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.

More and more rockets - two children just got killed

More rockets on the north of Israel this afternoon. A rocket attack on the town of Nazareth ended with two Israeli children dead. They were brothers, two boys, just playing inside when the rocket directly hit their house. Sigh. I don't even want to think of what their parents are going through right now, losing both their sons in a split second.

You can read more about today's attacks here

I will be blogging more later this evening. I need to get my two boys some outdoors activity and then we are all heading for bed. Since their dad is away, on military duty up in the north, I am going to do my daily walk again with them on the stroller. Not an easy task, mind you, but it's fun. Part of keeping routine going here. I try to do everything the same. The only difference about these walks, is me having mentally marked the places along our route where I can grab the boys and run for shelter. Not that I would tell them that. Let's hope we won't need that either.

Civilians in the Line of Fire

I just read a heartbreaking article in an Israeli newspaper. It was about three Palestinian babies that were recently injured from IDF missiles. One of them died in the hospital last week. The other two are severely wounded. One, a year and a half old baby has lost his eye sight, he may be paralysed as well, no one can tell at this point. The other one is a 3 years old girl that is paralysed from the neck down.

Why am I blogging about this? First of all, because it broke my heart. I have children of the same age here at home and if anything like this should happen to them, my life will be over. I can't even imagine what it feels like to lose your baby or have him severely injured in war time.

Many have asked me over the past few days about the IDF's use of force against civilians. Please, don't think for a minute that we don't think about them, or don't care. As a soldier in the IDF you are taught the value of human life. Not Israelis or Jews, but humans. Every military in the world has a doctrine, but ours also includes ethics. One core values of the IDF's ethics (also known as "The Spirit of the IDF") deals with the importance of human life.

Human Life - The IDF servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe
manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life.
During combat they will endanger themselves and their comrades only to the
extent required to carry out their mission.

Add to that the next core value -

Purity of Arms - The IDF servicemen and women will use their weapons and force
only for the purpose of their mission, only to the necessary extent and will
maintain their humanity even during combat. IDF soldiers will not use their
weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of
war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives,
bodies, dignity and property.
These are not just words. They are taught to every soldier and are a major part of any officer's training. What's more, there are also very practical advantages to avoiding harm to civilians. First, why alieniate the local population even more? I know none of the inhabitants of Gaza or Lebanon are Zionists, but still, no point in giving them even more reasons really. Another reason, is international public opinion. I realize that there too, those who don't like us will always find their reasons, but again, why add to that?

In short, rest assured that the IDF does its very best to avoid harm to civilians.

Which brings us to why then, are so many civilians getting hurt, in Gaza and now in Lebanon? Well, when the Hezbulla and Hammas position their military installations, and even launch the rockets themselves from within civilian population, they essentially put these civilians in the line of fire. And yes, they are doing this on purpose, using civilians as human shields.

But, this only sets the ground. It does not mean that the IDF simply shoots blindly at those civilians. The fact that the Hezbulla/Hammas turned them into human shields does not mean we are treating them as such. So, how come they still get hurt? well, that's war for you. Mistakes happen, and civilians that are caught in the line of fire often get hurt. It's sad, tragic even, but it's a fact of war. When your enemies operate from within civilian population, it happens too often.

Take for example the Palestinian babies from Gaza that I started this post with. This happened to be a well documented incident. The IDF was shooting at a very specific target, a van loaded with missiles that were intended for launching at Israel. The truck was located, it was ascertained that there were no civilians around. The IDF's first missile missed the van, no casualties at that point. A second missile was launched right away. Between the first hit and the second, Palestinian civilians crowded around the scene. When the second missile hit, they were hurt by the blast (a fairly large one, considering the cargo of explosives aboard the van).

Now, as a mom, I can tell you that if I were to hear a blast, I would not be running to the scene with a baby in my arms. The Palestinians are obviousy different in that respect. The IDF spokeperson explained that by the time they noticed that civilians were coming out of the houses and approaching the van, there was no way to stop the missile. Not without sending it into a house and causing even more civilian casualties.

I know for a fact that many operations are put on hold, and many launchers are not being fired at, simply because the IDF knows there are civilians around. They try to operate only when there are no civilians in the area. But, this is a war. Conditions change, literally by the second, and it's impossible to carry out an armed operation when your enemy is located among civilians, without any civilian casualties. We can do all we can to minimize the damage to civilians, but the only way to have it eliminated is by having the Hezbulla and Hammas move their military activities away from the villages and towns where those civilians reside.

