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Palestinians versus Israel – Israel versus Gaza – and the beat goes on

Having recently moved from Israel back to the United States, and considering a return soon, recent fireworks events in the area are drawing my eye.

Few blogs were available writing about the subject during our five year stay in Israel during the Intifada, especially those with an “inside” perspective on either side. Now blogging is everywhere and everyone is blogging, so I thought I’d quickly collect some interesting blogs covering the potentially explosive situation in Gaza to help you follow what is, is not, or might, or even might not really be going on. Remember, much of what goes on between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the rest of the world and the Middle East is made up of assumption, lies, propaganda, feigning, dancing, tug-of-war, reality, and BS.

When the recent Intifada started, I went to the experts: taxi drivers. These are folks who sit in their cars listening to the radio and news all day, reading the newspapers and in key positions to have conversations with all types of people with all types of opinions on all types of subjects, so they speak well of what they know. I got this same explanation for the start of riots and aggression in 2000 from several taxi drivers.

“Why is Arafat letting this happen when peace is at hand?”

“Let me tell you. It all began with Abraham – “

“Oh, excuse me. You must have misunderstood me. I said Ar-ah-FAT not A-brah-ham.”

“No, no, no, no. You don’t understand! It all began with Abraham. Abraham had two wives…”

I think you see the problem. The battle between who is right and who is wrong in the Middle East is more complex to understand than just who is right and who is wrong. It goes back for eons. The people who have lived there for millennium, under constant attack and control by outside forces who want, for one reason or another, to control the area, have long learned that rebellion doesn’t come from democratic means. How can it when the ruling force rules lives and the tribal community controls individuals, and freedom of opinion, as well as thought, is almost non-existent?

Rebellion comes from being a thorn in the side of whoever is in charge. The Palestinians are the thorn in the side of Israel. Arab groups and Jewish groups were the thorns in the side of the British. A variety of Arab and Jewish factions, sometimes working together, were thorns in the side of the Ottoman Empire that arrogantly thought they had crushed all resistance within their extensive borders. Romans, Greeks, French, Christians, just pick a governing force from the history and you will find resistance cells poking and prodding at the controlling occupiers in the Middle East. Remember, history repeats itself.

Middle East “natives” haven’t ruled much of their own land for more than a couple hundred years in all of the last 5,000 or more years. As we’ve seen in Afghanistan and Iraq, it takes a lot more than a conquering force to overthrow a government and establish self-rule for their people. It takes generations to train people towards understanding and acceptance of the responsibilities of self-rule and democracy. Many feel they can’t cope. They want the occupiers out, but little is done to prepare them for self-rule when the occupiers leave. Living in Spain years ago, just after the death of Franco and his dictatorship, and the return of Spain to a more socialistic monarchy, I heard from the young about how exciting and terrifying the new freedom was, but from the old, I heard about how the Spanish people could not live with such freedom of choice and responsibility. “We are too strong and violent a people. We must have a government that controls us, that suppresses our fiery character.” Thirty years later and a lot of work, Spain is doing pretty well with their self-ruling government, even with their thorns. There is hope, but it comes at a price. The society must be willing to pay that price because the goal is bigger than the arguments for and against.

This is a very complicated issue and no one is right, no one is wrong, and everyone is right and everyone is wrong. And people who think they have little or no influence over what the “governments” are doing with their lives get hurt in the process.

Who is Blogging About Israel, Gaza, and the Palestinians?

There are plenty of news sources on Israel and Gaza news. You know where to find those. I’m going to concentrate on bloggers covering the topic more in depth rather than just those commenting on current events.

The interesting part of reading blogs on the current issues in Israel and Gaza are not just the blogger’s commentaries. It’s the comments, which makes reading Blogger blogs and others which list comments on pages separated from the main post a pain. The comments are often much more interesting than the posts, showcasing the various opinions pro and con, as well as showing how much or (more often) how little people understand about the situation as a whole.

