Richard Melson

August 2006

The Other Israel

The Other Israel, POB 2542, Holon 58125, Israel.

Ceasefire on paper, fire on the ground

TOI-Billboard, August 12, 2006
--The Other Israel's weekly comment

--Overview of this week's Occupation Magazine's daily picks attached

So, it goes on.

For the past week and more we had lived under the illusion that when the UN Security Council solemnly resolves to cease the fire, the fire will indeed cease. The media certainly helped create this feeling, reporting extensively and minutely on the the ups and downs of the negotiations between the French and the Americans. And when on Friday the news from New York told of an approaching breakthrough, commentators started talking of the war as if it already were a thing of the past. And a great variety of nationalists and demagogues started crying and howling over "the surrender" and "the betrayal".

They could have saved their breath. Olmert and his Defence Minister Amir Peretz heard last night's news from New York while closeted in the Army's Supreme Headquarters, with the generals making the final preparations for what seems the biggest ground offensive in this war. And after midnight the headlines on the internet websites seemed taken directly from Orwell: "Government to approve UN Ceasefire resolution, major ground offensive into Lebanon goes ahead on schedule".

Looking carefully at the text approved at that hallowed hall of international diplomacy, things become a bit clearer. For the framers of that new UN Security Council Resolution, 1701 (a number which we will undoubtedly hear quoted ad nauseam in the coming weeks and months) - have left a loophole in their "cessation of hostilities". Or rather a gaping opening wide enough to allow the passage of hundreds of tanks and fighter airplanes and tens of thousands of soldiers, the full four divisions reported to be now charging northwards.

The fifteen members of the Security Council have solemnly and unanimously determined that "the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security" and therefore called for "the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations". However, as anybody knows who had ever attended a lesson in Basic Civics at a Tel-Aviv elementary school, the Israeli Defence Forces never have and never will conduct any offensive military operation. Each and every one of their operations, in this war as in its predecessors, is purely defensive and is conducted solely in order to defend a peace-loving population against unprovoked aggression, for which reason the IDF coat of arms is the Sword and Olive Branch, and third grade pupils are required to paste that coat of arms in their copybooks and write under it the caption "our army hates war and wants only peace".

So, it continues. The number of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon has tripled in the past twenty-four hours, according to Chief of Staff Halutz, all of course involved in the purely defensive race to conquer all the territory up to the Litani River, which the generals expect to take "four days to a week" and then involve "several weeks of mopping up" (not that the army was very effective in "mopping up" the limited parts of Lebanon which it already invaded two and three weeks ago). So far, at least 19 people are reported killed since the diplomats affixed their signatures to that solemn document, and a Lebanese contact just informed us that the villages east of Saida, left untouched since the war broke out, had today gotten a lethal "visit" from the Israeli Air Force.

And so, we must continue as well. A few hours from now, there will be hundreds of us answering the call of Yesh Gvul to climb the hill overlooking Military Prison 6 at Atlit, shouting words of greetings and solidarity and warm support into the plainly visible prison courtyard - to the five soldiers who preferred imprisonment over participation in the Lebanese folly and madness, and also for their fellow-prisoners and guards. Climbing that hill is a tradition dating back to the First Lebanon War, a tradition which it seems we need to revive, like so much else.

At least, the stifling atmosphere of "national unity" which characterized the past weeks seems to have decisively dissipated. "The Big Three" of Israeli literature - "Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman - have come out against the war, three weeks after they had endorsed it in public. (Some 60 younger authors, who opposed the war from the first minute, had been constantly snapping at these three's heels). Also, the magnitude of the Lebanon invasion and its similarity to the fiasco of 1982 (except that the guerrillas now seem much better organized and armed...) at last nudged mainstream groups such as Peace Now and the Meretz Party out of their complacency and the "support from the left" which many of their leaders gave to this vicious war on its inception. On Thursday they were in their hundreds in front of the Ministry of Defence, with big signs reading "There is No Military Solution!", and cracks start to appear in the Labor Party support for the mad careering of Party Leader and Defence Minister Amir Peretz - once a staunch dove and militant trade unionist, now the the most hawkish of hawks.

As things stand, it seems that all of us - radicals and moderates, those who opposed the madness from its inception and the latecomers - will still have to go and protest again and again. And meanwhile, the occupation and oppression of the Palestinians are still there, to any who tended to forget. Yesterday afternoon, the weekly anti-Wall procession at Bil'in was viciously attacked by the army and Border Guard troops. Limor, a young Israeli activist, was hit in the head by one of the misnamed "rubber bullets" - which is actually made of metal. After emergency surgery at Tel-Hashomer hospital, he is now under medically induced coma, and only when he wakes up will it be possible to asses the permanent damage.

