Thursday, March 6, 2008

Retaliation or Terrorism

Tonight we heard of at least 7 young yeshiva students that were killed in Jerusalem. At least 7 more wounded some very severely.

Jerusalem is about an hour and a half drive from Sderot but now suffers consequences of the ongoing violence in the Gaza/Sderot region.

I titled this post "Retaliation or Terrorism" and ask myself: Does it really matter? Does it matter to the father and mother, the sister and brother, the friend and the fellow student?

Less than a week ago a family of 7 was killed during an Israeli attack in Gaza. Retaliation or Terrorism? defense or offense? Does it really matter to the relatives and neighbors? To the friends and acquaintances?
2 days ago a one month year old Palestinian baby was killed in an Israeli attack. He was killed while Israel was searching for a Hamas militant. The militant was killed but how can such consequences be justified?

After terribly violent days that started last wednesday, the past few days in Sderot, have been somewhat quieter. Only somewhat, since yesterday the home of relatives of a co-worker of mine, was badly hit by a rocket, and today 2 more homes were badly damaged by 2 direct hits. In all cases luckily no one was severely injured, however the fear, anxiety and pain are deep wounds that may never heal.

Our One Month initiative may seem naive, however what initiatives have our leaders offered that have proven to be any better? The rockets are still hitting on both sides and nothing they have done has brought us nearer to any resolution. All it has done is bring about more pain and frustration. In any case, it is definitely no worse than what has been tried so far.

People from both sides of this pain join to stop this insanity. Even if it will be for only One Month, it will be precious. And who knows? If it works for one, then why not for two?...

We the majority and must not be silent. Please join us:


Angel said...

Hey, you guys are doing a good thing here. I've signed your petition and I'll do my best to spread it around. All the best to both of you!!

Anonymous said...

Counting the deaths and violent activities will not help the realization of damage to the human dignity is being inflicted.
It is the basic Humanity and human rights that need to be restored.
All over the world lots of people are dying through violence and people have been desisitized to death, now.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how people can celebrate at the results of a school shooting.

When the Palestinian family was (accidentally) killed, there were no parties on the streets of Tel-Aviv. It was regarded as a tragedy.

I think much could be accomplished if only both sides would regard civilian deaths as the tragedies they are - military/militant deaths are one thing (unfortunate, but that's combat) but civilians? Students?

How can anybody be proud of that?

Anonymous said...

The violence in Gaza, and to a lesser extent the West Bank, will continue to exist for as long as those in power/control see a benefit to it existing. As soon as it looks like there might be a chance for real progress towards a negotiated peace, one side or the other, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah among others on the Palestinian side, and the extremist settlers and the various Israeli nationalist groups on the Israeli side, ratchet up their respective "campaigns," which of course causes the moderates willing to compromise to stop.

Here is a question to twist your heads. How are the Israeli and Palestinian extremists alike? While one has nothing to lose and one has everything to lose, they both need each other to continue to exist in their current forms, and both are adept at manipulating the press/media to their respective advantage.

On the Palestinian side, Hamas, who is in power in Gaza has nothing to lose and everything to gain. What is the world going to do to them that is any worse than what is happening now? As long as Hamas has backers outside of Gaza they'll keep this up. If things get too quiet they do something to ratchet up the tensions and refocus attention on them. Rockets in Sderot and now Ashkelon or blowing up the border fence/wall with Egypt. Or how about lobbing a bunch of rackets over the fence, blow up some houses, injure or kill an Israeli, then sit back and wait for the ever so predictable and reliable Israeli military to come storming in, kill off a few Palestinians and give Hamas all the tools they need to keep up their "mission." It will take a very long time to kill off 1.5 million people, and with every one that dies, another handful are radicalized and Hamas grows in power. They newly radicalized may not like Hamas, but they like death less.

In Israel the extremist settlers and nationalists have everything to lose. They currently hold veto power over the coalition government. They have subsidized howsing. They have politicians, administrators, and employees in the government perpetuating the decades of settlement activity. They need the money that the goverment provides, in all forms, to continue. Whenever it looks like the government might be making progress towards stopping the current programs, they jump into action by "announcing" more buiding contracts, or setting up more "outposts," or making statements to the press or media knowing that those statements will spur the other side into "action."

