The flag of Israel was designed by a man called David Wolffsohn.

He chose two elements for the flag.
The first was the colours of blue and white, to represent the tallit (Jewish prayer shawl)
and the second was the Magen David (Star of David) which had been used as a Jewish symbol for a long time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hi Everyone!

Ann writes:

Hi Everyone!
Thanks for the concern, and I'm sorry to have worried everyone.

Most of the time I was in the US I didn't have access to a computer, and from just a few hours after I arrived home a week and a half ago I have been running non-stop:
work, family, semester exams, parent-teacher night, 2 major Israeli holidays, church, and a friend who is dying of cancer (just diagnosed a week ago with bone, colon and lung cancer - probably won't make it through the month-fell and broke his shoulder yesterday - spent several hours at the hospital with him today after church - just got home at 11:30 pm).

And I still have jet lag!

It will be at least another two weeks until I can write, but in the meantime I'm okay.
My next cystascope exam is May 31 and I will know more then.

Thanks for your love and concern!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

signs of peace and tolerance?

Ann wrote:

Sweden has long been considered a liberal, tolerant, neutral nation, which makes the following story all the more alarming. I think this is illustrative of what has happened in western Europe since the demographics have changed.

Israeli athletes have long been used to being the victims of political demonstrations overseas. One of the most recent events concerned Shahar Pe'er, an internationally-seeded tennis player. She was scheduled to play a match in New Zealand during the time when Israel invaded Gaza in January. Her hotel was mobbed and her route to the match and the match itself was lined with violent protestors. A couple of weeks later her visa (issued and approved months before) to the meet in Qatar was revoked. Only after the international tennis federation fined them and threatened to withdraw their sponsorship of the event were the male doubles players allowed in. During the same week she was in New Zealand, an Israeli basketball team playing in Turkey was attacked on the playing court by hundreds of spectators who stormed the barriers. The Israeli team had to be hurried off the court by police and were locked in the changing room until it was safe enough to get them out of the building. The European Basketball League then fined the Israeli team and listed them as having forfeiting the game because they didn't finish playing!

The same male doubles team were scheduled to play a Davis Cup match in the city of Malmo, Sweden this morning. Because the police and organizers were worried about possible protests, they decided to schedule the match in a closed arena without an audience. To my knowledge, this has never happened at an international match before. Protests were so bad yesterday that they were even thinking of moving the venue to another venue for safety reasons.

The match began about an hour ago. Over a thousand additional policemen were brought in from the south of the country (in addition to the police already there) in order to handle the expected riots. And riots there were. Hundreds of protestors attacked the police with rocks and eggs, and tried to storm the building where the tennis match was taking place. My question is, who were the violent barbarians, the Israeli tennis players or the people with rocks in their hands and murder in their minds?

By the way, Swedish government statistics say that the population of Malmo, Sweden's third largest city, is now well over 30% Moslem. A coincidence?

"About 40 percent of Malmo's population is foreign-born or has at least one foreign-born parent. The bulk of foreign-born people come from the former Yugoslavia, Iran, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Among school-age children, 50 percent have at least one foreign-born parent, and analysts project that the number will soon reach 60 percent. " (Washington Post) My note: The majority of people in these countries are Moslem.

And as a closing note, since the Israeli military pulled out of Gaza (too early) a month ago the poor people of Gaza have fired nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel. The rockets are new and improved with a longer range and the potential to cause more damage. Several of them have landed in schools and kindergartens. Yesterday morning there were already 7 Grads fired before nine in the morning. Ann, Israel

Two interesting articles:
1) violence at the tennis match:
2) Malmo's (and Sweden's) changing population:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Israeli elections - why there isn't a winner - February 13, 2009

Ann writes:

On Tuesday of this week Israel went to the polls to choose a new Prime Minister and to elect people to serve in the Knesset, which is our congress. We still don't know who the new prime minister will be, and we probably won't for at least a month, if not more. This is a short explanation of how our political system "works", and why there isn't a "winner" yet.

First of all, to show how disgusted most of the country is about our lack of leadership, this election had the second-lowest voter turnout in history - about 60%. Israel usually has about 85% turnout. I know this is high in comparison to the average US voter turnout, but for us it is very low.

The Israeli political system was loosely based on the British system. We have an elected parliament (the Knesset) comprised of one house, not two like in England or the US. The Knesset is comprised of 120 members. The number represents the 12 tribes, and the age that Moses was when he went to heaven. In Hebrew, the traditional birthday greeting is "until 120", meaning a blessing of a long and healthy life. We have a multi-party system. This election, for example, had about 35 parties running. Each party makes up a list of its candidates. Your place on the list is determined by your power within the party. The closer you are to the top, the better chance you have of being elected. And since the candidates can come from anywhere in the country, they aren't responsible or answerable to any specific constituency - i.e., they can do what they want with no checks. When all the ballots are counted, in order to receive one of the 120 places (mandates) in the Knesset, you must have received at least 1.2% of the total number of votes cast. If you don't make that number, you aren't elected. So each party gets one mandate for each 1.2% of the total votes it got. The mandates are given to the candidates starting at the top of the list and going down. So lets say that one of the major parties has a list of 60 people and they get 40 mandates, the last 10 people on the list are not elected. Ideally the winning party would receive a majority of 61 mandates. This has never happened.