Just saying Good Night

It's past midnight here, and I am on my way to bed. Just checking in one last time, to report tonight's events. Still more rockets landing all over the north. One person was killed, a 37 years old father who ran to the shelter with his family. They made it to the shelter before he did. His wife was standing there at the opening of the shelter and watched as he was hit by a rocket and killed on the spot. I just hope his kids where well inside the shelter and were spared the sight :(

You can keep track of the Israeli side of the civilian casualties on Israeli news sites. Haven't seen too much about it in foreign ones. These are pretty accurate, although naturally, they stress the Israeli side of things and the Lebanese casualities are delegated to the bottom of the page. With that said, if you want to keep track of things check out the following sites -

Hoping for a peaceful night here. I have plenty to blog about, but it'll have to wait for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Giving Birth Under Fire

So much for Nassaralla saying they tried not to hit civilians... A hospital was hit yesterday in the town of Sefad. As soon as I heard the name of the hospital, the first thing that occured to me was that this was the place where my sister-in-law gave birth to her children. And sure enough, the picture on the front page of the paper this morning, was of a women in labour being taken down to the shelter. There is something very dramatic about giving birth under fire. I remember the same in the Gulf war. Something very cpativating about how life doesn't stop, no matter what. You can postpone a lot of things, but when a baby's time has come to get into the world, there is no stopping that.

Giving birth, especially for the first time, can be a pretty stressful event. I can only imagine adding rocket explosions to that :( So, this post is for all the moms out there, going through labor and delivery right now, here and in Lebanon too. Let's hope these babies end up growing up in a more peaceful region than they had been born to...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sounds of War and a question

I just went to get myself a cup of coffee (decaf, I am on my way to bed soon). At first, I wasn't even sure, sounded too surreal, so I opened the door and went out to the porch, and sure enough, we can hear the sirens in towns to the north from here.

Add to that the fact that choppers and jets are doing shifts circulating over hour house, and I feel like I'm in some war movie lol Granted, no nearby explosions (though I did hear one in the distance today), but still a weird soundtrack.

Anyway, I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a question, so here goes.

Israel is getting a lot of criticism over shooting at civilians. Now, the reason we often shoot at civilians and civilian targets is because Hezbulla is using civilians as a human shield, launching rockets from villages. Hammas is doing the exact same thing in Gaza.

Now, to my question. What if Israel had some new automatic weapon system that would shoot back automatically at any rocket launcher. I mean 100% automatically, some sort of system that sits on our side of the border, notes when rockets are being launched, tracks the location of where it's been launched from and then fires. Hitting within, say, a 100 or 200 yards perimeter with some good fire power. Response time is immediate (or almost so).

Now, say we let everyone know that the system is in place, it's even been working a few times. So, if Hammas, or Hezbulla, launches a rocket, they know for a fact that the place from which they launched will be destroyed, within a 200 yards perimeter.

Now, what would you say, if they were still to continue launching from within civilian population? Would that still be Israel's fault when the system would automatically retaliate? or would it be considered their fault for having launched from within a populate village?

Israeli Public Opinion

Just a short post to note what I've been reading just now. Our news sites here have a popular feedback feature. Extremely popular lol, leading stories can get 200-300 comments in a couple of hours. What can I say, every 2 Israelis have 3 opinions. Anyway, reading those comments today doesn't make me very happy. Looks like people are getting angrier by the day... feelings of revenge and of "let our army hit them harder", people calling for the IDF to escalate the attacks on Lebanon.

The article itself I did like. It was an interview with a senior officer in the IDF who said that Israel will not escalate the war, even if the Hezbulla hits Tel Aviv. He said that Tel Aviv is just like any other settlement, no more, no less (that bit upset the Tel Avivians lol). Said that Israel does not want to reach the point where Lebanon will not be able to re-build its infrastructure. That the Israeli response is well measured, in that respect, and will not be escalated unless the Hezbulla escalates things by hitting strategic targets within Israel. Incidentally, the officer also mentioned that Israel is deliberately avoiding hitting Lebanese national treasures and tourists attractions, as we consider them to be strategic assets for Lebanon and don't want them destroyed beyond repair.

I have heard the Hezbulla is hoping for the Israeli public to panic and tire of the war, and put pressure on the government to reach a cease fire. Well, Nassy dear, you're acheiving the complete opposite so far. Israelis are getting angrier, but the pressure they apply is in the opposite direction...
Boy, did he get flamed! People went ballistic (pardon the pun). They said this was as good as providing Hezbulla with a license to hit Tel Aviv. That the IDF should not hold back and just erase any place in Lebanon where they suspect there are Hezbulla supporters and also hit targets that will increase pressure on the Lebanese government to act.

Well, a rockety day again

Just woke up from my afternoon nap, and there were more and more rockets launched at Israel today. A 3 storeys high building crashed down in Haifa from a direct hit. More rockets hit other civilian buildings. Not casualties so far, looks like most people headed south and so most places are empty up there.

