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. Debka, 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.
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 Israel Bombs Gaza, 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.
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:
- Meryl Yourish
- Aliyah Blog – What Should Israel Do
- Israel Matzav – Carl in Jerusalem
- Tikun Olam
- Blog Sabbah
- Michelle Malkin
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