Due to Lebanon, the case got very meagre media attention; updates will appear on the

International Solidarity Movement website:

Occupation Magazine:

(articles and action news, look at it daily - includes a useful archive)

ISM website

(informing especially about joint Palestinian-Israeli-international anti-Wall struggle in the villages)

Robert Rosenberg's summary of "peace" issues in the Israeli media (on workdays)

(a variety of papers, followed dayly by Shadi Fadda)

(Palestinian press agency, including own research)

(Palestinian on-line News agency that publishes news and articles in English from it's own as well as other sources, including from the Hebrew press)

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Here follow the Occupation Magazine’s updates of the past week –

today’s choice you find on:


Olmert cannot remain in the prime minister`s office
Ari Shavit - Haaretz - "And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front."

Israel pounds Beirut as truce rejected
Aljazeera - "Israeli warplanes have struck the southern suburbs of Beirut while at the UN the country`s envoy has rejected a Russian proposal for a 72-hour humanitarian truce."

Hizbollah`s iron discipline is match for military machine
Robert Fisk - The Independent - "Israel`s frustration - and its sense of loss since 15 of its soldiers were killed in just the fraction of the south Lebanese border area which it "controls" over the past 24 hours - was evident in a potentially criminal document which it dropped over Beirut yesterday. Signed "the State of Israel" - which at least makes its origins clear - the tracts announced that "the Israeli Defence Forces intend to expand their operations in Beirut"."

Crisis in Lebanon
The Nation - Editorial - "The United States cannot in good conscience allow Lebanon`s humanitarian crisis to continue. Washington must put aside its usual support-Israel-at-all-costs stance and use its influence to get Israel to call off its offensive and withdraw from Lebanon. The alternative--more warfare, increased instability and rising sectarian hatred--is a dead end for all of us. "

British Medical group: Hospitals in Gaza overwhelmed and running out of supplies
IMEMC & Agencies - " Hospitals in the Gaza Strip have seen a significant increase in war casualties with severe injuries over the past month and are running out of medical supplies, the Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin) today."

Someone to fight with
Tom Segev - Haaretz - "On Shabbat morning Amos Oz phoned his friend, MK Haim Oron (Meretz), and informed him that the time had come to end the war. He and two other leading Israeli authors, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, wanted to sign a public declaration to that effect"

Palestinian deaths rise amid fear of worse to come
Nidal al-Mughrabi - The Guardian - "Last month was the deadliest in the Gaza Strip for nearly two years, a Palestinian research group said yesterday, as Israel`s six-week offensive against militants in the territory led to a surge in killings."

Israel has already lost this war
Ghayth Armanazi - The Independent - "Every war is won or lost not by measure of the cold statistics of hardware or lives - or even territory - lost or consumed by the protagonists at the end of hostilities. Rather, it must be seen against the overall strategic picture that emerges through the dust of battle. The Sixth War is going to leave an indelible mark on that strategic picture - and it will not make pretty viewing for the Israelis or their US backers."

Lama Hourani from Gaza : Have the Israeli soldiers overslept in their tanks??
Lama Hourani - ""I don`t want to fly by airplane. Airplanes destroy houses over the heads of children." This was Luai`s, my four year old son's, response to the idea that he could leave for Jordan with his father for the holidays."

The End of Lebanon?
Ran HaCohen - Electronic Lebanon - "The UN Security Council resolution draft on Lebanon reflects a new stage of Western colonialism in the Middle East, and perhaps a historic precedent: for the first time, the UN Security Council - should the resolution draft be endorsed - breaches the fundamental principle of the right of people under occupation to resist, and in fact legitimizes the violent partition of the sovereign state of Lebanon."


Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory : No. 31/2006, 03? 09 Aug. 2006
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - "Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)"

Annan warning over Gaza situation
BBC - "The war in Lebanon and northern Israel should not distract attention from events in Gaza, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned. The killing of civilians, including children, in Gaza was "utterly unjustifiable", his spokesman said."

Israel set to invade Lebanon despite lessons of 1982 war
Donald Macintyre - The Independent - "Israel has approved a major escalation of war by voting to send thousands of fresh troops deeper into Lebanon in an expanded offensive echoing its invasion nearly a quarter of a century ago."