Because we have so many parties running, no one has ever gotten close to getting the 61 mandate majority needed to become prime minister. This makes it necessary to sell your soul (and your own party people lower on the list) in order to create a coalition by buying the mandates of other parties. The price: government ministeries / cabinet positions / money. This also means that the smaller parties have disproportionate power in the negotiations. You may have only won 10 mandates, but those votes could be the difference between another party being in the government or sitting in the opposition.

What happened in this election is that there were 3 people running for Prime Minister. They don't actually run on a separate ticket, but are the first names on their own party lists. Two of the three (Ehud Barak and Bibi Netanyahu) have been PM before. The third, Zipi Livni, used to be in Bibi's party but joined the "turncoat" party Kadima, which was formed by Ariel Sharon and consists of members from both the main parties who didn't get what they wanted in their own parties. Kadima is a party with no specific direction or government policy, and which is made up of people who are political enemies. Their only common goal is to stay in power. Barak is our defense minister in the same coalition government where Livni is the Foreign minister.

Livni's party -Kadima (center/left) won 28 seats, so her party will be the largest party in the knesset. But since she needs 61 seats to be PM, she won't necessarily be the PM. Bibi's party - the Likud (right)- won 27 seats. Barak - Labor - only got 13, the lowest in his partiy's history. (This is the party led by Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, Itzhak Rabin, etc.) The third largest party - Israel Beteinu (very right wing and a breakoff of the Likud) - got 15. And nearly all the other parties who got seats, including the religious parties, are right wing, which means they are traditionally more interested in a coalition with the right. The rightwing parties make up 65 seats.

While the PM is elected, the president is chosen by a vote of the Knesset. The PM leads the country (like the US president), but the president has a more ceremonial role (like the British monarch). Our current president is Shimon Peres, who used to be a PM when in the Labor party. He has one week from the date of the election to meet with the heads of all the parties. He then must decide who has the best chance to form a coalition. That person then has 45 days (extendable) to form a coalition. In this case, Bibi has a better chance than Zipi to form a coalition, so while she has the biggest party she doesn't have the most possible coalition partners. Of course, loyalty to party ideals is usually dependent upon what price the coalition is willing to pay.

This close vote pretty well reflects the feelings of the country. In Jerusalem and all the border areas, north and south, right-wing parties got a 3 to 1 (and some places even 5 to 1) win. The more left parties were strong only in the Tel Aviv area, and Haifa. I find it interesting that all three of the Druze towns on the Golan Heights voted almost unanimously for Israel Betenu, which is extremely right wing. I think it is because they are very concerned about being returned to Syria in the event of a left-wing treaty with Syria.

Both of the main parties were hopeful that the counting of the absentee ballots yesterday (soldiers, overseas diplomats, etc. and prisoners) would change things. It didn't. What was news-worthy was that nearly all of the soldiers in the field cast a blank vote and had hand-written the name of Gilad Shalit, our soldier who was kidnapped from Israeli territory nearly 3 years ago. In other words, no faith in the leadership.

So next Thursday President Peres will make his choice, and the bargaining will get ever more fierce. In the meantime Prime Minister Olmert, who resigned months ago and is in the middle of a huge criminal corruption case, will continue to "lead" us for at least another couple of months.


biopsy II results - February 12, 2009

Ann writes:

Hi Everyone!

I sat with my doctor today about the biopsy results from the tumor removed in January. The news was very good. The growths were surface growths and had not penetrated far into the muscle. Also, they were only stage I, which means we caught them very early on. My doctor believes that this means my body is responding to the treatment.

The next step is to do three consecutive treatments in March, and then another cystascope exam at the end of April, which will mark 3 months from the last one.

I also have an appointment next week in Jerusalem with a specialist there in order to get a second opinion, just to be sure everything is okay.

It has been an incredibly busy month, and my family and I have been blessed in more ways than I can count. I'll try to write all about it in the next few days.

Thank you again for all your concern, your prayers, your support and your friendship.

A very relieved Ann!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Home again - January 25, 2009

Ann writes:

Hi Everyone!

I'm now home again, but have to go off for a couple of hours for my last class of the semester at the college. Luckily it is a short evening rather than the normal 4 hour class! I'm planning on taking the rest of the week off from high school.

As far as my health / operation, etc. The good news is that the surgery went well, but I was a lot more nauseous for a lot longer than last time. My blood pressure was also quite high for several days. Eliana was with me most of the week (no connection to the high BP!). The bad news is that the growth was in the entrance to the bladder, which could mean that it is spreading and is of a more serious type than we previously thought. However, we won't know anything for sure until the biopsy results come back in two weeks. And as my surgeon told me with his twinkling smile, with this kind of cancer my relationship with the hospital is going to be "like a Catholic marriage" - in other words, a long relationship til death do us part many, many years down the road.