Carol Scheller said...

For a translation of this blog entry in French and a request to sign the petition, go to

Pour une traduction de ce billet en français et une invitation de signer la pétition, aller à

Your initiative is an example to the world. Carol

M22M said...

It is a tragedy that the world does not take action and intervene in this conflict! All I hear is "We condemn these horrible attacks". words,words,words, These words do not solve the problem. Real Action is Needed. A UN/NATO peackeeping force! The Bush Road Map for peace requires that the world get involved. "The Quartet". Arab countries need to get involved. The EU has to get involved. The UN has to get involved. The USA has to engage in real diplomacy. Inaction,Silence = DEATH

Anonymous said...

I am a Greek living in London. Having read about the incident in Jerusalem yesterday I have to say that no matter what ideology the persons killed belong to (radical or not) it is still a killing. I was thinking about the importance of life yesterday and tried to think about the chance of losing it. It just doesn't feel right for someone to lose his life. I've lost a friend in the past and know that losses are something that are not easy to accept.
I am not the person to propose a sure solution for this problem but stoping everything for one month, Palestinians and Israelis, will be a good chance to think things out.
I hope for peace in your region.

Nicca said...

You will never succeed. Because your only real strength is Mother, Palestinian Mothers who accept to give birth to new condemned bombers. Once the feminism arrives in the Muslim world - and you are over!

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe that people in Gaza were actually celebrating the murders in Jerusalem. Until there is a greater appreciation for human life, there will be no true peace. I did sign the one month petition, but I have my money on Israel keeping the ceasefire over Hamas. At least if there is an official ceasefire there can be no doubt.

-Brandon, USA

Lirun said...

no excuses.. cold blood face to face slaughter of children.. icy cold blood..


A concerned world citizen said...


Please, tell me it is not true that in Palestinian media civillians are called to go to the houses of members of militant groups to protect these.

Please, tell me it was only a handful of militantssupporters cheeering the deaths of innocent Israeli youngsters with sweets.

Please, tell me that only a few of Gazans population is in favour of this deathcult.

If so, I can join Hope man with his HOPE for peace.

M22M said...

In 2001 Michael Sinclair Sanders (b. 1939) authored a Peace Plan involving a completely new paradigm which was endorsed by such experts as Senator George Mitchell and Nadim Shehadi of the British Think Tank, Chatham House. Many prominent Israeli and Palestinian politicians and former diplomats now favour the plan including a member of Prime Minister Olmert’s cabinet, members of “The National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities in Israel”, a former head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and a member of the present Winograd Committee.

To solve the problem of borders, “right of return” and the demographic problem this creates for Israel, and the “settlements”, Sanders proposed that there should be a differentiation between Residency and Citizenship. Thus, Jews would remain on the West Bank as Residents of a newly created Palestinian State but remain citizens of Israel. Similarly, Arabs returning to Israel would be citizens of Palestine but residents of Israel allowed to vote in local elections in Israel and national elections in Palestine.

The problem of Jerusalem would be solved based on his research on the location of the original Temples of Solomon and Herod. All the evidence he uncovered pointed to the fact that the Temples were never on the Temple Mount but rather some 600 ft. further South in their more logical position over the Gihon Spring in the City of David. Thus Jews would be able to build their Third Temple in the City of David without disrupting the Temple Mount (Haram al Shafif) and the Arabs would have sole custody of that area and their third most Holy Site in Islam, the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Don Cox said...

"It is the basic Humanity and human rights that need to be restored."____The first right needed is the right not to be killed or injured. Then you can start worrying about fancy ideas such as "dignity".

Zhann said...

This is a never ending cycle. It is refreshing to find a place where people aren't simply blaming the Israelis or the Paelstinians for this mess. It is time that these two overgrown children understood that violence can't solve this problem. Every time one does something violent to the other, the other reacts with something violent, which just keeps the vicious cycle spinning.

A big problem here is that the major news agencies are currently loving this violence. Have any of you spent time to read the responses to some of the news stories posted on the major media circuits? I guarentee that no other story generates so many comments/responses as those about Israel/Palestine. Unfortuantely, all those responses are very negative to one side or the other, further feeding the violence, but encouraging major media. It is important to try and sway the public away from choosing sides, instead Openly Blaming Both Parties!

