Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Syrian Peace Talks

Things seem pretty confusing at this point, so what I am writing here in this post is just the way they reflect to this average Isralei mom. I mean, I will be the first to admit that I just don't have the time to follow the news properly. But, my husband gave me a quick update on the way to the amusement park a couple of days ago (it's the Hannuka holiday, so we try to spend the week having fun with the little ones). So, basically it looks like there are news that Syria is tyring to approach Israel, offering to start peace negotiations with no preliminary conditions. And apparently, Olmert is replying in the negative.

Now, I have heard Olmert in the past, explaining on national TV why he thinks talks with Syria is a bad idea. According to what he said, Syria remains a "bad" state, or a rouge state if you like, part of the famous Bushian axis of evil or whatnot. So, he figures negotiations with Syria can't really lead anywhere, because Syria actively supports Hezbulla and Hammas, i.e. the bad terrorists, and therefore, any negotiaions are bound to fail. He is afraid that once negotiations explode, this very event is likely to start a war in our region. I now hear he has an additional argument, that the US and Europe say we shouldn't talk to the Syrians (for the same reasons).

Now, IMO, Olmert is making a big big mistake. I'm sorry, but nothing justified missing an opportunity for peace talks with Syria. Nothing does. I don't care what any other country tells us. I don't care who Assad supports. The whole Hezbulla/Hammas issue is just the kind of thing which should be discussed within the framework of negotiations. Finally, a chance to actually try and sort things out. Give Syria a ladder to get off the tall tree which they climbed. Give them back the Golan Heights, as a demilitarized zone, and make Assad's day in terms of national pride. Then, from that position, he can maybe cut off his ties with Iran and the terrorist groups. What a terrible blow this will be to Hezbulla and Hammas! Cutting off their weapon supplies route from Iran! What a great opportunity for the moderate Palestinians to finally weaken Hammas and take over their government and bring their people closer to their own State and peace too!

There is one country I know will not be happy about this. That is Lebanon of course. From what I gather, most Lebanese hate Syria because Syria thinks of Lebanon as part of the Greater Syria. I'm not an expert, but from what little talks I've had with Syrians (online of course), I take it it's a commonly shared view over there. One Syrian I talked to said something along the lines of "let's split Lebanon between us, Israel can have the south, we'll take the north". I was shocked by the way he said it, just so matter of fact. lol took a while for me to convince him that we have zero interest in taking over any part of Lebanon whatsoever. However, if this is how Syria and the Syrians see Lebanon, then I can certainly see why the Lebanese would fear a peace agreement between Syrian and Israel, something that might strengthern Syria greatly in the long run. I think this is the reason why France objects to Israel-Syrian peace talks too? not sure about that last statement, but this is what I've heard.

Well, to my Lebanese friends I can only say, again, that Israel does not want any part of Lebanon. We want a safe and peaceful border, that's all. And peace between Israel and Syria, and weakening the HA can bring us all closer to that. Who knows, following Syria, maybe Lebanon itself will enter negotiations with Israel and reach a peace agreement?

I was born back when Israel had peace with no Arab country. We grew up dreaming of peace with our neighbors. We have acheived that with Egypt and Jordan. The very thought of maybe, just maybe, reaching a state of peace with all neighboring countries sends shivers down my spine, for real. I so hope that our government will find the courage to take this historical step and negotiate with Syria.

I could go on and on with my rant, but I really need to go now. Got back from the gym not too long ago and I need a good long shower. What was I doing in the gym? well, try my new weight loss blog to see ;)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

An Interesting Meeting

We had an interesting meeting yesterday at MacDonald's. You can say a lot of bad things about that place but IMO it makes for a great place to meet other families with kids - international too. A couple of years ago, standing in the line at the big M, we met a wonderful family from South Korea. We got really close with them, and spend a great 2 weeks getting to know them and travelling across Israel with them.

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday... We finish having our meal, then head over to the indoors play area there, which is really nice, with tunnels and things. I sit there with my husband, and our kids (now aged 3 and almost-5) take their shoes off and get inside, not to be seen again for a while lol. No other kids there at that point, but a few minutes later, a father and his two kids show up. They're Arabs and I notice how his boys are the same age as ours. I asked him, and indeed they were 3 and 5 (and totally sweet too!). So, they get inside and the three of us are sitting there, playing with our cell phones (another international trait, I guess).

A few minutes later, my five years old, Ron, gets out of some tunnel and approaches us. "Mom, can you teach me some English please?". I figure he must have gotten real bored inside, and is looking for some attention.

"English? now? wouldn't it be better for you to play inside now?"

"But, mom, there's a boy inside and he's blocking my tunnel. I tried telling him to move, but he only knows English".

At which all three adults started laughing. You see, he couldn't even tell the difference between Arabic and English. So, the nice dad next to us tried teaching my son how to ask the kid to move, in Arabic. Quite a challenge for my boy, but by then all kids crawled out to see what the fuss was all about lol.

So we kept sitting there, the kids went back inside, and we started talking. It was a fascinating talk and it made me think about how distant we are, and how little we know about each other, when they live only 20 minutes away from where we do. There was a lot of curiosity, on both sides. About the simple things, about who we were and who they are. About what it's like living in an Arab village and a Jewish town. And also just about what it's like raising two boys of these ages.

We tried getting the boys to play together, but his sons don't know Hebrew, and our sons don't know Arabic and while they were smiling and generally friendly, there was no way for them to actually play together, due to language barriers.

Amazing, really. A family, a mirror image of our own family in some ways. The mom joined us later on btw. A mom and a dad and two boys. Eating out at MacDonald's, shopping for clothes for the kids. Living but 20 minutes apart, yes we know so little about each other's respective lives...

One thing that came up and was a prominent subject was the new Arab-Jewish school that is actually located where they live. It's a complicated issue, and one I plan on addressing in a seperate post. We are currently looking into schools, especially ones with kindergartens attached to them and this one is one of the schools are are looking into. Big issue though, lots of implications.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a link to the Arab-Jewish co-education Center.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Here I am again

Thanks for all those who asked. I have to say that as much as the last war has shaken my little world and made me realize I still live in the Middle East, it didn't take long for me to get back into my regional autism again... I work online, with people from all over the world. It's pretty easy for me to skip the news (actually, I hardly watch them nowdays), not read the newspapers, and pretend that we live in Switzerland or somewhere else nice and peaceful.

The weather is absolutely glorious here these days. Nice sunny days, everything is green from recent rainfalls, perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Yes, if you ask me, I'll tell you that there is trouble in Gaza and problems in Lebanon, but I confess, most of it does not manage to pierce the bubble of my daily life. I am too busy looking after my kids, my home, my work, to pay too much attention to all of that. I'm not proud in that, just reflecting on where I am right now. The forums that we started during the war - - have all but died. I check in every couple of weeks, the place is a graveyard. Sad, really. I was really hoping to bring together the moderates, to talk and get to know each other. I have made some friends there too. But we all got busy again, and new constructive people didn't come along and it's gone for now.

Funny how this post turned into an epilogue of sorts. I didn't mean it to, actually. I decided to keep blogging here, share my life, as an Israeli mom. I may actually start a spinoff blog soon, just to focus on my weight loss plan, which is a central issue in my life at the moment. But I will also check in here and just blog, about me, my family, my life.

For now, Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. It's good night from here...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The School Year Started Yesterday

Since both of my boys are in kindergarten, they are being re-introduced to it gradually... a couple of hours a day for the first few days. I guess we shouldn't complain. I mean, can you imagine six hours of actual work time on my computer all at once? I would probably be in a state of shock. So, they are taking it easy on me, and not letting me get back to working full time :P

Some major changes in our household starting this month. My husband is leaving his current place of employment after 18 years. He will be spending a lot of time at home with me and we still haven't decided whether he starts a new job or stays at home and helps me maintain and develop the web publishing business. The plan right now is for him to take a part-time job outside the house, help me with the business by putting in a few hours every week, and spend the rest of the time with the kids. Either way, changes are always stressful and we are hoping for a smooth adjustment over here.

Breaking away from his previous workplace, we also bought our first owned car on Thursday! We now have our own Hyundai Accent!! It's second-hand and three years old but we're thrilled with getting it :)

Don't be looking for any exciting political news on this post today. I don't remember the last time I watched the news. With the war over, I tend to look away from those things and re-focus on my family and household. I now get my share of daily politics from the Middle East Talks forums , which I find to be absolutely fascinating. We have a house guest over for the weekend as well, a lovely young man from the US of America. His name is Jack, and he's from New Mexico. Born and bred in the USA, he's a student of Arabic and speaks Arabic fluently! He is on his way back home from a six months stay in Egypt, and is choke-full of information and stories. We are having some very interesting talks at the dinner table (breakfast and lunch tables too lol). He was at an Israeli-Arab village with my father-in-law this morning, visiting a friend of my father-in-law and chatting away for a while. I have to go now, see what the plans for the rest of the day are. We may be going to visit Ceasaria with Jack, and maybe finishing it off with an evening swim in the warm water of the Mediterranean. Have a great weekend everyone and a good week after that!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

More of a mom than a blogger this week

The last week of the summer vacation... counting the days now. I get so little time to work nowdays. Sigh. At least their dad is home, and spends a lot of time with them. He is on his last week of his current place of work, then off to seek new adventures, career wise. We'll see how this goes.