I am a bit anxious, of course, but there isn't a lot I can do until I know what kind of growth this new one is. Whatever happens, we'll deal with it.

Thanks for your prayers!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Gone for a week... Monday, January 19, 2009

Ann wrote:

I'm going into the hospital today for more tests, and to have some more growths removed. Therefore (can you tell I've been working on connectors with my English class this week?) I won't be near a computer for about a week.

Have a good week, and I'll write when I get home again.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cease fire - 7 hours later... Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ann wrote:

As I wrote earlier, Israel's self-imposed unilateral cease fire went into effect at 2 o'clock this morning. Within minutes 2 rockets were fired at the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. Between 8 and 9:30 this morning another 6 rockets were fired into Israel. There have been several reports of exchanges of gun fire.

The army has been given orders that they can fire on the enemy if the enemy fires first, but we are not to initiate any actions. Our blowhard PM also said last night that if rockets were fired into Israel we would react harshly. Since there have been at least 8 rockets since then, I guess my definition of "harsh" is different than his. The air force did fire at the areas where the rockets were fired from, but nothing more than that.

Two hundred trucks of food and medical supplies are on their way to the northern crossing point into Gaza. Israel is also setting up a field hospital/clinic in Gaza to provide medical care for the citizens of Gaza. It will be supplied and staffed by Israel, many of them volunteers.


Unilateral cease fire - Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ann wrote:

I knew it was only a matter of time before PM Olmert's true character re-emerged, and tonight it finally happened. I guess two straight weeks of actually being a leader putting his country's best interests in front of his own was too much for him. Instead of allowing the army to finish the job which they started, he is stopping them short of the end. And while this may clean up his blotted copybook somewhat in international circles, in reality it is condemning Israel to going back into Gaza again in a couple of years, leading to more suffering and death on both sides. But the important thing now is that he can smile for the news cameras and play nicey nicey with the new US administration.

And to give you an indication of his "leadership" style, late this afternoon he sat with "the cabinet" to discuss possible cease fire agreements. Because we are at war, the chief rabbis had given special permission for government and military officials to meet on the sabbath. After this meeting he made a very public announcement to Egypt's President Mubarak that Israel was going to institute a unilateral cease fire, and then called a press conference for 10 pm Israel time. The press conference didn't begin until nearly an hour later. Why? To start with, he hadn't actually discussed his cease fire plans with the full cabinet yet.. The earlier "cabinet" meeting had in reality been attended only by the defense and foreign ministers, both of whom are running for PM in the elections here next month and have their own personal agendas. Ehud Barak has already held the position of PM once. He went in with one of the highest-ever approval ratings, but bungled things so badly that he didn't even last a year in office. I think he is probably the record holder for the Israeli PM with the shortest time in office. Even so, he managed to do a lot of damage. Tsippi Livnim took over the party leadership from Olmert last fall, but couldn't form a coalition and therefore did not become PM. She has a history of putting career ahead of principle.

In order for the agreement to go into effect, it has to be approved by the full cabinet. The press conference started late because Olmert was meeting with the cabinet. Obviously not everyone was ready to go along with him. In the end he got a majority, with two against and one abstention.

The terms of the unilateral cease fire:

1) At 2 am Sunday morning Israeli time, Israel will stop firing, fighting, etc. They will stay in their positions in Gaza, but won't attack unless Hamas fires rockets..

2) When a permanent agreement is reached, Israel will withdraw its troops completely.

3) One of the lesser government ministers (who has the whiniest voice I have ever heard from a human being and a mind to match) will draw up plans to rehabilitate Gaza and provide help for its citizens.

My response to the plan:

1) Hamas has rejected any sort of cease fire By leaving our soldiers in Gaza but not allowing them to do anything, they are nothing more than sitting-duck targets. Within minutes of the official announcement, two rockets hit Israeli cities, one landing directly on a house.

2) Hamas has said that they will continue their fight until all crossing points into Gaza are open with no supervision of who and what goes in and out. Since badly-supervised entry points on the Egyptian side are what enabled Hamas to come into possession of hundreds of Grad rockets in the first place - and Hamas is armed and funded by Iran - this condition is not acceptable to Israel. Remember that Hamas proudly boasts that their number one goal is the complete and total annihilation of Israel.

The US (Condaleeza Rice at any rate) has said it would be willing to help supervise the border points, especially by using "technology". One of the suggestions is that a subterranean wall be built to prevent the construction of tunnels, and a better border wall be built above ground. The wall Israel is building has caused international outrage, even from the US. Somehow their wall will be more acceptable? Not only will this be unacceptable to Hamas, but also to all the gangs who make their money smuggling. I can just imagine everyone in Gaza sitting quietly by while this wall is being built.