Anonymous said...

your dialogue and support for one another and overall dialogue is inspiring and moving. if only your efforts were duplicated all over the country...

stay strong as an example for others and a light in all of this darkness.

Peace man said...

every thing you said is right ,and every thing my friend said also right
my friend told me if I guarantee that’s Israel government want peace ,and when they open the boarder ,and when stop killing our children , and if they stop stop stop
I till both of you ,if we will say like this we wont reach any peace and we will not move forward to have normal life
Lets think positively and work together to achieve our goals

aletheiak said...

friends you are not naive

indeed you are the new leaders & the new power

nor are you alone

Anonymous said...

How unjust can the World be?

The blame always fall upon Israelis-Jews and Israel. Israel has tried to negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinians for decades ... but no Palestinian leader was willing or able to accept ISRAEL.

As long as the mentality prevail in the Arab/Muslim/Palestinian world of:
-- Hatred against the Jews and Israel ...
-- Teaching children since kindergarden to hate the Jews ...
-- Mothers wishing to have more children to be "sacrificed" (Shahids) as human bombs to kills civilians Jews-Israelis ...
-- Hamas, Hisbollah, Islamic Jihad and others, stop jeopardizing every initiative and opportunity for peace ...








eileen said...

What follows is my personal understanding of the whole thing. Hamas in
Gaza has backings outside the Middle Eastern area proper. They are well
trained and they are adopting a clever wafare strategy, that is
guerrilla. The US lost their war in Vietnam because of this: when
guerrilla militiamen strike at you and then go back to the civilian
areas were they have their bases, your only choice is to try and strike
back at them there were they are hiding. By doing so, you will
inevitably inflict unjust sufferings to the civilian population and
your enemy will be there ready to exploit this. So, the best thing is
that Israel does not react militarily, in my opinion. Gaza is too
densely populated an area, to wage war there. The civilians there have
been victimized long enough by a situation on which they have no
control, so they do not need to be Israel's victims as well. And then,
if Israel accepts to react, she unfortunately becomes part of a game,
whose rules are being dictated by the other side.

What is needed is a political solution, not a military one. Israel
should apply for membership in the EU; if they get it then the
Palestinians too will get it, and you will have two states separated by
an internal EU border (i.e. freedom to move back and forth for both
populations, and a Strasbourg High Court of Justice to settle any wrong
by whoever), and the war will become pointless. And even the Euro is
stronger than the US dollar :).

KOE said...

i have signed...Israelis and Hamas should seek coexistence.

gary said...

My constant frustration is that people think they can solve small problems while leaving large problems in place. You can't solve the middle east problems without moving the entire world towards a stronger global democracy. And before you object, I don't mean democracy as defined by the United States. Here's exactly what I mean:

btw, I heard both of you on NPR tonight...nice to see a refreshing approach to the subject. Now all you need to do is identify the LARGER problems.


Anonymous said...

Just heard the report about your mission and blog on the BBC out here in Berkeley, CA, USA. I'll link up your effort at tomorrow pdt if it doesn't seem to be taking off yet on progressive US blogs.

many thanks and best wishes to you both.

Anonymous said...

Many times I hear when a person dies, "How did he/she die?" "Was it cancer, heart, accident?" If so, "Where was it?" "how many bones broken?" " "How did they suffer?" It matters not, only that a precious life is ended. In this case, death caused by greed, anger, fear. You have it right; the path to peace begins in the heart of each individual. My hope is that there is enough time for enough persons to realize that we are all in this together, nobody gets out alive but, we can all pull together, end tragedies and make this a peaceful world again.

Suzanne said...

There is a truce, initiated by Israel. (or by you? ;) )

Though the first rockets from Gaza have already been launched. :(

Anonymous said...

I linked you last week from my blog in the U.S.

Are you guys all right?

I thought I'd see you're reaction to the truce and you haven't posted in 5 days. My heart sunk a little.

Carol (Tita) Aragón said...

Hi, Hope man!
I'm brazilian and love and peace are my religion.
I believe in human life and I'm with you and Peace man too!
I linked this blog in my blog "Da Janela" and signed your petition.
I'll send to all my contact list.
Love bless you!
Keep in peace!

Anonymous said...