I have to say, the new Middle East forums are taking up a large chunk of whatever computer time I do find. It's quite addictive, obviously not just for me lol, we just went over 1,000 posts already in a relatively short time. I find it very interesting to view things from new perspectives. Sure, sometimes those perspectives are so foreign to mine, that it can be almost frustrating. Also, people feeding from different sources of information can be challenging. Thankfully, there are still some relatively objective resources online, for us to compare notes every now and again. I am still looking forward to getting more people from the Middle East involved. We have quite a large number of Americans, Europeans and even Australians. All are very welcome and add a lot to the discussions, but I was hoping for some direct dialogue between people from the Middle East themselves.... so, if you have some "Middle Easterners" in your contact list, please drop them a word about our new hangout - !

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The New Middle East Forums

I've been asked by a fellow blogger to tell some more about - the Middle East Forums that I launched a few days ago. So... here goes...

A bit about the forums themselves. So far, we have only two forums, one for political/ideological kind of threads, and another for social interaction/fun threads. We have 27 members as of right now, and growing daily. Members are from around the globe, many from the Middle East. It is actually not easy placing them on the map, as some are originally from the Middle East, now living elsewhere.

The site staff currently consists of myself and two others: JeanSouc and Janjo. Jean is Lebanese, living in Paris, and Janjo is Iranian and living in the UK. Both of them I met through this blog here, as they commented about posts I made. I always enjoyed their comments and their ability to keep things polite and even friendly, despite major disagreements with other commenters. I felt the would make great team members at a site like and I still do!

So, what is about? I want it to be a platform to allow people of the Middle East a place to interact and create some sort of positive dialogue. The emphasis here is certainly on the positive. I don't think we need yet another place where people will bicker, fight and insult each other. I want a place where opinions can be expressed, yet an overall respectful tone be maintained.

I also want to bring together those voices of the Middle East that call for peace, human rights, democracy and the associated values. Being an online forum, I realize that we're going to have all kinds of people joining, not all of them necessarily promoting those ideals, yet I hope that we will be able to create a strong community where diverse opinions can be heard, discussions can be held and yet a general line be maintained promoting these ideas, at least by the site's staff and core posters.

I was looking for such boards before and couldn't find quite what I needed. Some nice initiatives out there simply didn't have the right platform, IMO. I felt that these forums deserved some investments, in the form of their own domain name, a proper software and appropriate hosting. Hey, I guess it's the webmaster in me ;)

We are working things out as we go along. These days we are seeing our first threads where moderator intervention is actually needed. I bring with me six years of experience managing large forums, so hopefully that will help. There will be bumps along the road, of that I am sure, but I also hope that a strong and valuable community will be formed, where people of the Middle East will learn to actually know each other and, well, Talk!

Why not join us at ?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lebanese Army finally deploying

I wonder how this looks to an outsider. Two militaries, very peacefully switching positions. The Israeli tanks moving south, as the Lebanese tanks take their place. If there's anyone in Lebanon, or out of it, that still believes that Israel has any plans or wishes in regards to Lebanese soil (or water), I hope that these pictures show them how wrong they were. Israelis don't want to occupy Lebanon. Never did. Not for land, not for water, not for anything.

I hope Lebanon grabs the chance it's been given and make the most of it. This is their chance to finally get rid of the Iranian de-facto occupation of the South and reclaim their land. Current decision to allow Hezbulla to stay, and armed at that, even if their weapons are concealed, doesn't look very promising. I hope this is only phase one. I hope that the Lebanese government will have the sense to gradually and thoughtfully, yet decidedly and not too slowly, disarm the Hezbulla and take real control over the region.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

He's back!!!!

After more than four weeks (seasoned with a couple of short home leaves of a few hours each), my dear man is back home!!! He surprised us this morning and just showed up at the door, looking extremely tired, his face covered with stubble, but very very happy to see us.

Our yonger son, aged two and a half, woke up first, and was very hesitant about this man that suddenly showed up... It took a few minutes of convincing that this is actually is his dad and he is back for good lol Then we woke up the older kid, aged four and half. He was thrilled.

I haven't even checked the news yet this morning. For now, all the news I needed is right here :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ceasefire Holding On So Far

Like most people here, I check on the news as often as I can this morning. Is it really over? Is the ceasefire still in place? IDF officials have said the the ceasefire is "fragile", and we all hope we won't hear the sound of shattering glass today...

So far, so good. There has been an incident earlier this morning, but looks like it's been contained. Just an isolated incident where, according to Israeli sources, a Hezbulla gunman shot at an IDF force.

Keeping our fingers crossed here. The kids are anxious to see their daddy back home. They've been told that the war ended today. "So, Mom, did we beat the enemy?", my 4 years old son asked. Good question. I told him that the enemy and us decided to stop shooting at each other, so that the dads can get back home. Told him everyone was tired of the war. He was happy enough with this answer. Now, they want to know why daddy isn't home already. I told them the army is waiting to make sure that everyone plays by the rules and that the enemy really did stop fighting.

lol, not trying to offer any of the above as sophisticated commentary here. This is what I explained to a 4.5 year old kid, that's all ;)

On another note, I am looking for interesting blogs from the Middle East. I want to focus on the ones that promote peace and sanity in this region, not war mongerers. I want to start a blog reviewing other blogs and recommending the ones that I like. If you know of any, they can be your own, please either comment here or email me - Cheers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Crazy last day?

How strange. Since yesterday, everyone's been counting down to the ceasefire (supposedly tomorrow morning). At the same time the IDF tripled its forces in Lebanon and Hezbulla seems to be firing eveything they can at us. It's strange, to say the least.

Yesterday afternoon, when both Israel and Hezbulla had announced that they agree to the UN's proposal, my sons were thrilled. We told them that the war will soon be over and daddy will be back home. We decided to celebrate by doing a small "BBQ". That means we lit a small bonefire and I made them some hot dogs at home and let them eat them on a stick by the fire. As we were sitting there, singing songs, the choppers began flying above. Flying in formations, they kept coming and coming, heading north. We knew something big was going on, as dozens of helicopters flew over. My sons were jumping happily and waving "at the pilots". The adults were worried, wondering who on board the aircraft will be coming back home in a coffin :( We heard later that evening that Israel had indeed expanded the operation. Dozens of soldiers already killed, probably some of them were indeed in the helicopters flying over our heads. How tragic. To lose a dear one when the sides have already decided on a ceasefire.

Then today, Nassaralla, joining in on this crazy race to "prove we won" just before the ceasefire, seems to be shooting everything he has left in his arsenal. Record number of rockets landed on Israel today, huge damage all over the north, coming close to where I live again, as well. I was taking my walk this afternoon, when my mom phoned me, in panic, saying I need to get back home and be with the kids, since the Hezbulla are going crazy on us today and shooting their long range rockets again. I tried to explain to her that they are as likely to hit our home, as they are to hit me during the walk :P

It's like in those horror movies really. You think the monster is dead, but then, at the last minute, the ugly monster of war raises its head for a final bite. My heart goes out to everyone affected, on both sides of the border. Stay safe everyone, hang in there for just a bit longer, and hopefully this will be behind us tomorrow.

Peace to all.

Oh, and if you are looking for a dose of something positive, hop over to the new Middle East Talks forums!

Introducing - the Middle East Talks Forum

I've been toying with this idea for a while now, as some of you already know, and last night I decided to take the plunge. I set up new forums to carry out discussions about the Middle East. Everyone is welcome, only please read what I had already posted there. No rules are set in stone as of yet, but I do intend on keeping a friendly place. The idea is to promote communication and build bridges, not to spew hatred and feel all superior.

Everyone is welcome, from any place in the world. It shoud be a place to ask questions, talk and exchange views. Politely please :)

So, just head over to, register for your account (it's free, of course) and start posting. Either reply to my threads or start one of your own. Let's get talking :)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Ceasefire seems closer than ever

I was happy a few minutes ago, as I've been told that Nassaralla has basically accepted the UN's terms for the ceasefire. Very surprised, I think, but pleasantly so (if that word can be used in the same sentence with this guy...). Then I read the full quote from his speech -
Hizbullah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, said in a speech broadcast on Hizbullah's television network al-Manar that "if a date for halting all hostile operations is agreed upon, Hizbullah will uphold this decision."

Well... not sure if he really does accept all of the terms. But at least we may have a ceasefire during which things might be negotiated further. The Hebrew version of that piece of news did say that Nassaralla has accepted the UN resolution. It just seems a bit odd to me. Too much like wishful thinking.

Israel, on its part, supports and accepts the UN resolution and I guess a truce will come into effect as soon as Nassaralla will say the same. The official Lebanon also supports the UN resolution.

For now, though, the fighting continutes. The IDF seems to be making huge progress within Lebanon with some impressive operations being carried out yesterday and today. Some are already revealed, others were only hinted at. I guess the IDF will try and make the most from everyday now, before the ceasefire is declared, making life even harder for the Hezbulla and making sure that when the UN soldiers arrive, they will have an easier time.

Buffet and Hezbulla

The following piece was forwarded to me in an email from a friend. I am not sure who wrote it, but I think a lot of it is spot on, so I am re-publishing it here.