3) During his announcement Olmert apologized to the people of Gaza for the unintentional suffering which the incursion had caused them. He then reminded them that Israel was not their enemy but Hamas was. If I were sitting in Gaza tonight and heard his patronizing words and too-facile apology, I think I would have spat in his face. He may or may not have been sincere in his apology (it's hard to tell with him), but the way in which it was offered was insulting, condescending and lacking in feeling. I was offended by it, and I wasn't on the receiving end!

No matter how much material aid Israel may provide to help rebuild Gaza, they will never forgive us, they will never be our "friends". They especially will never forgive Olmert, the man who okayed the attack. And who is going to pay for all of this? It sounds good on paper, though.

4) No mention was made about the return of our kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

So, all in all it looks workable to me! What do you think? I prediect a lot of rockets between now and morning.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Yaron's adventures in the bomb shelter - Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ann wrote:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When Yaron got home on yesterday he was very happy to tell me all about his exciting morning. Because he lives so far away from the school, and because he is the only one from our village who attends there, he has a driver (also from our village) who takes him in a taxi each day. They were actually just approaching the school when the sirens went off. At first they thought it was just a police car, until they heard the news on the radio. They ran to bomb shelter #1, but was told it was full, so they ran to bomb shelter #2. After a few minutes they were told to go back to shelter#1 because that was where the rest of the class was. (I'm glad there weren't any more rockets flying around by then! There are obviously a few kinks in the procedure to work out!)

Once back in the correct shelter with his class, he settled down and started talking about all kinds of war history, which the kids were apparently intersted in. (He doesn't always catch on that his interests are not necessarily shared by others, but in this case his teacher said the other kids were genuinely interested.) This was fine for the first little while, but then things got more exciting.

After about twenty minutes, one of his close friends lost it and flipped out. He got hysterical and kept trying to leave, saying he wanted to go home to his parents. An hysterical child (or adult) is never fun, especially in a closed situation where you can't leave. But in this case they had an even more serious problem. This child is already over 6'6" tall, has a stocky build, and is only 14 with an emotional intelligence much younger. So basically for the rest of the time they were in the shelter, Yaron took it upon himself to calm his friend down and then to keep him that way.

All told, they were in the shelters for about two hours. Yaron, who used to panic very easily, was very proud of himself for keeping his cool the entire time. He's matured a lot the past two years. And maybe spending 6 weeks in our home bomb shelter helped a bit too? His 14th birthday is on Sunday.

When the rockets hit, the army shot artillery rounds into the area they were fired from in Lebanon, and fighter jets and attack helicopters were scrambled. We still had a lot of air activity today. Israel also filed a formal complaint with the UN. Also, soldiers from the UN and the Lebanese army also patrolled the area, which is under their control. So far this looks like an isolated incident, just like the one near near Nahariya last week.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

North - update

Ann wrote:

About 9 o'clock this morning 3 katushya rockets fell near the city of Kiryat Shmonah, which is near the border with Lebanon north of us. The rockets fell in fields around the city. The army immediately fired artillery rounds into the area where the rockets came from. In the hour since then it has been quiet, but everyone in the area has been asked to stay in or next to their bomb shelters until further notice. Even the regional courthouse is holding trials in the bomb shelter!

At about the same time, there was an exchange of gunfire on the Lebanese border near the coastal city of Nahariya.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the rockets, which means that they probably weren't fired by the Hisballah. There are plenty of small Palestinian militias which operate in the area, and it was probably one of them. However, none of them operate without the complicit sanction of Hisballah, which controls the area.

What is worrying is that the rockets were fired from the area of Marjdayoun and the Hazbani in southern Lebanon, which is up on a natural bench north of the border near Banyas / Tel Dan. This is territory which is technically under the auspices and control of the multinational UN peacekeeping force which was placed there to keep the peace after the 2006 war.

Yaron's school is next to the city. His teacher just called to tell us that as soon as the siren sounded they got all the children down into the bombshelters, and they will stay there until the army tells them it is safe to come out. The bomb shelters have food, water, bathrooms, etc. She said Yaron is very calm and is giving a lecture on the history of warfare to the other students, who are all sitting around him in rapt attention. He loves an audience! He also has an encyclopedia and another book with him, so he is fine.

I'll keep you posted.


Katushyas in the north of Israel (near us)

Ann wrote:

It is now 9 in the morning on Wednesday. The Israeli news has just reported that 2 katushya rockets - fired from Lebanon - have fallen near Kiryat Shmonah in northern Israel. Kiryat Shmonah is about 3 miles from the border with Lebanon, and less than a mile from where my youngest son is right now in school. It is 25 miles from where I live, and about 35 miles from Tiberius, where our branch meets.

It is now five minutes later and another one has just fallen. Everyone in the area of KS, including all the school kids, are now in or on their way to the bomb shelters. This is pretty well what happened in 2006. It started in the south, and a couple of weeks later it came to the north. Prayers are always appreciated!


