetic to be sincere. When you’re truly in shock, you blurt, you don’t write deep poetry.

It’s as if rape in itself, isn’t horrific enough. No, escalate to its recognition as terrorism. This girl’s behavior is a punch to the gut of every victim of actual acts of terrorism, and every victim of rape. “Yeah, I was raped, but honestly, there’s nothing to gain from that. I think I’m gonna throw in terrorism, too so I can get better benefits”.

But while this attitude offends me, something else deeply worries me. If her request goes through and they proceed to label this as an act of terrorism without any proof that this was indeed the motive behind the deed, this will have tremendous repercussions for all Israeli Arabs and/or Palestinians. Israeli Arabs are, as it is, in a similar position as African Americans: accuse them, and they’re arrested. Suspect them, and people will believe you.
If this girl gets her way, where will it end? If Benny Jaber did not indeed mean to commit an antisemitic hate crime, he is a regular rapist. Doesn’t that make him enough of a subhuman scumbag? If his being Palestinian and the victim being Jewish, is enough to call his crime an act of terrorism, then somewhere down the line, every crime or offense committed by an Arab against a Jew, may go down the same road. Some Arab stealing a candy bar from a Jewish store, may find himself accused of terrorism and handled accordingly. An Arab pulling out of a parking space and accidentally making a dent in a Jew’s car, may find himself fucked and done for terrorism; all it takes is a good argument and the Arab’s inability to prove that it was an accident.

In the long run, this would mean that every single Arab in Israel would have to be scared of being seen as a potential terrorist or indicted as such. And since most Israeli Arabs are no better or no worse people than Israeli Jews, one has to wonder whether this one girl’s comfort is worth such a price.

I wish the victim healing, and that she gets the support she qualifies for. I wish death upon Benny Jaber as I do upon any rapist. And I wish people could stop escalating the situation between Jews and Arabs on purpose.