Warren Buffett. The most important thing you need to know about Israel today and how it has performed so far in the war with Hezbollah is Warren Buffett.Say what? Well, the most talked-about story in Israel, before Hezbollah started this war, was the fact that on May 5, Mr. Buffett, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and the world’s most successful investor, bought an 80 percent stake in the privately held Israeli precision tools company, Iscar Metalworking, for $4 billion — Mr. Buffett’s first purchase of a company outside America. According to BusinessWeek, as a result of the deal, Iscar’s owners were “likely to pay about $1 billion in capital gains taxes into the Israeli government’s coffers — an unexpected windfall. With the Israeli budget already running a $2 billion surplus, the government is considering slashing value-added tax by one percentage point to 15 percent.”In May, Israeli papers were filled with pages about how cool it was that Israel had produced a cutting-edge company that Warren Buffett wanted to buy. It was being discussed everywhere, pushing the Tel Aviv stock exchange to an all-time high.That is where Israel’s head was on the eve of this war — and it explains something I sensed when I visited Israel shortly after the fighting started. Nobody wanted this war, and nobody was prepared for it. Look closely at pictures of Israeli soldiers from Lebanon. There is no enthusiasm in their faces, and certainly no triumphalism. Their expressions tell the whole story: “I just don’t want to be doing this — another war with the Arabs.”
\n Israeli soldiers were napping when this war started — that’s why they got ambushed — for the very best reasons: They have so much more to do with their lives, and they live in a society that empowers and enables them to do it. (Unfortunately, the Buffett company is in northern Israel and had to be temporarily closed because of rocket attacks.)\n Young Israelis dream of being inventors, and their role models are the Israeli innovators who made it to the Nasdaq. Hezbollah youth dream of being martyrs, and their role models are Islamic militants who made it to the Next World. Israel spent the last six years preparing for Warren Buffett, while Hezbollah spent the last six years preparing for this war.\n “Israel was not prepared for this war,” said the Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi. “It came upon us like the crash of a meteorite. ... The whole focus of debate in the country before this war was on withdrawal.” The Israeli Army had just taken on its own extremists, the settlers in Gaza, and removed them against their will, added Mr. Ezrahi, “and the country had just elected for the first time a prime minister who promised voters to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank in return for nothing.”\n In the end, Israel will do whatever it has to do to prevail. But what is so troubling for Israelis is that this war is about nothing and everything. That is, Israel got out of Lebanon, and yet Hezbollah keeps coming. It is all about Hezbollah’s need to justify its existence and Iran’s need for a distraction.\n What is doubly sad is that Lebanon was getting its act together. Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister, represented a whole new type of Arab leader — one who rose to power by being a builder and an entrepreneur. He understood that Lebanon, freed of Syria, was a country whose youth had the energy and skill to compete anywhere. He thought Lebanon could again be a model of how Arabs can embrace modernity. But Mr. Hariri was murdered, allegedly by Syria, and now Lebanon’s democracy is being murdered by Hezbollah. Once again, in the Arab world, the past buries the future."

Israeli soldiers were napping when this war started — that’s why they got ambushed — for the very best reasons: They have so much more to do with their lives, and they live in a society that empowers and enables them to do it. (Unfortunately, the Buffett company is in northern Israel and had to be temporarily closed because of rocket attacks.)Young Israelis dream of being inventors, and their role models are the Israeli innovators who made it to the Nasdaq. Hezbollah youth dream of being martyrs, and their role models are Islamic militants who made it to the Next World. Israel spent the last six years preparing for Warren Buffett, while Hezbollah spent the last six years preparing for this war.“Israel was not prepared for this war,” said the Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi. “It came upon us like the crash of a meteorite. ... The whole focus of debate in the country before this war was on withdrawal.” The Israeli Army had just taken on its own extremists, the settlers in Gaza, and removed them against their will, added Mr. Ezrahi, “and the country had just elected for the first time a prime minister who promised voters to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank in return for nothing.”In the end, Israel will do whatever it has to do to prevail. But what is so troubling for Israelis is that this war is about nothing and everything. That is, Israel got out of Lebanon, and yet Hezbollah keeps coming. It is all about Hezbollah’s need to justify its existence and Iran’s need for a distraction.What is doubly sad is that Lebanon was getting its act together. Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister, represented a whole new type of Arab leader — one who rose to power by being a builder and an entrepreneur. He understood that Lebanon, freed of Syria, was a country whose youth had the energy and skill to compete anywhere. He thought Lebanon could again be a model of how Arabs can embrace modernity. But Mr. Hariri was murdered, allegedly by Syria, and now Lebanon’s democracy is being murdered by Hezbollah. Once again, in the Arab world, the past buries the future.

Israel mustn’t get sucked into that same grave. Israel needs to get a cease-fire and an international force into south Lebanon — and get out. Israel can’t defeat Hezbollah, it can only hurt it enough to make it think twice about ever doing this again — and it has pretty much done that. It must not destroy any more of Lebanon, which is going to still be its neighbor when the guns fall silent.\n Israel wins when Warren Buffett’s company there is fully back in business — not when Nasrallah is out of business. Because that will only happen, not by war, but when Arabs wake up and realize that he is just another fraud, just another Nasser, whose strategy would condemn the flower of Arab youth — who deserve and need so much better — to another decade of making potato chips, not microchips. Nasrallah can win in the long run only if he can condemn the flower of Israel’s youth to the same fate. Don’t let it happen, Israel.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our Defense Minister Isn't Very Popular today...

Amir Peretz is showing his dovish tendencies again by declaring that diplomatic efforts to curb fighting must be exhausted before expansion of military operation in Lebanon. I just returned home and I can tell you people all over are saying the government should let the military move forward and get this business over with. The feeling is that the IDF is holding back, not using its full power and the result is the continuing erosion of our military and civilians alike. Soldiers are killed everyday, and as I mentioned before, this in Israel is as bad, sometimes even worse, than when civilians get killed (funny, I know, but there you have it).

I just hope the diplomatic efforts will move forward in full speed. I always prefer peace to war, there is not a question there. If there's a chance of acheiving Israel's goal (basically, disarming Heabulla or moving them away from the border) by using diplomacy, then I'm all for it. However, if we find out that this is not even possible, then maybe holding back and waiting will only cause more suffering on both sides.

On another note, a mom and her five year old son were killed today from katyusha rockets in Israel. The younger brother is severly wounded. Read about it here and note how you won't see any carbonated or torn bodies in the article, only pretty pictures of how the mom and sweet boy should be remembered.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One more thing...

Reading Nasseralla's response to the latest developments. The usual propaganda and all, but one thing bothered me -

In a televised speech, Hassan Nasrallah said Israeli attacks had not weakened its rocket capabilities and called on the Arab residents of Haifa to quit the Israeli city to avoid being hurt by the guerrilla group's barrages.

Why does he only call for the Arab residents to leave? Why does he differentiate between Arab blood and Jewish blood? Goes to show just how much value he puts on human life. Seems like he's perfectly ok with Jewish children being hit by his rockets after all. So much for pretending to be a legitimate "military".

Widening Military Operations,7340,L-3288819,00.html
Looks like military operation on the ground is going to get more intensive. According to the government's decision Israel has five goals -

Israel is working towards five chief goals, which were noted in the cabinet decision:

The return of the kidnapped soldiers with no preconditions;

an immediate halt to all Hizbullah terror activity against Israel and Israeli targets, including ceasing rocket and missile attacks on Israel;

the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1559;

the deployment of an effective international force along the Lebanon-Israeli border for the length of the Blue Line;

and the prevention of Hizbullah rearmament and its regaining operational capabilities, mainly by preventing weapons transfer to Lebanon from Syrian and Iran.

At this point, I just wonder what does it all mean and how long this is going to take. I want my life back, and I'm sure there are numerous families, on both sides of the border who feel the same (and yes, most of them have it far worse than I do). My younger son has been waking up for the past two days crying, calling out for his daddy. I hug him and kiss him, but he keeps crying for daddy. Sigh. I hope this thing ends soon. I seriously have anything more clever than that to say about this war today.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On the Face :: Putting things in perspective

Remember the picture of the little Israeli girls drawing on artillery shells? Caused an uproar a couple of weeks ago. Check out this wonderful piece - you will learn not only about that picture, but about the power of the pictures and how their meaning can be manipulated so easily.

On the Face :: Putting things in perspective:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Civilian vs. Military casualties

I often see how the international media refers to civilian casualties differently then military casualties. Yes, I agree, in the crazy "rules" of war, one wants to make the distinction between "legitimate" targets such, i.e. soldiers, and illegetimate targets, i.e. civilians.

This issue has been on my mind for a while now. I think it should be noted that Israeli society is extremely sensitive to the loss of life, be them civilians or soldiers. People here break apart when they hear of soldiers being killed. We lost dozens of soldiers already in the current war. My heart goes out to the families.

Maybe it's the fact that we have little choice on whether or not to become soldiers. When a young man or woman turns 18, they join the military. Compulsory military service is one of the things that make Israeli society so special. It means that when you hear of a soldier being killed, you know it could have just as easily been your son, brother, husband or father (the same goes for women, though the majority of combat soldiers are male, so I'm using the male form here).

The IDF is known as the people's army. This means not only that it's there to serve the people, but also that it is comprised from the same people that make up the nation. These soldiers are not blood-thirsty. They are not indoctrinized to be blood-thirsty either. They are regular men and women, who did not ask to fight, yet once called in, they will do anything to protect their country and will give up their life for that.