Growing up in Israel - a very personal perspective

Ann wrote:

This letter was written by my daughter in response to several comments in the international media and on the Internet about the horrible Israeli soldiers who have no respect for suffering or human life. My daughter is 19 and is serving in the Israeli Air Force. Nearly everyone she knows who is close to her own age, and close to her personally, is serving in the army right now. She included pictures of several of her friends, which I have not included. I have corrected her spelling (English is not her native language), but not her grammar. She has given permission for this letter to be forwarded by me, and by anyone who reads it. A, Israel

"My name is El K H, I'm 19 years old going on 20 in a couple of months and I'm already a year and a 6 months in the army.
I was burn and raised in Israel but lived and learned in the U.S.. for my whole senior year.
Which means, if you know how to calculate, by the time every senior student you may know, maybe even your own kids, and even any one older than me, were concentrating on how to celebrate their 18th birthday, what college they'll be going to, or whether they even want to go to college or maybe prefer to work first, or go on a semester abroad, I was concentrating on what [army] unit I want to try to get into, how much work I'll be able to get in one month before I get drafted because then I have two years to try to live on less than 80$ a month.

So I just want to get some points right - our Israeli army is built from 18-22 year olds, every Israeli by the time they are 16 get a letter by mail saying:
''congratulations, in two years exactly you will be drafted to the Israeli army'', at that same moment that same/teen,child or what ever you want to call them starts thinking of what unit they want to get in, start training every single day-not so they can become the best basketball player or to get into a sports team that they like but so they can get into the most combat unit, become the strongest soldier so when that same suicide bomber that's trying to get into Israel so he can kill/slaughter/hurt/torture any and as many Israelis as he can, maybe being that same soldier's parent, sister, brother, nephew, aunt, uncle, niece, friend and many other people he knows and cares [about].
And these are not speculations or exaggerations-these are true story that I have personally grown up to, supporting; wiping away tears and holding my friends and neighbors when they where falling apart because their loved ones were hurt or killed in terror attacks, wars and military operations- you name it I have lived it!
So dear readers, I want you to think about the last time you went to a restaurant, or taken your kids to a movie, sending them to school on a bus, has the thought of you and the people around you being blown up at that same moment ever popped into your head?

Let me tell you a nice story; about 7 years ago, maybe even more, I was at least 13 and my brother 8. We were very poor and couldn't afford to buy tickets to a movie for years, and I had just won 2 free tickets to the movie ''Ice Age'' who had just came out in theaters. My mom agreed to take me and my brother to Haifa where the closest theater was in [the same] week when we would both be on Passover vacation. Needless to say that we where very excited, I was looking forward to go for that whole week. One day before, Mom came to me and said '' Eliana we are not going to the movie''. I of course was outraged, asking why and how come and the only thing my mom told me was '' I just don't feel good about it''. I was furious and upset not being able to understand her and how she could do that to us since that was the only day we could watch the movie. The very morning after, around noon that same day the restaurant and all the road and street outside the theater was bombed, one of the most horrible and memorable bomb attacks in the whole history of Israel. In fact, most of the pictures from the videos from "you-tube", the ones with all the body parts all over, is from that attack, ''the Maxime Restaurant'' attack.
This to me is a nice story, this is what I always compared happy endings to.

So you see, the Israeli-Palestinian argument really isn't that complicated at heart like you want to believe it is!
In fact I will simplify it for you. The Hamas are one of the biggest anti-Israel groups. They are anti Israel not because me; my family, one of my friends or their families or any other person living in Israel today has done anything to hurt them, but because some twisted thinking that started even before Israel was established.
So because of that they try to kill us, hurt us as much as they can by sending missiles, suicide bombing attackers, kidnappers and anything they can think about.
Israel in return sends also missiles, attacks homes, hospitals, schools, and misgads(prayer homes) [mosques].
That same prayer house and school.and hospitals and homes were at use by the Hamas to launch missiles, use to be bomb making factories and used as refuge to some Hamas leaders.
Now why do you think they do that?
Because they know for fact that despite them we are human, we know to make the difference between those who are innocent and those who aren't.
They don't.
They use their own, not only elderly and adult- but children, to try and get what they want or to try and protect their own.
When Israeli soldiers went into Gaza bombing secret tunnels and buildings (only because they're where the launching points of the missiles that were being launched into Israel) they came across lots of Palestinians, Gaza residents who where hurt, and they received health care by our medic soldiers. We cared for them and about them more than ''their own''.

Let me ask you something, if your neighbor would start shooting at your home, endangering your own family because he hates the fact that he couldn't get the land your house is on, would you justify him or try to understand him while he is doing anything he possibly can to hurt, torture and endanger your family and you? Would you feel that you have to buy and send humanitarian things to him because he is out; while still trying to hurt you?

Now you're right, these words are not out of an educated degree holder, not even by a college graduate, they are by me- a 19 year old girl who serves as a commander in the Israeli air force,who trains the soldiers, who instead of being able to watch a movie or TV with my 19-20 something year old friends I see them on t/v, camouflaging their faces in 2 in the morning, carrying guns and equipment heavier than their own body weight, burying their own officer, team friend or even burying their own brothers.