How many rockets are fired into Sderot on an average daily basis? Is it worse on one particular day/s?

Anonymous said...

Not to rain on your parade, or just to sound smart here, because I have no other suggestion myself, except an all-out Middle East war in which the future of the region is determined with steel and (more) blood.

But, your 30 day thing doesn't look to me like it would help in any way.

There are very serious humanitarian, economic, military, etc... concerns about the living conditions of the Palestinian people. Israelis need to allow the Palestinians to live like decent human beings, then maybe they should expect them to act peacefully. But, if you are sieging, starving, killing on a regular basis, and your settlers and soldiers are harrasing, beating up etc... Palestinians on a regular basis, then you can't expect a ceasefire.

A ceasefire for what? what are the prospects? what is the light at the end of the tunnel that this ceasefire would be a preliminary step to? that the Palestinians go back to slaving in Israeli factories? that they are stopped at Israeli army checkpoints for hours on end whenever they want to go to a nearby village or city? That they go back to living in the horrid conditions that are forced on them? that they go back to accepting the increased settlement of Zionists on stolen Palestinian lands without doing anything? That they go back to being kicked out of their homes and their homes getting demolished by the Israeli army, keep getting prevented from reaching their fields to harvest their crops and their trees by settlers and the Israeli army, go back to roads marked ISRAELI only on which Palestinians are not allowed to drive? etc... etc... etc...

You think you have it hard with the "psychological pain" that some pre-historic rockets that are launched at you by Palestinian militants? My heart is really torn to peices... you talk about building a life in Sderot, did you have a right to this land? How many families where kicked out of Sderot before your parents came and stole their stuff, broke into their house and stole their lands and its resources to build you a house and a life on this land?

Hope man said...

Dear Ali Elamin,

Part of the problem as I see it the tendency of all of us to look back into the past and justify the future. Israel has alway done this and so have the Palestinians. All humans want to justify their actions, however in doing so we tend to forget the complexity of the situations and that our story may be different that that of the other side's story and that actually they are both true.
You have made many important statements, but a good rhetorician could break them down one by one giving a counter argument to each one of yours. This is where we need be be very care full not to go. Everything around us is scattered with land minds. The only chance for any progress is not to ignore these land mines however not to keep blowing them up in each others face. This path we have already taken and it is time to take an new one.
It does not matter who is historically "right" what matters is that the is ongoing mutual suffering that we need to strive to reduce.
I look out my window and see Gaza. People in Gaza look out their's and see my town. As neighbors, we must stop doing to each other what we have been told is the only thing that can be done and stop being taught that the only thing the other side wants is the other side stopping to exist. we need to choose a new path that does not ignore the reality and the past, but at the same time does not make the past a justification for our actions.

Israel said...

Israel will stop the violence only when Hamas, Jihad and all thier friends stop thier violence but I don't ever see that happening.
The problem is that the palestine citizens are violent too. If an Israeli goes into Gaza or Ramala by mistake he has very low chances in getting out alive. Don't even try to deny this. I'v spoken to some Arabs and they seem to think that Israel starts the violence which makes absolutly no sence, Israel does not have leaders who think murder means 72 virgins.
I am very glad to hear that there is someone in Gaza like Peace Man who hasn't lost his sanity. The solution is very very simple! Israel can't stop Palestine leaders unless we kill them all which would cause too much critisism from the world so they are not going to do that. Palestines can't stop them either unless they kill them which I highly doubt will ever happen. The only way to stop this nonsence is to teach your children to be a good person! don't give your kid a gun, give him a book to read, something educating, not the tales of the freedom frighter (that's what they call the suicide bombers). Try to give him a good education, go to school, punish him when he throws a rock on a soldier who is only there to get the ones who start the violance and if you let him do his job you will aventualy have a better life. If you create a generation like this, these kids will grow up and be able to speak thier opinion instead of showing it with violance. You will create a generation of people that can say no to Jihad and no to violance. A generation that understands that war should be between soldeirs not civilains. There will still be Hamas and Jihad but if you understand that they are harming you and teaching your kids to be wackos you will help Israel get rid of them efficantly, maybe put them in jail, put them on trial, create some law in this caos. When this happens and there is no more violance Israel will stop the violance too! and then we can actually speak.