In honor of our humane and compassionate soldiers, I want to share a few pictures that I got via email today. The title of the email was "the pictures that the international media won't show you". I am dedicating these pictures to my personal soldier up in the north right now, my sweet dear man, my war hating officer, who used to give candy to Palestinian children and comfort them when performing his hateful military duties in the territories. Take care, Sweetie, stay safe and come back home soon - we miss you so much!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Highest number of Israeli civilian casualties in a single day so far

At least 10 people killed in a katyusha rocket attack. Why the high number of casualties? well, people are getting fed up of sitting in shelters and being to go outside. Then it's just a question of luck, or lack of. I won't be cynical as to say I hope this pleases the people who were looking for proportionality. It only pleases some people, and that's not unexpected either. To me, this just proves the point I was trying to make before, that at least part of the reason for the discrepancy in the numbers of civilian casualties is due to the fact that the Israeli homefront is better prepared. The shelters, secured rooms and the fact that many civilians just left the area (evacuees, rather than refugees, though that is very much a matter of definition), were all contributing factors in keeping the numbers relatively low. Three weeks into the war, people are beginning to get tired of it all.

Visiting my father yesterday afternoon, in a nearby Kibbutz, I happened to overhear a family that came to stay there. They were from Haifa and were explaining to their hosts why they think it's time for them to go back home. Just missing home, is what it boils down to. There's a limit to how long people are willing to stay away from home with relatives and friends.

I think we may witness more casualties on the Israeli side, now that people are beginning to re-populate the north. Along with that, we'll also see growing pressure on our government to speed up the fighting and "finish the business". It's doable too. Going faster means using more brute force. It means more casualties for our military, and also more civilians hurt on the other side. Then again, given a few more days like today, with so many civilian casualties on the Israeli side, and our government may just be forced towards that direction.

This all relates to the question I see around quite often. How come we're still "not winning", after three weeks of massive fighting. Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again - we are winning. Slowly. Not a dramatic victory. It's not the Six Day War again. This is different, a slow war against sneaky guerilla fighters hiding in trenches. We'll win this one, moving forward one mile at a time. The more we move on, the more rockets we will get launched at Israel. Hezbulla still has many of them and they won't stop launching them until we get them down to their knees. Which we will. It's just going to take some time.

On another note - did you see the doctored picture on Reuters?,7340,L-3286966,00.html
Incredible that such a leading news agency would let this kind of picture get published. Makes you wonder who their sources really are and how reliable they are.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Maybe? perhaps? A chance at a possible light in the end of the tunnel?

US, France reach deal on Israel-Hizbullah resolution

The United States and France agreed Saturday on a draft UN Security Council resolution that calls for an end to the fighting between Israel and the Lebanese terror group Hizbullah , but would allow Israel to defend itself if attacked, officials said.

Of course, there is the tiny issue of the Hezbulla actually agreeing ;) Many people here had the gut reaction of "France again?!?", figuring that if France is involved this has to be a bad resolution for Israel. I actually think it's a great resolution, on paper, I just don't see Hezbulla agreeing to these terms, if indeed they include demilitarizing the zone from the border to the Litani river as the Hebrew version of the article claims. I wonder if someone in the UN is really naive enough to think that it will be that easy to disarm the Hezbulla?

Also, the Hezbulla's response has already arrived, as cryptic as ever -

Hezbollah cabinet minister Mohammed Fneish said the guerrilla group would stop fighting when Israel ended its bombardment of Lebanon and withdrew its troops."Israel is the aggressor. When the Israeli aggression stops, Hezbollah simply will cease fire on the condition that no Israeli soldier remains inside Lebanese land," he said.

Since they were the ones to launch rockets and mortar shells at us out of the blue on July 12, not to mention break into Israeli territory, killing and kidnapping solidiers, I'm not really sure what this response means. My only thought is that he's referring to the Sheba farms? In which case, it's amazing that they would bring this disaster over the Lebanese people for some measly pieace of land that Israel doesn't even claim to own...

Anyway, I am dubious about the new initiative, but I can't help but hoping that this will somehow work and bring this crazy war to an end. Speaking for myself and my family, and the close people around us, I can say that Israelis are prepared for a long and costly war, but it doesn't mean that we want it. My father-in-law put it nicely today. He said Israel is now the spearhead in the fight against radical Islam. It's no fun being the spearhead, as this is the part that gets eroded the most, but looks like we may be left with no choice...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Rockets landed in my town

Was about to post about just another day here... just as I was typing, I hear one blast, and then another one, a few seconds later. Pretty loud, made the windows shake.

I had just returned home from my evening walk, pushing my two and a half yo son in the stroller. I was listening to some music on my MP3 player, when suddenly a car pulls over next to me. "Excuse me, Ma'am, did you just hear the sirens?". I said I didn't, and he pointed at the headphones and smiled lol.

We get back home, I get Dan his dinner then put a DVD in the player for him and head for the shower. On my way, I stop by the computer of course, and thought I'd add a post here in the blog. While I was typing away, the two blasts went off. Wasn't sure what to make of them at first, but a few minutes later my brother-in-law came over to ask if we were ok. Apparently, the sirens went off about a minute prior to that, but we didn't hear them here (we're on the edge of town). So we relized these were indeed rockets.

Not to give away the exact location, but later reports on the radio and TV said these were two rockets, landing at the most southern point to date, and that happened to be two miles away from our home.

I need to go now, finally get that shower and tuck in my kid, he's waiting for his bedtime story. His older brother came home as well (having spent the day with my parents) and is already asleep in bed. Good night everyone!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More War News

Bad day here in Israel... Eight civilians killed in rocket attacks on the North, and another three soldiers killed in the fighting in Lebanon.

The reason for the heavy toll of casualties (dozens of people injured, some quite badly), is that many people got tired of staying in shelters/with their relatives. I guess they're be going back soon enough, but... this can't go on for much longer.

One of the commenters here, Jad, asked how can it be that after three weeks of fighting the Hezbulla's rockets firing abilities seem unfazed. Well, hardly surprising really. We are dealing with thousands of launchers, carefully hidden in woods and among buildings. And here's the surprising part... you're not going to like it, but there are many voices here in the Israeli public calling for Israel to finally pull its weight and "really" bomb South Lebanon...

I guess this takes some explaining. You see, the Qana village incident isn't the norm. Generally speaking, when the IDF knows that there are civilians in a building they avoid firing at it. Yes, I realize that close to 1000 Lebanese have been killed, but considering the amount of explosives the IDF dropped on Lebanon this isn't that high a number. Some people here feel that our attempt at maintaining moral standards is bogging us down and preventing us from winning this war. That burning down Southern Lebanon (the word Naplam comes up a lot in talkbacks) is the only solution to stopping them from shooting at us.

Now, before I get jumped on, let me make it very clear that I do not support this view. I don't think anything justifies knowingly hurting civilians. Ever. I do see that we have a problem here, but my view is that we have to stick to conventional fighting, i.e. use our troops (at a higher price in terms of casualties for our military) to gradually take over the South of Lebanon and uproot Hezbulla out of there. However, this is going to take time... maybe a long time too.

The only other way I can see of ending this sooner (and with fewer casualties on both sides), is for the international community to step in and actively intervene, including sending in military forces (I'm talking NATO forces, not just UN peacekeepers or observers), which would really take over and establish a demilitarized zone in the south. Not seeing any chance of that happening any time soon though. Sigh, I guess the fighting will continue.

Hezbulla manipulating the IDF into attacking non-Shiite villages

Bliss Street Journal - The Blog: The Siege of Mari

I have read this in several blogs by now. Very disturbing.... Looks like the Hezbulla is fighting local people in Druze and Christian villages in South Lebanon so they can position their launchers there. The people try to fight back, but the Hezbulla terrorizes them out of the village, or just into submission. Looks like this is a tactic by now. I guess they prefer to use non-Muslim Lebanese as their human shields.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back to fighting...

I posted yesterday saying that I doubt Nassaralla can really stop launching rockets at us. He proved me right today, by launching over 70 of them and counting... Quite a few people injured, at least one man killed.

Some interesting tidbits in the news here today.

Same as with the Scuds of the first Gulf War, some Palestinians are so overjoyed by the Katyusha attacks that they are celebrating them in song and dance. Well, looks like some of them almost got to see it up-close, as apparently some of the long-range rockets launched at Israel last Wednesday crossed the lines over to the Western Bank. Apparently, they don't mind:
The Fatah member related that local residents cheered when they heard the rocket fall and saw the resulting flames. “Even if it were to fall on our heads, it wouldn’t have spoiled our joy. All of us here are praying for Hizbullah’s success and victory," he said.

Another thing about the Qana incident. Rumors here are that the Hezbulla housed invalid children in the building, to create maximum effect in world public opinion. They set them up as bait, then launched from next to the building and took the launcher back inside, knowing the IDF will shoot at it. I have to say, this seems a bit too diabloic even for me. I am not at all sure this is true. That said, the following article makes it quite clear that they were focused on making the maximum gain from the whole set. Looks pretty cold hearted, cynical and calculated use of dead children's bodies. I used to think it was just poor taste (in Israel, we avoid showing dead bodies of people who were hurt in terror attacks, out of respect to the dead and their families). Looks now like it was more than the usual display of poor taste though -,7340,L-3284546,00.html

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Looks like we have a few more weeks of war ahead of us,7340,L-3284769,00.html

Interestingly enough, in the Grapes of Wrath operation back in 1996, the first Qana incident was enough to bring about a ceasefire. Looks like this time things are different. However, I think Hezbulla is doing the right thing (I know, weird combination of words there Hezbulla & "right thing"), by not shooting rockets into Israel anymore. If they continue doing this, Israel's ability to carry on with this war on Lebanese soil will be weakened overtime, both in terms of world public opinion and in terms of internal support.