You probably got to know the parents of the guy you where dating by dinners you were invited to. I get to know the parents of the boy I am dating by phone calls I get from his mother crying her soul out, seconds from becoming crazy cus she knows he is in there, just wanting to know if he called, SMSed or anything.

Oh, just so you know, that same mother was almost killed in a bomb attack about 6 years ago. She was on her way back home in a cab where they stopped on the way to give a ride to some Arab who looked desperate, waiting for hours for a ride. They offered [invited] him to join them. He got in, sat next to her and less than seconds after he bombed himself [blew himself up]. The cab driver- an Arab as well - was killed as was her friend. No one knows how by miracle she had survived.
She was hospitalized for almost a year with 3rd degree burns.
And that is the same reason her son got drafted to the army and became an officer in the tank unit, to do all that he personally can to stop terror and protect the country and the citizens.

They [Israeli soldiers] do not gloat after an innocent child or family has been killed, whereas Palestinians go out in the streets burning our flag, singing and dancing after ours have been killed.
Furthermore, my friends and my brother would wake up in the middle of the night because of nightmares. It took my brother almost two years to settle down after getting released from the army because of almost becoming crazy after all he has seen.


May you think about how the purity and innocence of childhood and family should be, and the next time you write an email may it be with nothing but sympathetic words to the mothers who have just lost their sons and those who might still lose them, or ways to donate to those same soldiers who have not eaten in days, freezing from cold or to those same children and families in Israel who have nowhere to live since they had to leave their homes because their towns have been bombed non stop. and the minute they found refuge in the north- that same town was bombed as well.

So may you have a great week, and if you would ever want to serve instead of me I would love to get my degree so I can prove my point even more."

Article about Norwegian doctor; good film clips

Ann wrote:

This is a good article about a Norwegian doctor / Palestinian activist who has appeared on many news stations. At the bottom of the report are links to some interesting footage released by the IDF.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

‘Proportionate’ response ludicrous’

Ann wrote:
This is a letter to the editor of my hometown paper which I wrote in response to another letter. It was interesting to me to read the comments. I obviously provided a morning's entertainment for some people! A


‘Proportionate’ response ludicrous’
Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:20 AM CST

To the editor:I grew up in River Heights, graduated from Sky View and USU, and went to graduate school (Middle East history) at the U of U. My roommate for two years was a very religious Shiite woman from Iran. A dear friend was from southern Lebanon. My major professor was from Nazareth. For the past 27 years I have lived in northern Israel. My husband and three of my children so far have served in the Israeli army.The entire issue of “proportionate response” is absolutely ludicrous. As the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton so eloquently asked last week, what is “proportionate response?” Does that mean that every time a rocket is fired from Gaza into an Israeli city at a civilian target, Israel should then return the favor by firing a rocket from Israel into a populated civilian target in Gaza? Does that mean that every time snipers from Gaza take aim at farmers working in their fields in Israel, Israel should send snipers to shoot at shepherds in Gaza? Does that mean that every time a bus is blown up in Israel, the same should be done in Palestine? The fact is, “proportionate response” rarely exists in real life, in any context.There is no doubt that the current war in Gaza is causing horrific suffering. The Israeli army has taken every step humanly possible to avoid civilian casualties. It has even been suspending fighting every day for three hours so that humanitarian aid can be taken in to the civilians. Some of that aid has actually been provided by Israel itself. Jordan, Turkey and Qatar have provided much of it. The rest of the Arab world has provided none. Many injured civilians from Gaza, especially children, are currently being treated at Israeli hospitals. Others have been taken to hospitals in Jordan and Egypt. Again, the vast majority of Arab nations limit their humanitarian help to vituperative rhetoric against Israel.

Attacking Gaza is not something Israel has wanted to do, especially knowing that because Gaza is so densely populated there would undoubtedly be high civilian casualties. For eight years Israel has complained to the U.N. about continued rocket attacks from Gaza on our civilian populations. The U.N. has done nothing. In 2005 Israel completely pulled its military forces out of Gaza, forcibly removed Israeli civilians who were living there and destroyed every last building built by Israel within Gaza territory, with the exception of the synagogues. This was done with the agreement that the rocket attacks would stop. In the three years since then, more than 12,000 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired into Israeli civilian populations.Unfortunately, the civilians on both sides are the victims, as they always have been in any war in history.AIsrael