Child, mother killed by rocket near Carmiel
Ahiya Raved - Ynet - "Rocket barrages continue: Woman, her 5-year-old son killed after being hit by rocket in Arab village in Western Galilee; 3-year-old brother seriously injured. Neighbor who witnessed incident: `This is a very difficult situation when civilians are killed. We are all here together, Arabs and Jews. Missile doesn?t distinguish between ethnic groups.` In Tiberias, man lightly wounded

The New Middle East
Rami Bathish - MIFTAH - "Without doubt, the so called ?New Middle East? doctrine represents a clear paradigm shift in the political map of the region; one that is fully compatible with US and Zionist global strategic interests"

It is Lebanon, not Israel, that faces a threat to its existence in this war
Ahmad Samih Khalidi - The Guardian - "The Franco-US resolution is an absurdity: it would give Israel immunity while denying Lebanon the right to defend itself"

Israel, North, direct action against the war in Lebanon
Ilan Shalif - Anarkismo - "About 25 activists stood this morning (Tuesday) in front the Ramat David base carrying placards on which was written: "stop killing of civilians", "stop the war crimes". They called for immediate cease fire and releasing all the prisoners and war prisoners.

Drafted Art - artists calling for immediate ceasefire and release of prisoners
Maarav - Online Art and culture Journal - "We are opposed to the war, to the Israeli army?s horrible bombardment of Lebanon and to Hezballah's firing of rockets onto northern Israel. Our conflict with our neighbors has lasted for more than 100 years and so the question of who started this round of violence is irrelevant."

Between cholera and the plague
Akiva Eldar - Haaretz - "The result of this whole mess is that an incursion deep into Lebanon will leave Israel with a choice between cholera and the plague, between sitting for a prolonged period in fortified positions in the killing fields around the Litani or abandoning the whole of Lebanon to the hands of the war coalition of Hezbollah-Syria-Iran."

Regressing a full generation
Meron Benvenisti - Haaretz - "Those who began this unrestrained war want to inflate its importance, in order to justify the terrible - and steadily increasing - price that is being paid solely in order to achieve a victory for the gambler. But perhaps the fact that they are conducting a 1950s strategy with a 21st-century society and culture is cause for optimism: It will not work."


Israeli Intellectuals Love the War
Ran HaCohen - Antiwar - "The present war is always inevitable, and necessary, and just, and worthy of support."

Arabs states seek changes to peace plan
William Wallis - The Financial Times - "However, there was little sign that the US would give ground on most of the main Lebanese demands."

Minister of Health Holds Israel Responsible for Dwaik`s Health Deterioration
Palestine News Agency - WAFA - "Israeli sources revealed that the Mr. Duwaik was transferred to an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem after he was severely beaten by Israeli interrogators."

The refugees` fury will be felt for generations to come
Karma Nabulsi - The Electronic Intifada - "In Gaza and Lebanon, in the refugee camps of Khan Younis, Rafah and Jabaliya, in Tyre and Beirut, in Nabatiyeh and Sidon, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children seek refuge."

Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem
PNN (Jerusalem)- imemc - "They are also preventing free access to Al Aqsa Mosque, second only in importance for Muslims to Mecca."

Crocodile tears of leaders as city burns
Robert Fisk - The Independent - "It was preposterous, scandalous, shameful to listen to these robed apparatchiks - most of them are paid, armed or otherwise supported by the West - shed their crocodile tears before a nation on its knees."

UN wrangle amid Lebanon fighting
BBC News - "Israel launched about 80 air strikes against Lebanon overnight, as diplomats at the UN consider possible changes to a draft resolution to end the fighting."

Same old crisis
Mustafa Abu Sway - bitterlemons - " One should not lose sight of the original cause of all that is going on today: the Israeli occupation of Arab lands."

London Jews, Arabs warn of US power play in Middle East
Haro Chakmakjian - The Jordan Times - ""Are they going to create their New Middle East through the blood of children and by dividing nations?""

Three conflicts, two mind-sets, one solution
Marwan Bishara - International Herald Tribune - "The only means of halting the cycle of violence and terrorism in the Middle East, and paving the way toward real freedom, is to end military occupation."