The first site I go to when there are “situations” in the Middle East is not really a blog, though I think of it as a blog. , also known as DebkaNews, DebkaNet, and other variations, has been “blogging” about the situations and news in the Middle East for many years. Their stories come from a variety of sources, and are presented in a news/newsletter format similar to a newspaper but more like a blog as the articles tend to mix facts with editorial content as it analyzes the events. While Debka sides with Israel, they are also the first to take Israel to task when they are screwing up. While their content appears questionable and more “rag news” than factual journalism on the surface, during the Iraqi War and other recent events in the Middle East, we were able to get more solid information and “facts” from Debka on “The Situation” faster and clearer than any other news medium.

Here on , Innocent Bystanders reports that they are a group of “commenters” not bloggers:

It is now being used by various contributors – who know each other from commenting at various blogs – to post random comments. We are not bloggers; we are commenters.

Their recent “comments” on , CNN Video on Gaza Situation, and They’re In seems to gather information right now on the situation between Israel and Gaza. Their information comes from a variety of sources and they are fast to post, so it’s interesting to see the news there before I’ve been able to find it elsewhere. Their commentary is also enlightening, though confusing as they appear to side with Israel, calling the Palestinians “Pali”, while offering up a fair amount of news on the Palestinian side.

A Mother From Gaza is a blog about “raising my son Yousuf in the occupied Gaza Strip while working as a journalist”. Laila El-Haddad is a Muslim mother and journalist writing in English on her blog. She covers the current situation from a new perspective as she has now moved to the United States but still reports on the action at home:

Israeli F-16s bombed Gaza’s main bridge, right next to my father’s farm, between northern and southern Gaza. They have also destroyed Gaza’s ONLY power plant, and electricity in most of Gaza has been cut off as a result. I’ve just spoken to my grandmother in Khan Yunis, who confirmed the entire Strip has plunged into darkness, with people stocking up on food and supplies. The electricity of course has also been cut off in hospitals and clinics, though I’m not sure how long the generators can last.

Israellycool, a blog about an Australian Israeli, offers Operation Summer Rains, a step-by-step time table of reports of IDF action in Gaza.

Before dawn today, IDF tanks and troops went into Gaza. Their mission is clear: to secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit…According to an army source, the aim is to secure his release by placing pressure on the palestinians to the point that they will decide to release Gilad…On the other hand, I get the feeling that directly rescuing him is also an option. This might be garnered from the IDF’s actions until now.

Pajamas Media is keeping a running log of blogs and news on the Israel and Gaza situation, worth of investigating.

Here are some other blogs tackling the subject from different perspectives and angles:

I’m still traveling, so these are just a few of the blogs I found. Have you found any that highlight the situation, on one side or the other, that helps you understand what is going on and why? We all know how to find the news, but what about the blogs. Share with us your favorite blogs that help you understand the situation between Israel, Gaza, and the Palestinians.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

7 Comments

  1. Posted June 29, 2006 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Lorelle: Thanks for your link to Tikun Olam. I welcome the attention you’ve focussed on this terribly tragic situation which I hope is resolved w/o resorting to even more bloodshed than has already been spilt.

    While it’s great that you’re introducing yr readers to the two Palestinian bloggers you feature, I think you haven’t provided much diversity in yr choice of Israeli/Jewish bloggers about the conflict. Debka and almost every one of the others you mention display a notable hardline pro-Israel perspective. I certainly agree that their view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is worthy of mention. But there are many other blogs that take a decidedly more progressive position.

    I’ve created an Israeli-Palestinian peace blog directory via Blogdigger. Though the latter drives me crazy technically, the directory will enable you to access over 20 blogs by Israelis, American Jews, Palestinians and Arab Americans with a dovish view of the conflict. There’s even a Hebrew language blog included for anyone who reads the language.

    My latest post on the Gaza invasion is linked to this comment.

  2. Posted July 4, 2006 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, had I know there is interest in our point of view I would have posted some English posts on my blog.
    The cab driver was very correct when he started the tale with Abraham. This conflict is so long and deeply rooted, it’s hard to think of a way of solving it.
    The situation for me, as a person, is very confusing. I’m quite left-winged in political opinions, I served in the Israeli army (nothing combat though) and I grew up here. It’s hard to have a steady, healthy and balanced opinion and perspective on the situation.

