Friday, April 05, 2002

Beautiful day today. Went for a walk down Emek Refaim and things seemed close to normal - it seems that now it only takes a couple of days of relative quiet to get people to go out again.

The bi-weekly crafts fair was happening. There's still lots of security: guards at storefronts, police, roadblocks. A cafe had a friendly looking security guard out front wearing a bright blue long sleeve shirt and an exposed pistol. And the media is around... I saw 2 camera crews (I think one was British; the other spoke French) .. and a car with multiple Danish flag stickers and "TV" written with masking tape on the side.

This latter trick (the "TV" thing) is done I think by most journalists that drive around the Palestinian territories. At the risk of oversimplifiying, it's code for "don't shoot me".
Seems that Blogger publishing is down for the moment...

Wednesday, my wife and I enjoyed a pleasant end-of-Passover holiday. It's especially relaxing to be disconnected from the media, web etc.

I was talking to a friend who has a low-stress job at the United Nations here. His Palestinian co-workers from Beit Jala and Ramallah were not able to come in to work for obvious reasons. His friend in Ramallah told him (by telephone) that he was afraid to look out his window.

Some people were talking about a segment on CNN where some Arab spokesmen were given the floor (and apparently used the Little Green Footballs Talking Points). Then this was "balanced" by ... none other than Yossi Beilin! Yossi Beilin.. the discredited Oslo architect and left-hand-man of the Barak government proceeded to explain that Israel should build Palestinian infrastructure and then they'll suddenly love us and stop the bombing and shooting.

According to an American friend, this kind of thing could never fly in the USA.... a politician who appeared on international television in a time of war and did a "root causes" talk would know that it would come back to haunt him in the next election. But Beilin is high enough up on Labor party's list (under Israel's proportional representation scheme) that he has his seat guaranteed.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

One person in my office received a tzav kria (call-up notice) - he photocopied it and tacked it on his bulletin board. The guy is a communications officer and is getting called up for a period of 3 wks starting several days off.

According to the Jerusalem Post, IDF chief Mofaz says that the current operation will take 4 wks. to complete - which is interesting because some Israeli pundits say that we need to finish much quicker than that.

It sounds like CNN is making exciting TV about the Bethlehem standoff. Haaretz says that the IDF is still denying having damaged the church complex - CNN's claim notwithstanding.

I'm much more interested in exactly what the operation is accomplishing (or not): Is the IDF killing or capturing Fatah and Hamas leadership? How much materiel and potentially informative documents are being uncovered? Do the Palestinian casualties consist mostly of combatants (it seems that way, because if it weren't, CNN et. al. would be making sure that we heard about it)?
Most of you are American or Canadian, and came from Andrew Sullivan, Slate, or National Review.

I'm trying to update more frequently, but this isn't easy given my requirements for work and family time. "Writing off the top of your head" doesn't work for me, but if I update a little less I hope the result will be a better quality blog.

Most of the email I got is encouraging. Some people want to know more about me. A few people wrote some specific comments or questions that I hope to respond to either personally, or here in the blog.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Reports are that 20,000 IDF reservists are being called up with another 11,000 in the offing. None of my friends have been called up so far, though when I return to work on Thursday I'm sure some people will be in miluim (as we call it). My brother-in-law has a 40-ish tank-engineer Orthodox friend with 7 kids who has been called in; he also has a woman friend who is distraught over 2 of her sons who are again on active duty.

After I dropped off my brother-in-law by the buses at Binyanei Hauma last night, I saw a lot of emergency vehicles racing about. Turned on the radio (station Galgalatz), but all that I heard was Peter Gabriel. It was on the hourly news 10 minutes later that they mentioned the "thwarted" suicide bomber near the Russian Compound who "only" managed to blow up himself and the Border Policeman who stopped his vehicle.

I went to a DVD rental place and they still don't have a security guard. Watched half of a really bad Keanu Reeves movie, then switched to an old Simpsons episode (comic relief is important in times like this).
Thanks for all the emails and links. I'll try to catch up on emails in the coming days.
Some might find this surreal or creepy, but here's an email I got at work yesterday ...

From: Xxxxxxx, Xxxxxx
Sent: Sun, March 31, 2002 1:41 PM
To: - All xxxxxx Employees;
Subject: Employees Carrying Weapon

Hello All,

All the company employees that are carrying weapon should contact Xxxx Xxxx -security officer, to clarify a few details about the policy of carrying weapon at work.

Wow! Thanks to Diana Moon and Glenn Reynolds for the links. Thanks also to everyone who emailed with support and suggestions.

Monday, April 01, 2002

These days here in Jerusalem, a security guard is posted outside just about every place that you might go. In front of Mega-groceries the other night there were two middle-aged guys standing in front with long guns and their fingers on the trigger. I got stuck for 10 minutes while driving down Emek Refaim because of a roadblock. These roadblocks apparently engage in"racial profiling", since many people were getting waved through - though yours truly was stopped and "carded".

Today I was in a computer shop when news of the suicide bombing in Haifa went out. After that, the live radio report was everywhere that I went and made everyone jumpy and irritable. It's better to be at work where I get this info from the web.

Maariv reported that 93% of Israelis support the current actions against the Palestinian Authority. I'm one of them of course... I just hope that the people in charge have a well thought out plan for the different contingencies(a "decision tree" I guess).

What I've seen in American and European media is a total disconnect between what Israel is doing in Ramallah and the 60 or so Palestinian bombings of the past month. Let me inform anyone reading that it is in fact the case that the latter that has predicated the former. Instead of saying "Arafat hangs up on CNN to dodge terrorism question", an AP dispatch said that he "criticized pro-Israeli bias".

I really truly sincerely would like to understand these Europeans who have come here to express solidarity with Arafat.

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Henry Kissinger on real Palestinian goals:

" ...For after the experiences of Oslo, Israelis know (as should the rest of the world) that the real division among Palestinians is not between those who want peace in the Western sense – as a point after which the world lives free of tensions with a consciousness of reconciliation. In reality, the number of Palestinian leaders holding this view is minuscule. The fundamental schism is between those who want to bring about the destruction of Israel by continuing the present struggle, and those who believe that an agreement now would be a better strategy to rally forces for the ultimate showdown later on. "