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 8:50 AM:
" (AP) — The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called Friday for an independent war crimes investigation in Gaza after reports that Israeli forces shelled a house full of Palestinian civilians, killing 30 people.Navi Pillay told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council that the harm to Israeli civilians caused by Hamas rockets was unacceptable, but did not excuse any abuses carried out by Israeli forces in response.Pillay went further in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., saying an incident in Gaza City this week "appears to have all the elements of war crimes."The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Israeli troops evacuated Palestinian civilians to a house in the Zeitoun neighborhood on Jan. 4, then shelled the building 24 hours later. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 8:52 AM:
""ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defence” as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.The killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 3,000 injuries, accompanied by the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention, is not commensurate to the deaths caused by Hamas rocket fire.For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. And yet in 2005-8, according to the UN, the Israeli army killed about 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it. "This article has the signature of 28 officials and/or professionals. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 8:56 AM:
""Switzerland has demanded for an international investigation into Israel's likely violations of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.In a Friday statement, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said that the humanitarian situation in Gaza in the wake of Israeli raids on the coastal strip is "nothing less than catastrophic”.The statement also condemned Israeli attacks against humanitarian organizations in Gaza, which has significantly hindered aid efforts to the beleaguered strip which houses 1.5 million residents." "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:00 AM:
"'s current assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be justified by self-defense. Rather, it involves serious violations of international law, including war crimes. Senior Israeli political and military leaders may bear personal liability for their offenses, and they could be prosecuted by an international tribunal, or by nations practicing universal jurisdiction over grave international crimes. Hamas fighters have also violated the laws of warfare, but their misdeeds do not justify Israel's acts.Israel had not suffered an "armed attack" immediately prior to its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Since firing the first Kassam rocket into Israel in 2002, Hamas and other Palestinian groups have loosed thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israel, causing about two dozen Israeli deaths and widespread fear. As indiscriminate attacks on civilians, these were war crimes. During roughly the same period, Israeli forces killed about 2,700 Palestinians in Gaza by targeted killings, aerial bombings, in raids, etc., according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:05 AM:
"〈=e AMNESTY INTERNATIONALPUBLIC STATEMENTAI Index: IOR 41/003/20099 December 2009Amnesty International calls on Security Council to establish full accountability for crimes committed in Gaza conflict and for deployment of human rights monitorsAs fighting continues in violation of the UN Security Council's near unanimous adoption last night (8 January) of resolution 1860 calling for an immediate and durable ceasefire in Gaza, Amnesty International calls on the Security Council to take firm action to ensure full accountability for war crimes and other serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law." "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:12 AM:
" Ann Hansen wrote." It has even been suspending fighting every day for three hours so that humanitarian aid can be taken in to the civilians."Israel was forced to do this by pressure of the international community. They did not volunteer this, they did not want to, they were forced to. Indeed they violated that 3 hour truce and continued to bomb during that time. Recall the words of LivniL"Israel’s foreign ministry quoted Livni as saying there is “no humanitarian crisis”."There is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce."Throughout the past six days, approximately 422 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli Air Force raids, while more than 2000 Palestinians have been reported injured. This conflict comes on the heels of an 18 month-long humanitarian crisis in which Israel has literally strangled the people of Gaza by keeping borders closed, and blocking international humanitarian aid from entering Gaza.According to the Palestinian Independent Commission on Human Rights, “80% of the population [in Gaza] are living on less than two dollars a day, unemployment hovers at 60% and just 195 factories remain open out of 3900 in 2005." This assessment came weeks before Israeli commenced its military operation on the Gaza strip, which has been admitted in Israeli media that it had been planned “for months”.Despite the “facts on the ground”, Livni continues to masquerade around Europe showing her utter contempt for the lives of Palestinians by claiming that there is no humanitarian crisis. " was only after hundreds of thousands of protesters throughout the world, pressure from the United Nations, the Red Cross and other humanitarian relief entities that Israel agreed to this 3 hour proposal.This is nothing they initiated because they are such good war criminals. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:20 AM:
" Self defense and proportionate are not ludicrous terms. They are in fact defined by international law and United Nations members are subject to those laws.Preemptive self defense is also not legal.For instance Israels paranoia about Iran does not legitimize bombing Iran under the misuse of the phrase self defense. "