Someone just asked me a question on ICQ, and it's something that I've been hearing quite a lot from friends in Europe. He asked why does Israel bomb Lebanon's international hardbour and airport, as well as civilians, instead of going after the Hezbulla's terrorists. Well, a worthy subject for a blog post, so here goes. Of course, I'm just an Israel mom, not an official spokesperson for my country. What's more I don't always agree with everything my government does. Israel is after all a democracy. So, if you're looking for some answers, and not propaganda, read my views on the subject.

I won't take the easy way out. The easy way out would be saying, hey, they're bombing our civilians, they're shooting rockets at our civilians, they paralysed the harbour of Haifa, and if only our international airport was within range, they would be going for that too, no doubt. But, I don't think this is an "eye for an eye" situation. I do not believe in that, nor do I believe in revenge. I believe in doing what we need to end the constant attacks on Israel and making sure they don't happen again a few weeks from now.

One of the main missions of this operation is re-establishing detrrence. This isn't just the Hezbulla either. This is for any radical terror organization and any neighboring country that is providing a shelter for them. We are trying to get a message across - you let terrorists shoot at us from your territory and you will pay a price. Lebanon is a sovereign country with well defined borders. They have a military, right? They should either take charge of their territory and make sure nobody is shooting at the neighbors, or they should declare this is no longer Lebanese territory and give it up. They can't have their cake and eat it too... Sure, no one is saying this is easy. I know, they keep telling us that the Lebanese government "can't" restrain the Hezbulla. Well, I'm sorry but they better come to their senses and quickly. They are not even making an effort, are they? I mean, the Hezbulla isn't even banned over there, it's a legitimate party with cabinet ministers. The Lebanese need to do just what Egypt and Jordan have done to restrain radical Muslims in their territories. Hey, even Syria won't allow Hezbulla or Hammas to shoot at us from their territory, and it's not because they're in love with us either. It's because they know we'll shoot back, and this is something we need to maintain, that perception that if you let a terror organization reside within your territory and act against Israel, you country will pay a heavy price.

Next, harbors and airports are actually considered legitimate targets at a time of war, according to international law. It means there is no way to bring in more ammunition into a country. Same goes for power stations, they are legitimate targets at a time of war. As I said above, I'm sure the Lebanese people are pretty pissed off at having their infrastructure torn down again, but they should have thought about that before allowing Hezbulla to take over the South of Lebanon.

Now to the more delicate issue, that of civilians getting hurt. According to international law, hurting civilians should be minimized at a time of war. It doesn't say eliminated because that's simply can't happen. Israel has done and is doing everything it can to avoid hurting civilians. Believe me, no one here wants to hurt inocent people. No one. We have families too, and we feel for the Lebanese families caught in this. My heart goes out to them. We don't want to hurt civilians for practical reasons too. It creates more and more international pressure on Israel, never a good thing for a country.

That said, the Hezbulla has knowingly engaged in the same methods as the Hammas. That is, it deliberately located its headquarters, ammunition depots and other legitimate military targets in the middle of civilian population. I have an interesting question in that regard for both supporters and critiques of Israel, but I'll run in on a separate post. Bottom line is, by fighting us from within populated areas, it's the Hezbulla that's putting civilians at risk. Why is Israel bombing cars where civilians get killed? Because when a rocket is launched, we can tell where it's been launched from, and when you see a van running away from there, you blow it up, because it's probably the guys that just launched the rocket. Unfortunately, that is not always the case... and civilians get hurt. That's war for you, a nasty business.

OK, I need to go now, time for my daily workout, part of our new policy here at home, of maintaining routine life. I'll be back later with more about the Israeli way of conducting a war, and maybe some more about the roots of this conflict, as well as the triggers for the recent fighting.

Taking a deep breath

Last night, after signing off here, I went to bed and found my DH there lol. He had said he was going to sleep upstairs at his parents' place, but then the kids asked him to stay with them, and he happily obliged, the softie, so much for discipline and routine...

He woke up when I got into bed and we started talking. He's a senior officer in the IDF and has been away up north all day long, not really listening to the news us civilians were exposed to. I told him how worried I was, and he gave me quite a pep talk. Said, the worse thing was worrying, as this is just what Nassaralla is after. He wants to terrorize us and we shouldn't let him. Said those weapons he has there are ridiculous, nothing to be afraid of. Sure, it's not nice being hit by a rocket, but the odds of that happening to one individual are still pretty slim. Said he worries much more about the kids when they are in the car on the way to kindergarten and back.