IMO, it's not the two kidnapped soldiers that are driving Israel forward, at least not in terms of public opinion here in Israel. It's the constant shelling of civilian settlements in the north that propelled the Israeli response. Take that away and, personally, I doubt that Israel will be able to maintain support for the war for more than a few weeks. Though of course, who knows if Nassaralla can continue with his new policy... I bet he's itching to fire those promised Zilzals at Tel Aviv.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Ceasefire in Place,7340,L-3283905,00.html

Nothing unexpected there. The Qana scenario was bound to happen (please, don't read this as any disrespect to the people killed there), including the inevitable ceasefire following that. It's why I thought we should have gone with the UN's offer for a ceasefire 3 days ago. Such a shame that so many people had to die in order for this to happen. I blame the Israeli government here for being so short sighted. Hopefully, Lebanon and the UN will get their act together and use the ceasefire to really evacuate people. I have to say though that I somehow doubt they will. The UN is good for talking, I am not at all sure they can actually do something on the ground :( If I could I would drive over there myself, support old folks and carry children in my arms, just to help those families get away from them. They were given 48 hours and the clock is ticking. I hope that the Lebanese government, the army and just regular Lebanese citizens are doing whatever they can to help evacuate civilians. If I were a Lebanese today, I would get into my car and drive south, to help get at least one famliy out of there. I hope they are doing just that...

Interesting Facts About the Building,7340,L-3283816,00.html
VIDEO - An IDF investigation has found that the building in Qana struck by the Air Force fell around eight hours after being hit by the IDF.

"The attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear," Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters told journalists at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, following the incidents at Qana.

Note that they offer explanations but don't have any definitive answers. General Eshel did not come forward with any accusations, all he's saying is that there's something strange here.

I will add this to the list of weird things. If the building gets hit at 1 AM, how come the people inside don't just leave the place? Your building gets hit by a bomb and you just go on sleeping? Also, please... how can you live there, with children, and still allow HA people store explosives in your village and launch rockets from there? It's beyond me.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's Kfar Qana all over again...

And at the same place too, at the village of Qana... sheer tragedy for the poor people living there :( my heart goes out to the poor civilians, esepcially the children.

The Hezbulla did it in the very same way too. They launched rockets from next to the building then ran inside... hoping, I guess, for the IDF to attack the building. And sure enough, as leaflets had been showered on Qana telling people to evacuate, the IAF assumed the building was empty of civilians and attacked.

No words will help those children whose bodies are burried in the rubble... There's a special place in hell (with no virgins either) for the Hezbulla people who launched rockets from that building, knowing fully well they will be tracked down and shot at, dooming dozens of children to horrible death.

Interesting Article

I think he sums up the Israeli moral dilemma pretty well.,7340,L-3283206,00.html

What's wiser: To suffer the slaughter of our best fighters to prevent the slaughter of civilians in rural south Lebanon and be the most moral army in the world, or to erase villages used as Hizbullah terror motels, save the blood of our sons and be considered less moral?

What's wiser: To act with limited forces and in doing so extend the war’s duration, the number of rockets being fired at us and the number of civilian casualties, or to use lethal force, feel less moral and establish deterrence?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Today's Developments - No Ceasefire on the horizon

Israel has rejected an UN call for a 72 hours long ceasefire, to be used for humanitarian purposes. I have to say, I object to that decision. It's been one thing that's been on my mind for over a week now. I thought that Israeli should even initiate such a ceasefire, lasting 2-3 days, during which all civilians should evacuate the South of Lebanon, with the help of humanitarian organizations. I figured, it this is done, then we can really use full fire power on the areas controlled by Hizbulla, as no civilians would still be there.

I can understand the official Israeli position. They say that we are now providing refugees with humanitarian corridors, through which they can safely leave the area. The idea is that a general ceasefire would allow the Hezbulla to re-organize and have more trucks full of ammunition and military supplies come over from across the Syrian border. With humanitarian corridors, you get a greater measurement of supervising who's moving along the corridors, hopefully with some UN monitoring as well.

I still think the full ceasefire was a better idea. For one thing, I think it will make evacuation easier on people, and encourage them to leave the area. For another, seems to me, once you give them 3 days to evacuate civilians, especially if it's the official responsibility of the UN, then you leave the area open for a real military engagement, something that would allow our forces greater freedom of operation. I have to say though, I'm in a minority here, at least from the comments I read in Israeli news sites. Looks like most people here view the UN's offer as yet another stunt to allow Hezbulla to get more and more rockets.

On a different note, Nasralla gave another speech today. Looks like the guy really likes us lol. I have to say though, his judgement of the Israeli spirit can't be more wrong. Morale here is actually getting higher, in the military and out of it. People realize that this is a long term war, but that as with any war, we can't lose, it simply isn't an option. Lebanese people describe how this war is bringing them together as a people. The same thing is happening here... people get together and get stronger. The general feeling in the public is that the IDF isn't using its force to the full... and people are calling out for more use of force, to bring the Hezbulla fighters out of their holes, tunnels and bunkers.

The Israeli Refugees

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while now, and I got a nice reminder this morning.
I keep reading about the Lebanese refugees, people displaced from their homes, evacuated north. We have our own share of refugees, although we call them evacuees. See, living under constant shelling isn't much fun on this side of the border either, so people, particualrly families with children, have moved south. Many just went over to "visit" friends and family, but some found homes to stay at via internet sites and organizations set up for that purpose.

Apparently, some have been left without place to go to, and set up a camp site in a nearby town. My parents in law just drove over to offer a place in their home to one of the families. I doubt that there will be many people left in tents there. I actually wonder if there are any left for them to pick up. I know that the Lebanese people are also coming together in their time of woe, helping their own refugees and taking them into the Christian neighborhoods (though not sure if they are actually hosted in people's homes). Just thought I'd mention our own refugees/evacuees issue here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

So, who's war is it anyway?

I read an interesting article in one of our leading newspaper (it was actually on paper, lol, so no link). The interviews yet one more expert on the war and he said something interesting. He said the current match between Israel and the Hezbulla is like this football match with two teams playing but many spectators watching. He referred to the current crisis as an episode in an ongoing fight between fundamental Islamists and the Western world. He mentioned that the outcome will be crucial for many other countries and organizations, including Hammas, Iran and Al Qaeida, as well as radical Muslims in Europe.

This made me think, how this fight we're fighting now isn't just for Israel. Don't mean this to sound too vehement, but it could influence people the world over. I can see several circles here, starting with the sane Muslims of our region (people out there who don't want to live under an ultra religious regime). Next in line would be Europe. Can you imagine the next riots in France if the Hezbulla is perceived as victorious? Can you hear the words of the Imams all over Europe, drawing young Muslims in and telling them that the path of armed resistance has been rewarded by their God?

In this light, I find it hard to understand the European position in this crisis. Sympathy to the inocent victims is one thing. I actually share that. My heart hurts for the children and for the inoncent civilians caught in the line of fire. However, giving in to the Hezbulla's demands and pressuring Israel to stop before Hezbulla is defeated seems to be not in the best interest of Europe. Can't they see that this will end not only with more people hurt in our region, but also in building up radical Islam all over the world, something that should concern Europeans more than anyone else.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Taking Time off Tonight

Great news, for me at least. Hubby got an unexpected leave, and he's back home, just for tonight. I am taking time off the computer this evening. Had some thoughts for posts for tonight, but everything will wait for tomorrow!

Waiting for Today to Unfold

Nassaralla made some interesting promises yesterday. Apparently he has given the order for his people to launch rockets at points to the south of Haifa. Well, I guess it's "let's see what you've got, Nassy". The threat has been in the air for so long, I wonder how much there is to it. I noticed he didn't specifically say Tel Aviv. I guess launching his long-range Zilzals is out of the question (too easy to detect prior to launch), so let's see if he's got anything else interesting.

Another pearl of wisdom from his latest interview -
Nasrallah said his organization was ready to discuss an end to the fighting, but the dignity and national interest of Lebanon was what he termed a "red line," a reference to the heavy Israeli bombing and ground assaults on the country.

I think it's been long established the the national interest of Lebanon was either not on his mind when he launched recent attacks, or that his interpretation of that is quite different from that of most sane Lebanese people. That leaves us with the issue of dignity and honor. I've been wondering for a while what will be the point where Israel can stop the fighting, having reached a victory. What will be the tangible form of such a victory. In other words, what will make Hezbulla and its allies understand that they have indeed been defeated. I guess the answer lies within this dignity issue. I know, not very tangible after all. Thinking aloud here, I would be interested to hear some responses from people. What would be considered an ultimate blow to the Hezbulla? what would make them realize they have been brought down to their knees? to realize that attacking Israel is an exercise in futility that should never be tried again? Is it really a matter of physically killing every Hezbulla fighter and destroying every launcher? or is there a point before that where we will make them realize they have lost this war?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Personal Reflection on The War

I started a post about the reasons for the war, but I still have too much of a headache to deal with that right now. So... if you're looking for a political kind of post, either move on to another blog or come back tomorrow (hopefully, I'll be feeling better by then). Today, I just want to blog about my personal feelings regarding this war. What an average thirtysomething old Israeli mom is feeling right now, for what it's worth. Be warned, I am recovering frm a migraine, so not very focused and bound to ramble...

