Thursday, October 10, 2002

Please bear with me while I deal with various issues that demand a lot of attention.

On the Channel 2 news tonite they described today's scene where 2 men pinned down the suicide bomber but then released him, enabling him to complete his attack which killed a 71-yr. old grandmother. Channel 2 talked about how difficult it is for security officials and bystanders to decide what to do. What would have happened if someone had shot the would-be bomber while he was pinned down?

I didn't manage to piece together what happened in Khan Yunis earlier this week - maybe the weekend papers will do that.

Question to my regular readers: Do you read Jpost and/or Haaretz on a daily basis? To Dash: can you send me your email address?

One of the best segments at last night's concert (see immediately below), was Steve Hancoff doing a steel guitar rendition of the old Hebrew folk song Shir Haemek.
Peter Himmelman, Steve Hancoff, and Andy Statman performed an "appreciation" concert tonite for a large audience of IDF soldiers, Magen David Adom workers, volunteer organizations, and 5 yuppies from Katamon who managed to talk their way in.

They're also doing concerts in a bunch of out-of-the-way places like charming desert town Mitzpe Ramon and terror-stricken Hadera, which I think is pretty neat. Included on the bills are well-known Israeli musicians like Matti Caspi and Shlomo Gronich - which in addition to being charming makes the show more accessible to people who don't like improvisation.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

This really shouldn't be necessary, but Saeb Erekat's April 10 assertion on CNN that 500 Palestinians were killed in Jenin appears here.
MIDDLE EAST (Cnn) -- In the "profughi slaughter" to the field of Jenin they have been killed more than 500 Palestinian. Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiators has asserted, in a declaration to Cnn
(from CNN Italy - Translation by Google)


Here's Erekat on CNN on April 15 where he clearly alludes to his earlier accusation:
Look, Bill, I told you yesterday, if the number of Palestinians who were killed in that refugee camp is as small as they say, I'm willing to come to Jenin and say we made a mistake. But when Sharon tonight says it's not dozens, but it's not 500, what is it, 400, 300? What is it? And the point is about the civilians. Where are the civilians in this refugee camp? Is there a refugee camp left?

You know, I have a list of 1,600 Palestinians now from this refugee camp who called me. People are missing their mothers, their fathers, their daughters, their husbands, their wives, their little children, families that were fragmented, families that haven't seen anything other than the atrocities and war crimes in this refugee camp. And I stand that there were crimes committed in this refugee camp. This was a flagrant violation of the international law. And I stand by the term massacres were committed in the refugee camps. And I know for sure that witnesses told me that they dug various graveyards and had buried a lot of people...

Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry at the "Electronic Intifada" say that "no Palestinian ever made the charge that 500 people had been killed in Jenin" - but it can't be that they are unaware of this CNN transcript.... so what does that make them?
Evelyn Gordon surveys Palestinian speeches to determine what they consider to be the accomplishments of the two-years of violence (here), and reaches the conclusion:

Israelis, Americans and Europeans have frequently found the ongoing Palestinian support for the violent conflict inexplicable. Over and over during the last two years, statesmen, journalists and ordinary people have asked the same question:

How is it that the Palestinians have failed to realize that violence undermines their cause? But if the "cause" is to hurt Israel rather than to promote the Palestinian welfare, the deep commitment to the intifada makes perfect sense.

Monday, October 07, 2002

The film "Jenin Diary" was on TV tonite. It was interesting but not pleasant to watch ... The film was made by an IDF reservist who filmed members of his reserve unit as they conducted repeated operations in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield last spring (my weblog entry from then). It's a series of vignettes, starting a day or so after the ambush in the Jenin refugee camp in which 13 of the reservists were killed, and ending when they finally go home a several weeks later.

There's a small amount of context provided for the various clips, but no description of the "larger picture". Everything is shown from a single perspective - that of the soldiers. Most of the clips are interviews with or discussions between the reservists - who mostly come across as very human - or frail even. The themes that are repeatedly dealt with are: what it's like to be in a war, war is hell, what it's like to see your friends die, why were reservists sent to do the work of an elite unit, why were they so poorly prepared, why did they just follow orders.... There's lots of arguments among the soldiers, but very little of it is about politics.... once they are there, the soldiers are concerned about performing their mission and getting out alive.

There's scenes of tanks moving through wrecked Jenin, a bulldozer bulldozing something, soldiers talking over a radio about what to fire at and then firing, and a brief scene that I think was a sighting of Palestinian "militants" over night vision gear. Early in the film there's a fellow saying "If Sayeret or Duvdevan [elite units] were doing this, they would be equipped with ...." followed by a list of military equipment, of which about half was beeped out. Then he says something about how they have a new method - which is to bring in the D-9s (bulldozers) and reduce the risk to the soldiers.

Towards the end of the film, several soldiers vividly describe their experience with urban combat: one describes being perched on a roof and opening fire on 2 terrorists discretely trying to exit a house; another (from his hospital bed) describes being caught in an ambush and hearing voices speaking Arabic coming from the bathroom.

After it's all over, a religious fellow says that he feels he has been given a second chance to live, and that he has to change himself as a consequence. Two hippie-ish fellows both say that they won't come back to serve in a combat unit (though I'm not sure how they intended to decline): one said "there's nothing in this world that worth losing your life for"; the other said "I came hear for Eyal [comrade who died], or rather because of Eyal; other people believe in doing this so let them, but I don't". And a fourth fellow says that he understands and respects those who don't want to come back.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Channel 2 News just reported that the Palestinian Authority has been trying to financially assist the campaign of Amram Mitzna for leadership of the Labour party.

Mitzna is the leftist candidate who favors immediate to return to negotiations with the PA and unilateral withdrawal/settlement dismantlement from portions of the West Bank/Gaza if negotiations fail.

If Mitzna were nominated he would have little chance of getting elected, IMO.