    As an Israeli, I ache and publicly protest the humanitarian situation Palestinians suffer due to the army’s bombings, but on the other hand I think to myself – some of it is also to blame on their government and leaders. Their leaders, just like ours in the recent years, have gone bad and lose sight of the citizens, acting only out of political and financial interests.

    On the other hand, and this is my private little confession, we fear for our lives as well, and no one can deny we have reasons to . My little secret is the in the last 3-4 years, after being in the Tel-Aviv Central Bus Station during a suicide bomber’s attack, I make sure to live home to work as early as 6am, when buses to Tel-Aviv are not as crowded, fearing that the latter, more crowdy buses are endangering my life by going on the same bus with another bomber.

    I hope that explained what you probably know better than others, just how difficult it is for both sides to explain and handle our reality.

    Are you coming back to Israel?

  3. Posted July 4, 2006 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Sarit, it is very hard to explain “the situation”, as it is known in Israel, especially from a personal point of view. I want to slap Arakat upside the head for continuing his spin propaganda and equally smack of few Israeli reps for being sloppy and poorly spoken. I have Palestinian friends, both in and outside of the Middle East and I feel and suffer for them. Yet I lived in Israel for 5 years, suffering alongside friends who lost loved ones and family in terrorist bombings and even got too close to a couple myself, which is enough to make anyone want to wipe “a group of people” off the face of the universe. It’s not simple, and yet it isn’t that complicated, and yet it is all a big freakin’ mess. No one wants to be the “grown up” and everyone has an opinion, and no one is right and everyone is wrong.

    Either way, I think that those living in the area and part of the “situation” need to talk about it. They need to challenge our thinking and share their perspective, even to the risk of hate spam and attacks. If no one talks about it, it will just keep on.

    It takes great courage to stand up for your beliefs, no matter which side of the fence they rest upon, even when they are “on” the fence.

    As for your last question, I will have an answer on that in a few days. ;-)

  4. Posted July 6, 2006 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m working on starting an extra blog, this time in English.
    This post reminded me that’s it’s important to speak to the rest of the world as well.

    I hope you will visit it once it’s up :)

  5. Posted July 6, 2006 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Sarit, I expect you to do wonderful things. I’m so proud of you!

  6. Posted July 7, 2006 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    [...] Here in the United States yesterday was the official Birthday of our nation, nearing three hundred years the country is a youngster in the shadows of older and more established nations of the world [...]

  7. cc
    Posted July 13, 2006 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    A very nice post. One note, however, on your comment that said “…which is enough to make anyone want to wipe “a group of people” off the face of the universe” and my opinion, with your permission.

    I can imagine such strong feelings from your personal relations with folks who suffered at the hands of bombings but I would, in all fairness, also mention that folks who have suffered loss of innocent lives from indiscriminate, and in many views, equally terrorist, israeli army missle attacks feel the same strong feelings.

    Unfortunatley, in the U.S. media, these go underreported and misreported wether it is in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. leading to a one sided discussion.

    In any case, I would guess the duty of rational people is to confront the points, however complicated, from both sides.

    Rather than just comment, I’ll also add to your blog list:
    Aron’s Israel Peace Blog

    http://www.israelblog.org/index.html

    Other than providing an Israeli perspective against occupation, it also serves as an example of military service refusal which we need so bad in the United States due to the harsh recruiting tactics against youth to get them to fight in an unjust war.


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Médio Oriente – Palestinians versus Israel – Israel versus Gaza – and the beat goes on [...]

  2. [...] 5. The idea of starting this blog came to me after reading Lorelle’s post “Palestinians versus Israel – Israel versus Gaza – and the beat goes on“. I realized I might have some things to say myself about this difficult times in Israel. [...]

  3. [...] 5. The idea of starting this blog came to me after reading Lorelle’s post “Palestinians versus Israel – Israel versus Gaza – and the beat goes on“. I realized I might have some things to say myself about this difficult times in Israel. [...]

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