I returned home today with my two kids. We spent the night in the Golan Heights visiting my husband. He managed to get a few hours away from base and came over to spend the night with us in the Kibbutz where we stayed. We all slept there in his brother's family's home. The original plan was to spend the night in one of the nice B&B units they have on the Kibbutz, but these were all taken up by I guess should be called Israeli refugees, though we call them evacuees.

Anyhow, I had this migraine coming up from yesterday morning. My special painkillers (designed for horses, no less) helped to some extent and saved me from a full blown migraine, but I just had this throbbing pain in my head, some nausea and a dry mouth (a side effect of the painkillers), all of which meant I was just lying there awake, through out the night listening to the constant artillery shells shooting from our side of the borders into Lebanon. It made me think about this whole absurd situation that we have landed in.

I was born in 1972. When I was just over one year old, the '73 war broke out and my dad was called into his reserve post. He stayed there for many weeks, until the war was over. I grew up with the story of how they took me and drove with me, as a baby, to see dad at the post, because he couldn't return home. Yesterday, thirty four years later, I was doing the same thing with my children. Taking them to see their dad posted away in an actual war.

See, this may come as a surprise to some people who live outside of Israel, but for my generation the early thirty-something people, this is our first actual war. We were way too young to remember the big war of '73. The first Lebanon war is a vague memory - all I recall is that the TV kept showing our soldiers from the front saying hi to their moms and wives back home. And then they started getting killed and everyone was real sad. I was 10 back then. Then it turned into this war of attrition that lasted a long while, but no longer effected our daily lives. Then, there's the Gulf War in '91. Exciting times, no doubt. I could write a whole post about my memories from back then, sirens, sealed rooms, gas masks. Huge fun (not). Very scary. But that wasn't really our war. It was far away from here, and while our lives were disrupted to the limit, it was still America's war - not ours.

This one is different now. It was very sudden and unpredicted (at least for us civilians - not sure what our intelligence services predicted). It started out as this massive katyusha attacks on the norther border towns, breaking six peaceful years there. It was disappointing, but we still didn't realize just how bad this is going to be. I mean, it has happened before, rockets on our northern border, but it usually stopped after a day or two. This time, it went on, then intensified, then increased in range to cover a major city like Haifa.

Next thing I know, I was sitting with a tired husband (a military man) in our living room, and he got this phone call telling him he is now officially called in for his reserve post (different then his regular one at times of peace). When I saw him pack his bag for a long stay, not knowing when he'll be back, then it hit me. We're at war. A real war. Like the ones my parents went through when I was a baby. Like the one we grew up being told will never happen again. That kind of war, where they call in the army and young soldiers get killed daily.

Seeing my husband again yesterday, in field uniform, tired, carrying an M-16, hugging our children and drinking in those few precious hours we had together brought about these thoughts. Sitting there with him, on a mound of earth, just outside the base where he was positioned, listening to the artillery thundering in the background and explaning to our kids what the racket was all about, why daddy has to carry a gun, and most of all, why he's not coming back home anytime soon... I guess to some people this may seem like what they had assumed was a natural Israeli existence. Let me tell you it is very much not the case.

Until two weeks ago, when that Shi'ite guy with the funny hat went crazy, we lived a perfectly normal life. I used to nag my husband everyday to come back home early, cause the kids need to see him. When he would say he was busy at work, I would reply curtly, "please, what's the big deal? is there a war going on?" lol, he reminded me of this last night, when we were lying in bed together, whispering to each other, not to wake up the kids sleeping on matresses next to us. Yup, there's a war going on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Up in the North

On a spur of a moment decision, we headed north this afternoon. I am posting this from my brother-in-law's house in the Golan Heights. As you know, my husband is stationed in the North, and with no leaves on the horizon, we just miss him too much (and him us). He called this afternoon and said he is around the Golan Heights for the day and we decided to get together. I packed the kids, and another BIL (thank God, four of them around) and we drove up north. I guess some people might think it's a bit irresponsible. I know my mom would (she doesn't know we're here - I'll tell her tomorrow when we get back). But, I figured the odds of being hit by a missile were slim (the Golan Heights is relatively quiet) and it's good for the kids to see their dad.

You can easily tell when you drive up the Galille when you enter the missile range. Fewer vehicles on the road. Many of them military vehicles carrying supplies and ammunition. Once you reach the area of Sefad and north of it, the sky turns a darker shade with smoke. Kiryat Shmona is surrounded by quite a few fires in the fields and we could see the airplanes flying over to put them out.

We only got to spend half an hour with my husband. He waited for us in the gates of the base where he is stationed this evening. The kids were all over him (ok ok, so was I). We just sat outside, on the dry earth, listening to the constant artillery blasts in the background, talking and hugging. It was well worth it to me. With any luck, I get to see him again tonight, later in the night when he's done with his duties. His plan is to come over here to where we stay and spend the night (or what's left of it) with us. He will leave at dawn, so I doubt the kids will see much of him.

It was funny, coming here, driving along familiar roads (we often drive up here on holidays) and noting all the towns and settlements along the way where rockets hit over the past few weeks. The route takes us through Kiryat Shmona, Rosh Pina, Sefad, Nazareth and more... Tomorrow I will be heading back home. Depending on some issues here, I may be driving home alone with the kids. I'll be more than happy to be back safe at home, I can tell you as much.

See you all there!

Heading North

My husband has been moblisied last week and he's up in the north. We miss him too much and we have a rare opportunity today to drive up and see him. So, just a quick note to let everyone know I am on my way north with the kids. We'll be driving through the Galillee, which will be the more dangerous part of the trip, but not too many cars on the roads so I guess that balances out the risk ;) We'll be spending the night on the Golan Heights and planning on being back here within 24 hours.

If I can, I'll login from there and post more. Bye for now.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Today's Update and a comment on the Lebanese stand

I guess in Lebanese terms this isn't a heavy toll, but here it is. A barrage of rockets on Haifa and the Galilee. Two people were killed this morning, over 90 people injured through out the day.

Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, morale seems better, from what I can see. The overall sense is "what else can they do to us? we know how bad it can get, we're there, now it's time to kick some Hezbulla ass".

One of the headlines today is about possible negotiations with the Hezbulla -
Lebanese parliament speaker says Hizbullah has agreed that Lebanese government
hold negotiations on prisoner exchange deal with Israel through third party;
earlier Lebanese foreign minister says two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by
Hizbullah safe and well

Reading the comments on the internet sites (in Hebrew), the general opinion is that Nassaralla is getting weaker and tired and that now's the time to push forward and topple him over. People realize this will take time, but his words today, mocking the Israeli army, are interpreted as indicating a state of panic, more than anything else. He was making fun of the fact that it took the IDF 3 days to take over one Hezbulla controlled village, but people here realize all too well why this is taking time.

The one thing though is, that by offering to negotiate, the Lebanese government is putting itself in a dangerous position. Here's why. The general public here is having a hard time following the inner complexities of Lebanese government and society as it is. Many people here urge the government to just strike out at anything Lebanese, in an effort to pressure the Lebanese government into restraining Hezbulla. Others, myself included, are saying that the Lebanese government is too weak, and should not be expected to do much, so we should indeed focus on Hezbulla only. After all, Lebanon kept saying that they can't reign in the Hezbulla, that they have no effect on them.

But now, we see that the Lebanese government still has open channels of communication with the Hezbulla. The way I see it, it is offering the Hezbulla a ladder to get off the tall tree it has climbed. That would mean the survival of Hezbulla in the same form as it is now. How is that in the best interest of Lebanon? It makes the Lebanese government look as if it cooperates with the Hezbulla, not fighting against it. And that doesn't look good from here. The Lebanese government needs to make up its mind - is it with the Hezbulla or against it? I can't see how you can hold this burning stick from both ends.

Sirens went off in the most Southern point in Israel

And that just happens to me the town next to me, about two miles to the north of my town. So far no hits reported, but still a bit scary. I have my younger son here at home with me, the other one at kindergarten. My mom just called to let me know about the whole thing, asking if maybe I should go get my kid back home. I called hubby, he said, no way lol. He said the sirens probably went off by mistake, not that he knows for sure, he's just guessing.

Jean commented on a post here that the rockets are a psychological weapon and that is very true, of course. It's why they're terror acts, by definition carried out to terrorize civilians. I think in a sense, Nassaralla is losing the edge there. Yesterday, a senior Israeli officer noted in a press conference, that Nassaralla is pretty much using up his cards. What other threats can he carry out next? fire thousands of rockets at us? he already did that, and we've seen what it's worth. It's not pleasant, by far. It's something we can't live with. But it's not going to break out spirits or make us quit. Quite the opposite.

I was driving my kid to kindergarten this morning and one thing I noticed was the flags and stickers. Israelis are terrible when it comes to bumper stickers lol, they just love communicating with those. Lots of cars have a blue and white sticker today that simply says "we shall win". Lots of houses just have the blue and while flag waving. It's been a while since the Israeli public felt so united. We haven't had a "no choice" kind of war since 1973... something nice and cozy about it in that respect. People aren't feeling guilty over the casualties in Lebanon either. That is not to say they are no sorry for them - they are. They just feel it's entirely the Hezbulla's fault.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My kids and the war

What a day... or more accurately, what an afternoon. My younger son, Dan, decided today was a good day to demonstrate to us what projectile vomiting is. He did it three times within an hour and a half, which was a bit scary. He wouldn't even hold water down... we ended up calling the doctor (it's Saturday - Shabbath - clinics are all closed). By the time the doctor arrived, he was ok again. No fever, no other symptoms, just vomiting. I confess, cleaning up vomit isn't one of my favorite things, so I really hope he's had enough and I won't have to clean a messy bed in the middle of the night...

