Mittwoch, 30. Juli 2014

The ability to dream

A war needs no imagination. We see it on television, know the soldiers and the dead. The tension we feel is real, the sirens are real, and the destruction is measured in money. Peace, on the other hand, requires a great deal of imagination and even the ability to dream. A war mobilizes and unifies, its pretexts are always justified, and if there are no just pretexts, they are invented. Peace splits and fragments. In war there is a winner and a loser. Peace is a compromise that gives rise to discomfort. Peace is never “just.” Everybody loses in it, and its profits always seem to be marginal.
Zvi Bar’el in einem Meinungsbeitrag für Haaretz (30. Juli). Gaza, so der Autor, rechtfertige Israels Kontrolle über die Westbank und habe damit deren Schicksal besiegelt.

Sonntag, 13. Juli 2014

province of human desperation

"A war with no goal is among the most despicable of wars; the deliberate targeting of civilians is among the most atrocious of means. Terror now reigns in Israel as well, but it’s unlikely there is a single Israeli who can imagine what it’s like for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants, whose already miserable lives are now totally horrific. The Gaza Strip is not a 'hornet’s nest,' it is a province of human desperation. Hamas is not an army, far from it, despite all the fear tactics: If it really did build such a sophisticated network of tunnels there, as is claimed, then why doesn’t it build Tel Aviv’s light rail network, already?"
Gideon Levy in einem Meinungsbeitrag für Haaretz (13. Juli) über Israels Kriegsstrategie

Freitag, 11. Juli 2014

Two giant prisons

"If I had to explain the whole thing briefly, I would use the following metaphor: we’ve built two giant prisons. Let’s call them “West Bank Prison” and “Gaza Prison.” The West Bank Prison is similar to a minimum security facility, where prisoners get to run their own affairs as long as they behave. They are entitled to vacations from time to time and once a year they are even taken to the beach. Some lucky people get below-minimum-wage jobs in nearby factories, and when you consider the low prices in the prison canteen, it’s actually not a bad deal. 
Gaza, on the other hand, is a maximum security facility. It is difficult to visit and impossible to leave. We allow in essential food, water and electricity so that the prisoners don’t die. Apart from that, we don’t really care about them – that is unless they approach the prison fence; or the “forbidden” perimeter, where anyone who wanders too close is shot; or if they try to throw something over the fence.
Indeed, they occasionally throw some homemade bombs made of things they’ve managed to smuggle into prison, and when they fall on our heads it really is unpleasant. So we send our snipers to the watchtowers built around the prison and shoot them like fish in a barrel until they calm down. And when they finally do calm down, we cease firing because we are not the kind of bastards who shoot people for fun."
Journalist Noam Sheizaf, "Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city", +972 Magazine (10. Juli)

Mittwoch, 9. Juli 2014

only humans

"The prime minister declared that "the three youths were kidnapped and killed in cold blood by 'human animals.'" This image is not an original concoction of his own imagination. Many choose to label cold-blooded killers that way. However, in this case he is unfortunately mistaken.
The real horror that must be announced in a clear and unparalleled sad voice is that the murderers were humans, simply and only humans. Like me and like you. Humans murder humans in twisted fashions that are unfortunately easy to conceive.
Animals (as far as we know) do not have belief systems and ideologies, and when they kill they do so for revealed, simple, and immediate reasons. Animals did not develop weapons technologies. Animals did not invent the atomic bomb, "honor killings," pits for mass murder graves, racism, genocide or gas chambers. They were all created by humans. We created all these things."
Ruchama Weiss in einem Meinungsbeitrag für Ynet-News (7. Juli)

Suicide campaign

"It’s happening again. Hundreds, maybe thousands of Palestinians are rioting, while Israeli Arabs are blocking roads and burning tires. The celebration of stones starts every evening after the iftar meal that breaks the daily Ramadan fast. Yes, in Israel the seismographs are rattling once again: Is this an intifada or not? The relationship between Israel and the Palestinians knows two phases: an intifada and the anticipation of an intifada. Between the two is a troubled space where the industry of guesswork and analysis does its work: When will the next intifada break out? (…)
The war isn’t the main thing. The longing is for the post-intifada stage — for calm, for quiet, for the Palestinian surrender, for the psychic effect etched into the Palestinian soul. This shows us that the earlier the intifada arrives, the more we hurry to “win” again, the more quickly we’ll reach the period of calm we’re so longing for. And when it’s long in coming, its birth must be hastened.
If there is no intifada, we’ll start it. We’ll begin with the rules that denote the enemies within, the Israeli Arabs. We’ll wink at Jewish terrorists, we’ll go out into the streets with our “Death to Arabs” dance, we’ll amuse ourselves with the idea of transfer, we’ll build enormous real-estate monuments in the territories, we’ll sanctify the culture of revenge.
We have no alternative. We need the intifada show. Only it can prove that our way is the right one: the feelings of fear and victimization. Give us more burning tires on Route 65 in the Galilee, stones thrown at cars in the so-called Triangle region, firebombs in East Jerusalem. That’s the only way we’ll feel we’re up upon Masada, united in our suicide campaign."
Zvi Bar’el in einem Meinungsbeitrag für Haaretz (9. Juli)

Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2014


Es ist – wieder einmal – so weit. Die Lage im Land ist angespannt. Auch wenn sich die Welt in den ausländischen Medien – wieder einmal – anders präsentiert als die Lage vor Ort: Spannung und Sorge vor einer Eskalation sind förmlich greifbar. Das ist so oder so ähnlich in den meisten Ländern der Region in regelmässigen Abständen der Fall. Nur: Wer hier Freunde auf beiden Seiten hat, steht in diesen Tagen einmal mehr „dazwischen“, gehört – explizit oder unausgesprochen – einmal mehr nirgends so richtig dazu. Was in friedlicheren Zeiten eine Bereicherung sein kann, wird an Tagen wie diesen zum schmerzhaften Spagat. Weil man es nicht richtig machen kann.