I asked what to do if I hear the sirens, shared the plan I had here, of grabbing the kids and running to my in-laws next door. Told him how worried I was at having to grab two kids by myself and run there, in the dark possibly, all in 3o seconds. He thought I went crazy lol. Said, no way, I am not to do that under any circumstance. He said it was way too dangerous, I could sprain an ankle on the way or something and besides it would traumatize the kids, and he won't have it. "So, what to do if I hear the sirens in the middle of the night?" I asked. His reply was, "Do nothing, just roll over and get back to sleep, best thing for you and the kids."

His reasoning is that by panicking I am causing direct damage to myself and the kids. Stress isn't good for anyone and the effects are certain. The threat from the missiles is a statistical occurence. There is a slim chance of being hit, but there's a 100% chance of being hurt by anxiety. What can I say, he made sense. My instructions for today are to keep away from news channels, work and re-focus on normal life. So... taking a deep breath here and continuing with life. That doesn't mean shutting myself completely from what's going on, just lowering the level of exposure and not turning into a nervous wreck. I'll post some more soon, about news and my own opinions about what's going on.

Signing off for tonight with more bad news

More rockets hit Israel tonight, about an hour ago. Closer to where we live than ever before... Nazareth was hit, as well as Afula (for those of you who want to look it up on Google Earth.

It's just past midnight here and I think I'll try and get some sleep. My husband is in the military and he's not sleeping with us tonight. He's had a long day today and is leaving before dawn tomorrow for another long shift... I guess I'll need my energies to handle the two rascals here. Who knows if they even go to kindergarten tomorrow.

Hope we have a peaceful night here. Good night everyone.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Things Escalating here tonight - Nassaralla's Speech

Kids are finally in bed. That is not to say that they are asleep. They keep calling me and asking me to stay with them, saying they're scared, but I resist temptation. I think it's healthier for them if we maintain a normal routine. As normal as possible anyway. We try to keep them away from the news, but we had to talk today about what happens if a siren goes off. We have about 30 seconds to run off to my in-laws' house (which is right next to ours), where they have a more sheltered space we can stay in (our house is tiny and with weak plaster walls, not the safest of places).

Anyway, this whole paragraph was to say that I finally have some time to sit down and reflect. Then I headed for the news sites, and I think an update is in order first. I have to say, browsing American media sites, like CNN and NBC news, they have very different headlines than what we have. Headlines in the American media seem to revolve around Israel's attacks and/or the G8 attempts at stopping the violence. Our headlines are about Nassaralla's latest speech from a couple of hours ago, where he made some interesting points and, well, ummm, promises.

Nassaralla said that up to now they have been avoiding civilian targets and focusing on military targets only. He said that since the IDF has deliberately bombed civilian targets only, they will now escalate their fighting and try to hit civilians as well.

Truth is, Israel has been avoiding civilian targets wherever possible. Sure, we bombed Hezbulla's headquarters wherever we thought they were. Alas, the Hezbulla, just like their Hammas pals, prefer to put their HQ in civilian buildings, in towns rather than in military bases of some kind. Well, sorry, stay out of civilian buildings, and we won't have to hit them, duh. I'm not even sure what he meant by saying they had been avoiding civilian targets so far. I guess they are very inaccurate? I mean, yes, they have fired at military bases, tanks and even a navy ship. I tend to agree that these are legitimate targets during wartime. No complaints there, Nassaralla. What confuses me is the amount of rockets fired at civilians. After all, the majority of the casualties were civilians? I guess we failed to note the Hezbulla's humanitarian efforts...

Anyway, back to Nassa's speech. He makes some nice promises there. Saying they are still well equipped, that we know nothing of the extent of their weapons, nor of the range. He does promise to reach as far as Tel Aviv with his rockets... and he also promises more surprises. Can't wait to find out what... :rolleyes: Looks like things are heading towards major escalation to me. No good news from here today, I'm afraid :(

Starting this blog

It's been a very tense day for me here today and I figured writing about things would make a good outlet for thoughts and feelings. It might also be a nice way for me to keep in touch with people. I have been receiving emails and notes from people from all over the world today, including a phone call right now from Turkey :) Thanks guys! It really is appreciated!

So, here are the basics. My name is Anne, or Annette, or Anat (that's the actual Hebrew name). I turned 34 two days ago. I live in a small town called Pardes Hana, which is located roughly between Haifa and Tel Aviv. We live a fairly peaceful life over here, myself, my husband, my two children (aged 2.5 and 4) and our three cats. I was thinking of blogging about our daily life here for a while now, keeping a record of life, just for ourselves to look back upon in years to come, and for friends to stay in touch. I guess the events of the recent few days make for a good catalyst, so here we go :)