Anyway, I did wonder if the current situation didn't have something to do with it. I know the kids really miss their dad. He's a very involved father, spends a lot of time with the kids and has a very good bond with them. He has been away from home on duty before, for 2-3 days at a time. This time it's longer, and also we can't tell them when he'll be back. I know it's upsetting for them. Well, upsetting for us as well :( I guess we shouldn't complain really, other people, on both sides of the border, are expriencing this war in worse ways.

Speaking of projectiles, I have a few pictures to share from today. I hope no one takes it the wrong way too, so I better start with some background. Although we had no direct hits in our town, the kids are aware by now that rockets are hitting Israel. It worries them, obviously. Today, Ron, my eldest, wanted to know what a rocket is exactly and how does it work. So, his grandfather suggested shooting some rockets lol. He brought out our rocket launcher for some rocket shooting... and they all had a great time.

Mind you, this was 100% playtime. We never told them to shoot it at anyone (no imaginary enemies or anything), hey, they were shooting at themselves, basically, as those rockets fall back on your head (good thing they have a sponge warhead lol). This was just pure fun, very funny and now they are no longer afraid of rockets hitting our town, after all, they're just made of sponge!

The little one is Dan, the projectile vomitter, the medium sized guy is Ron, my eldest. The older kid there with them is Hilel, their cousin and the even older kid is Amos, their grandpa.

Rockets hitting again,7340,L-3279581,00.html

Seemed like things were calmer, but there we go again, rockets launched on many Israeli towns. Fortunately, not too many people staying there, the ones that are there are protected, and the Hezbulla rockets aren't that effective anyway.

There's always talk about a ceasefire in the air. I wonder, if the Hezbulla were just to stop shooting rockets at us, we would have a hard time bombing them for much longer. I guess in that respect, it's in their hands.

Anyway, no time for a long post today, I'm with the kids and need to keep them entertained. Hoping to post more later tonight.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My good night post

With hubby away up north, for who knows how long, I find myself with less posting time here. I manage to get one serious post a day so far (lol, ok, ok, it's only been a few days), but I want to try and add a good night post too, something to sum up my day with.

As far as the fighting went on, I think we had a fairly usual day. More rockets launched at Israeli towns, dozens of injured people, nobody killed. Lots more bombs on South Lebanon and Shi'ite neighborhoods, probably quite a few people killed. Some ground operations near the border, with casualties on both sides. How awful that we actually have a routine going on by now, sigh.

The Israeli chief of Staff explained today in a press conference why Israel is going to begin a limited ground operation. You can read it here -,7340,L-3279496,00.html

To me, the most important part of what he said was this -
“This conflict was forced upon us – we didn’t choose it. Terror activity is what brought us there. We withdrew from Gaza and Lebanon not planning to go back. But this cannot be used against us. We will fight terrorism wherever it is. Because if we don’t fight it, it will fight us. If we don’t reach it first, it will reach us.”
This pretty much reflects the general view in Israel, and it is why our government has such wide support for its actions. This war is not even seen as a pre-emptive strike. It's seen as an act of pure self defense. One day the border was peaceful, the next, rockets and mortar shells rained down on civilian towns on our side. What were we supposed to do?

Is the IDF using too much force? maybe so, hard to say. I think it's using it in a relatively precise manner, targeting Hezbulla targets almost exclusively. Most of Beirut, other than the Shi'ite neighborhoods that used to harbor the Hezbulla, are unharmed. They still have electricity, running water and are out of harm's way. Most ocasualtieslities are from bombings of Hezbulla targets. No, those children were not Hezbulla fighters, and I hurt for their deaths, as much as anybody else. But, I am angry at the Hezbulla for setting up their military infrastructure where these children live. The fingers should be pointed at them for using these children as a human shield.

It's past midnight here, and I want to end this post in a positive tone. Over the past few days I came to know some very special people on the other side. Blogging here and visiting other blogs gives me some hope, in seeing that there are like minded peace loving people on the other side. It's a shame that we only get to know each other because of the war. Maybe it's time to use the Internet in a more orderly way to try and bring people together here in the Middle East.

Good night and peace to all.

More about civilian targets

A Lebanese commenter on several blogs had posted this link yesterday -

It's a link to a story run on CNN. The description is: "A defiant Hezbollah representative takes CNN's Nic Robertson on a tour of damage in Lebanon".

I found this piece to be a great example of the shallow and uncritical coverage of this war by CNN. Mr. Robertson here skills as a reporter seem to revolve around his ability to run in the streets of this Shi'ite neighborhood, constantly asking about the (probably very real) possibility that him and his crew will be caught within an Israeli bombardment. I am not even sure he is listening to what his Shi'ite host is telling him. He certainly fails to actually interview him, as in ask him the very questions I would expect a journalist to ask.

The Hezbulla's rep there is obviously well trained and does a very good job. He sets his agenda as the very start, telling us what it is we are about to see, leaving no room for any other interpretation. He is about to show us how Israel bombs civilian buildings, unexpectedly and without warning. He will "prove" that these are nothing but mere civilian targets, not the Hezbulla HQ's that Israel claims they are.

The rest of the show is pretty much the shame. Mr. Robertson and his new friend, running among the rubble. The Hezbulla guy keeps pointing out at elements showing us that this is indeed a place of living for many people (or was), shops, apartment building, certainly not the setting of a military barracks. He addresses the camera, not the reporter, telling the cameraman "shoot me" (obviously the cameraman is unarmed lol), taking control of the whole scene, and leaving Nic Robertson to his own worries ("so, the jets can actually hit us at any moment? You mean, there are actually above us in the air right now? You're really worried about another strike right now? How dangerous is it in this neighborhood right now?")

What Mr. Robertson fails to do is ask the very basic question. Yes, these are civilian buildings, not military barracks. Why then did the Hezbulla choose to place its headquarters, as well as ammunition depots in the very heart of this formerly peacefully neighborhood? Why did the "innocent civilian inhabitants" agree to this? How come this did not happen in the Christian neighborhoods - obviously other Lebanese managed to prevent their neighborhoods from becoming the headquarters of a terrorist organization...

The Hezbulla's spokesperson there (a very talented young man by the way), turns this "report" into pure Hezbulla propaganda, not once interrupted by Mr. Robertson with any semblance of criticism. "Where is the world?" he calls out, "we are under fire! Help us!" And he goes on to lament the vicious attack of Israel on his town. How about asking him, Mr Robertson, "Why on earth did you attack Israel on your own accord a week ago?? Why did you open fire on innocent civilians in Israel??" When he finally does get around to feebly mentioning the two kidanapped soldiers, he allows the Hezbulla guy to give him a long and very twisted speech, about how Israel has been destroying Lebanon since 1982, how Israel is occupying Lebanon... I had to check the date on the page there for a minute, to make sure I wasn't looking at a story from the late 90's...
He keeps on lying, totally uninterrupted "we have never been to Israel, we never attacked Israel, our action is never an action it's always a reaction". All proven wrong 9 days ago.

Only by the end of the story, does Robertson finally ask, "they say you are also hitting civilians". But then, how conveniently, he is told that Israeli jet fires are coming and this so called interview comes to an abrupt end.

So much for investigating journalism. At the bottom of the screen there it says, "Live, On Demand Video - All Commercial Free". I don't know, looks to me like a well produced Commercial for the Hezbulla, maybe they mean it's free for them?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Shi'ite voice

Been spending some time last night and today as well, reading blogs by Lebanese writers. I was also reading the many, many comments on some of the more popular ones. Ignoring the racist hatemongers (from both sides), I generally saw the following -
Lebanese (Christian or Suni I think) lamenting the destruction of their country, criticizing Hezbulla for starting all of this, explaining how weak and powerless their goverment is and complaining about what they perceive as Israel's heavy handed and unbalanced response.
Israelis saying again and again how they don't hate Lebanon, wish the Lebanese people nothing but peace and prosperity, reminding everyone that Israel had been attacked and explaining that there is no other way for us to retalliate other than that.

The Shi'ite voice, the voice of actual Hezbulla supporters is a lot harder to track down. Naturally, I guess by now most of them don't have internet access, and even when they did, I wonder how many tend to go online... but I did find one, and his words, directed at the Lebanese posters, not even at Israelis are very telling -

As far 'peace' and 'prosperity', this is a meaningless concept if there is no justice or honour. What's sociopathic is not me but the idea that Israel and the idiot moderate Arabs leaders think that any self-respecting human being would rather choose the Club Med, lame European 'peace' life after all the crimes and injustices committed in the name of 'peace' in the decades since the creation of Israel. Far from self-inflicted
racism this is called self-respect. People who have maintained a little bit of their humanity (unlike animals in human form like you) actually fight injustices like a foreign occupation or corrupt, lying, stealing governments. That's the difference between a 'sociopath' like me and 'civilized' person like you.The thing that really f***s with the Israelis, you and all the assorted pro-Western Lebanese is that the Shia and Hizbullah changed Lebanese identity after the civil war. It's about the definition of Lebanon, and the thing f***s with you is that you can no longer alone decide what Lebanon is. You still can't get over it that Lebanon is no longer that bullshit phantasy of pre-1975. That 'not bad place in the context of the Arab world' was a horrible place for the majority of Shia and thank God it's gone forever. Take your 'peace' and 'prosperity' and stick it where the sun don't shine.
Posted by Katyusha as a comment to this post

I really do think this sums it up. When people think peace and prosperity and living a good life should be despised, when the moral values that rule their world are respect and honour and they are happy to kill and die for them, then we end up with a brutal bloody war. How sad, sigh. So, what do we do next? I am asking the sane Lebanese this question. The ones that prefer to bring peace and prosperity back into the sun. Know what, I don't even expect us to be great friends, just for both countries to live side by side, with its inhabitants enjoying prosperity and a peaceful life. How do we achieve that? In light of what the Shi'ite are saying and doing, what would you suggest as a solution at this stage?