Yesh Gvul

Israeli strike `kills 40 people`
BBC News -- An Israeli air strike has killed more than 40 people in the southern Lebanese border village of Houla, Lebanon`s prime minister has said

All the Time in the World to Kill and Destroy
On the relationship between the non-intervention of the international community in the face of crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza and the provocation of Hezbollah in the Northern border, Israel’s decision to go to war against Lebanon, and the extension granted by the international community to continue the killing and destruction

2 Reservists Refuse to Participate In the War
First Sergeant Omri Zeid declared one day before his discharge that he refuses to shell a Lebanese village, took up his backpack and departed. Reserve Captain Amir Pester is serving 28 days in Military Prison 6. "It is unaccpetable," he says, "to retaliate for every missile hitting Haifa with ten missiles which would kill 54 people in Lebanon"

Weekly Digest: Reports from Checkpoints, 30.7.06–5.8.06
MachsomWatch -- Etzion DCL, Tuesday AM, 1.8.06: "A man told us that yesterday people got through before the closure was declared. On their way back they were stopped at the Tunnels CP and 70 of them had their work permits torn up, so they had come to the DCL this morning to renew them"

Soldiers assassinate a leader of the Al Quds brigades near Jenin; Child killed in an Israeli air strike in Rafah
Saed Bannoura -- IMEMC & Agencies -- Rashid Al Omary, 24, was shot in his head, chest, and in several other parts of his body *** In Rafah, in Al Shouka neighborhood, seventeen residents, including five children, were killed since Thursday

Thinking in terms of the other side
Yitzhak Laor -- Haaretz -- "That is the great trap of military thinking, the Israelis` only way of thought regarding the conflict: not only belief in the need to be superior, right or wrong, able or not able, but especially the inability to think in terms of the other side, not as an object translated and interpreted by the Intelligence Corps, but as human beings"

Is Israel Any Safer Now?
Am Johal -- -- There are wiser courses of action which Israel and the US could follow which would not lead to the same outcomes which occur with such frequency

Israel bombs eastern Lebanon
Agencies -- Aljazeera -- Israeli warplanes have carried out more than a dozen bombing raids on eastern Lebanon, targeting roads linking the region with Syria. More air strikes hit southern Lebanon and the suburbs of Beirut

Israeli pilots `deliberately miss` targets
Inigo Gilmore -- The Observer – Fliers admit aborting raids on civilian targets as concern grows over the reliability of intelligence


Weekly Summary, 27-July-2006 to 2-August-2006
Daniel Breslau - The Gaza war continues - New IDF tactic - Telebombing - Annexation under cover of war

Junkies of war
Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - So we shall get to the Litani River. Beyond it, there is another river, and another one. Lebanon has an abundance of rivers we can get to. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for these two junkies, Olmert and Peretz, to come down from their "high" and study the map.

Errand boy/girl
Charley Reese - King Features Syndicate - "For a long time I believed that World War I was the most stupid war ever fought in human history, but by golly, the brain-dead governments in Washington and Tel Aviv might yet blunder into one that surpasses it."

Gilbert Achcar interviewed by Andrew Kennedy
Gilbert Achcar - Socialist Outlook/Alternative Information Centre - "Hatred for Israel and the US is reaching new peaks. All this will undoubtedly fuel the growth of terrorist organisations of the Al Qaeda type. I’m afraid that what we have seen up to now — 9/11, 7/7 and Madrid—is but a foretaste of horrors to come that will affect the civilian populations in the West."

Former Lebanese PM to Bush: `You are a terrorist`
Salim al-Hoss - Daily Star - "Mr. President: You are not fooling anybody with your alleged war against terrorism. In our perspective, you and Israel are the most unscrupulous terrorists on earth. If you want to fight terrorism, we suggest that you start with your administration and your hideous ally, Israel."

5,000 protest against Lebanon war in Tel Aviv
Haaretz - Yuli Kromchenko and Yoav Stern - Demonstrators set off from Dizengoff Street and marched along King George Street, which was closed to traffic, calling for an end to the conflict and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, and denouncing Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Israel kills Palestinian in Gaza Strip on Sunday
Avi Issacharoff, Mijal Grinberg - Haaretz - An Israel Air Force air strike killed a Palestinian in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, medics said, as Israel pressed its offensive against militants.

Three Palestinian women killed by Hizbullah rocket
Haaretz - A woman and her two daughters were killed when their home suffered a direct hit in a Katyusha rocket strike on the Bedouin village of Arab al-Aramshe, in the Western Galilee near the northern border, on Saturday.

Weeks of bombing leave Lebanon in ruins
Thanassis Cambanis, Rana Fil - Boston Globe/Commondreams - The hourlong trip down the coast from Beirut to Tyre now takes three hours through winding mountain roads, since the coastal road has been bombed so heavily it`s impossible to drive. Bombing has destroyed 70 bridges, about one-fifth of the country`s bridges and highway overpasses, according to the Ministry of Public Works.

A terrible thought occurs to me - that there will be another 9/11
Robert Fisk - The Independent/Commondreams - Once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel`s consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.

The Other Israel

TOI-Billboard Ceasefire on paper, fire on the ground

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Adam & Beate

The Other Israel

Saturday, August 12, 2006