Looks like this is going to take even longer...

Today is the eighth day of fighting. Fighting that started so unexpectedly to us, by the Hezbollah raining rockets and mortar shells on Israeli towns along the border last Wednesday.

I didn't have much computer time so far today. My husband is here this morning, a rare occurrence for this week. He will be leaving again this afternoon, this time probably for longer.

I am going to spend the next few hours with him and the kids. From then on I'll be a single mom for who knows how long... I will update this blog with more news and my own thoughts later tonight.

Something about the numbers of casualties

You know, we've had so far 16 Israeli civilian casualties in this war. I have heard several people noting that Lebanon has had roughly 10 times more casualities among its civilians. Something occured to me today regarding this.

Israelis have been getting very specific guidelines from our homefront commands. Many Israelis have either shelters or what we call "secure rooms", which are essentially mini-shelters within your homes. Now, these were funded by us, private citizens. The new regulations, in place since the Gulf War state that every new house had to have a secure room. No matter where you live. That room adds around $5000 to your home price, so not cheap, but you will not get a building permit without one. Hence quite a large section of the population her have some sort of shelter from the rockets.

Of those who live in affected areas and do not have a sheltered space, many have opted to get our the missile range. It was even encouraged, and there are many families from the south and center of Israel who are taking in families from the north. It's our own version of refugees, if you like, only we tend not to leave ours out on the streets, but take them into other homes.

Anyway, my point is that the majority of the Israeli population is relatively secure from the effects of the Hezbulla's attacks. Sure, it's annoying staying in shelters for days on end (imagine that, kids and all, not much fun), and a holiday with your relatives, not to mention total strangers, can be a stressful even at times, but at least you live. As a country, we are coping with this threat. Had we not done this, had we not made sure people had shelter, had people not taken care of themselves, the numbers would have been different. I'm not sure we would have reached the same numbers, but it would have been closer, I do believe. Does make me wonder, and I don't mean to upset anyone, I just really am curious as to why the Lebanese don't have similiar mechanisms on their side.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Letter from Lebanon

I got an interesting email yesterday from a Lebanese guy by the name of Jad Aoun. Jad is not in Lebanon right now, but his family is. He was kind enough to grant me permission to quote his email here. I prefer to provide my reply here, so maybe we can get some discussion going.

This is what Jad wrote me -
I’ve been reading your blog with great interest. I really enjoy your candid and true feelings towards the horrible developments in our countries. Let me first introduce myself. I’m a 23 year old Lebanese working in the UAE. I grew up in the States during the Lebanese civil war but my parents returned to Lebanon in 1993 so I experienced first hand Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996 and subsequent attacks on the Lebanese infrastructure in 1998 and 2000. I saw a lot of destruction in my teens plus my house in Lebanon was near a power distribution station that had been hit by Israeli war planes on numerous occasions. I can honestly tell you that sound of rockets falling and jet fighters screeching still haunt me to this day. Your decision to continue life as usual is probably the best thing you can do for your children and I commend you on it. I did not have that option.
As I mentioned earlier, I currently live in Dubai but my younger sisters and parents are in Lebanon. I was very angry with Hezbollah’s unilateral decision to attack Israel last week. It was, in my opinion, an uncalculated decision with a foreseeable response from Israel (which makes me question Hezbollah’s true motives and allegiance). You’re right, the Lebanese government should reign in Hezbollah but that’s quite easy to say but it is impossible to do. Everyone says that the government is weak – that is true – but it is important to understand why it is weak.
Ever since Lebanon gained its independence, its political system was centered on a weak central government where minorities had almost as much sway as majorities. The political system does not allow one party, one group or one religious sect to have full control of the government. That is why Lebanon never had a dictator unlike the other Arab countries. Lebanon’s “accommodation democracy” ensured that no decision can be reached without a consensus. This leads of course to long debates and discussions until all groups agree on a resolution (which is always a water-downed version of the initial resolution). Because of this, the Lebanese government cannot disarm Hezbollah without the approval of the some of the Shiites. The Christians, Sunnis and Druze want Hezbollah disarmed but the Shiites do not – and Lebanon’s political system provides minorities with the power to derail majority rulings. The government has been actively discussing the disarmament of Hezbollah for the past two months. You can’t expect the Lebanese government to enforce disarmament now, in the middle of a war, when it wasn’t able to (yet) during peace. So unless there is a ceasefire first, Israel’s demand to disarm Hezbollah is unlikely to happen.

I’ve been in contact with friends and family in Lebanon and all are confused by Israel’s conditions to end hostilities. Israel wants the Lebanese army to deploy to the South. However, Israel has so far attacked two army barracks and killed tens of soldiers. So why would the Lebanese army deploy near the border? So that they can be easier targets for Israeli rockets? It makes no sense. In addition, Israel says it is attacking the ‘terror’ infrastructure in Lebanon. So why destroy trucks transporting medicine or gas stations? Why attack wheat silos? I don’t think its 'terror’ wheat; I’m sure its just wheat for making bread.

I have already thanked Jad in person about his analysis of Lebanese politics (very insightful for me). We have exchanged words about our families. One thing that is surely uniting us at this time is worrying over family members caught in the line of fire. I have also had further word from him, letting me know that they are fine for now. They live in the Christian area of Beirut and have not been directly affected by Israel's actions.

Now, I would like to address some of Jad's questions.

Israel wants the Lebanese army to deploy to the South. However, Israel has so far attacked two army barracks and killed tens of soldiers. So why would the Lebanese army deploy near the border? So that they can be easier targets for Israeli rockets? It makes no sense.

Israel is fighting the Hezbulla, and not the Lebanese army. From what I have heard, there were incidents where the Lebanese army seems to have assisted Hezbulla. Once such incident was the bombing of the Israeli Navy ship, where radars operated by the Lebanese army were used to guide the Hezbulla's Iranian made missiles. In such instances, the IDF retalliates againt the Lebanese army.

Another point to keep in mind is possible mistaken identity. It's not always easy telling from the air who is whom. Even easier to confuse militia/military personnel, then military and civilians. With so many civilians killed, I would be surprised if the Lebanese army had no casualties.

So, how can we expect them to deploy near the border? Easy. It should be a clear and fully declared announcement by the Lebanese government. The Lebanese government should have a fully operational plan on how to carry this out, announce it to the world and to Israel. I can assure you that such a coordinated plan will mean no attacks on the Lebanese military. I am not an official spokeperson for my government, but I think such a declared change of policy followed by a clear operational plan including a sensible (i.e. short) timetable will probably grant you an immidiate ceasefire from this side, at least for 24-48 hours (to see that things are indeed being implemented).

In addition, Israel says it is attacking the ‘terror’ infrastructure in Lebanon. So why destroy trucks transporting medicine or gas stations? Why attack wheat silos? I don’t think its ‘terror’ wheat; I’m sure its just wheat for making bread.

You know, it can be extremely difficult to tell from the air what is what. Also, even if you do read your aerial shots correctly, things are not always what they seem to be. We have had experience in that department with the Palestinians when they smuggled explosives in ambulances... A wheat silo may be just a wheat silo, or it could be a camouflaged ammuntion depot. There have been so many trucks coming in from Syria carrying more weapons for the Hezbulla over the past few days. Many of them have been destroyed by Israel, though probably not all. They are being supplied with more weapons all the time, and it's part of our war effort to prevent that. They don't write "Ammunition Supplies" in big bold letters on the trucks either. On the contrary, they probably draw the red cross mark on them.

Last, but not least, there is certainly some damage done to civilian infrastructure, in an effort to pressure the Lebanese government into action. As far as I know, most, if not all of it, is targeted at the Shi'ite neighborhoods. I don't think it's a big secret that the Israeli airforce has the abilities to bomb the whole of Beirut into dust within days. We are not doing that. The response is controlled and relatively focused. As you mentioned in your second email, the Christian neighborhoods still have electricity, running water and food. I think that shows that Israel does exercise some moderation in its response.

Do I think the Israeli response is a bit too much. Hmmmm, I'm not sure there. On the one hand, as a peace activist, I don't like seeing any homes bombed, neither here, nor there. However, this time around, we really were attacked unprovoked and as far as I can see, for no justified reason. We need to re-establish our detterence, so that when this is over, countries and factions all around us will get the message. Lebanon is paying that price right now. I am sorry about that, I truly am, I just think the fingers should be pointed at the Hezbulla, not at us.

Hoping to read your response here Jad, and thank you so much again, for taking the time to write me. Trying not to sound too old here, but I really am amazed by what the Internet is doing in that respect. In previous wars, you and I could not have even discussed things. At least now we can talk. That's a step in the right direction :) Peace to you and your family - Ma'assalame.