orion wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:23 AM:
" It is not until the powers of the earth get past greed, religious superiority, and the "eye for an eye" mentality, that hope for lasting peace may be realized.One would think mankind would have learned something in the last few thousand years. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:23 AM:
" In citing John Bolton in this letter supportive of international law violations and Israeli war crimes, she could not have chosen a more biased neo con.John Bolton is in favor of taking Palestine and giving Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan. John Bolton has supported Israel and the Israeli lobby in Washington 100 percent of the time."Last summer the Senate rejected the nomination of Bolton, a right-wing ideologue fiercely opposed to all international laws and institutions that constrain U.S. power. Overriding congressional concerns that Bolton would be an ineffective UN ambassador because of his long history of criticizing the United Nations, Bush appointed Bolton to the post during the August 2005 congressional recess.A year into his term, which expires in January 2007, Bolton has energized his supporters, won over some critics, and pleased the president with his own brand of cowboy diplomacy. With congressional support running high for Israel's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, the White House has resubmitted Bolton's nomination.Bolton received strong support from major Jewish organizations during last year's confirmation hearings, and these same organizations are gearing up to mount a strong pro-Bolton lobbying campaign this time around. Among the Jewish groups that supported Bolton during the first hearings were the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), B'nai B'rith International, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). " "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:27 AM:
" Ann said:"My roommate for two years was a very religious Shiite woman from Iran. A dear friend was from southern Lebanon."AnnAttempting to disguise yourself as a unbiased, Muslim lover by using your past room mates and friends from countries that Israel has and/or would like to preemptively strike is disturbing. It was also obvious. Your use of these friends to justify your position or eliminate your obvious neo con bias is a huge insult to all Middle Eastern people of conscience.Ann said:"My roommate for two years was a very religious Shiite woman from Iran. A dear friend was from southern Lebanon." "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:46 AM:
" Ann,Since you are such an accomplished Middle Eastern Scholar you must remember the Zionist Militia described by Albert Einstein as fascists and by Isaiah Berlin as Terrorists. Among other things they are recorded in history for waging a campaign of violence against the British and the Palestinian Arabs, the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem with huge loss of life, the hanging of two captured British sergeants, and the massacre of villagers at Deir Yassin. 1946-1948 "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:48 AM:
" Des,Can you just stick to listing links rather than cutting and pasting an entire publication to the board? "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 9:58 AM:
" Does Ann also know Israel which controls Gaza as an occupied territory must operate under international law as an occupying force. That they have been an occupying force for many years. And as an occupying country they did not even allow the people of Gaza to fish withing 3 miles of the Gaza border. Does she know that they systematically put in place blockades to starve the Palestinian people, deprive them of fuel, food, medical supplies. Does she know that Israel controls every border of Gaza, including the Mediterranean and blocks any relief effort to these 1.8 million people who have no nation, no army for defense other then Hamas who was democratically elected to provide for their common defense? "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:06 AM:
" Des,It's interesting that your postings don't mention rockets fired from homes and mosques. You think Amnesty International is only concerned with Israel to this humanitarian end? While the following link mentions Israel forcing residents to stay in their homes while taking them up as sniper positions, I'm not convinced this is a human shield tactic as in when Hamas comes in to a house, launches rockets from it, then bail knowing full well the house will soon be targeted with return fire. this: it:'The terrorist organizations' doctrine of using human shields was inspired by Hezbollah's tactics in Lebanon and by the lessons they learned from the terrorist campaign they have been waging against Israel since 2000."Hamas' biggest, baddest weapon is the perpetuation of a propaganda campaign. I guess that makes you a tool. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:07 AM:
" Bluto,No. Sorry but I am not putting entire publications in. To quote the words of the hundreds of thousands of protesters around the world "We will not be silenced"The entire publications would be better but very long.There are volumes and volumes of books written on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. One that is recommended is "The Much Too Promised Land" "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:10 AM:
" Bluto,Many of my posts from the last letter dated Jan 9 and entitled "War cannot be propotional" do so lets not start lying.Here:desertique wrote on Jan 10, 2009 12:21 PM:" This conflict is decades old. The occupied territories will continue to resist until grievances are addressed. Israel will continue to respond, many say the response is disproportionate thus leading to further retaliatory actions throughout the world.I like what Rabbi Michael Lerner has to say about the issue. His calm yet somewhat biased voice lends understanding to both sides.Israel's attempt to wipe out Hamas is understandable, but stupid. No country in the world is going to ignore the provocation of rockets being launched from neighbouring territory day after day. If Mexico had a group of anti-imperialists bombing Texas, imagine how long it would take for America to mobilise a counterattack. Israel has every right to respond.He is one of many Jewish voices that acknowledge that Israels across the border raids into combined with the siege on the Palestinian population was a compelling reason for Hamas to began their rockets firing once again.Here is the article by Rabbi Lerner entitled "It breaks my heart to see Israels stupidity""But the kind of response matters. Killing 500 Palestinians and wounding 2,000 others (at the time of writing) is disproportionate. Hamas can harass, but it cannot pose any threat to the existence of Israel. And just as Hamas's indiscriminate bombing of population centres is a crime against humanity, so is Israel's killing of civilians (at least 130 so far in Gaza, not to mention the thousands in the years of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza).Hamas had respected the previously negotiated ceasefire except when Israel used it as cover to make assassination raids. Hamas argued that these raids were hardly a manifestation of a ceasefire, and so as symbolic protest it would allow the release of rocket fire (usually hitting no targets). But when the issue of continuing the ceasefire came up, Hamas wanted a guarantee that these assassination raids would stop. And it asked for more. With hundreds of thousands of Palestinians facing acute malnutrition, Hamas insists that the borders be opened so that food can arrive unimpeded. And in return for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, it asks for the release of 1,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. " "In addition almost every article I post includes rocket firing by Hamas. If you read the article you will see that. Would you like me to post the entire articles to prove this?I can. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:14 AM:
" Des,I didn't read most of your posts on the other letter. I'm not lying. Let's stick to the facts surrounding your propaganda campaign as it is presented on THIS thread. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:14 AM:
" The imbalance favoring Israel lies not in a failure to post the obvious that is rocket fire from the occupied territories but a failure to post the Israeli incursions, humanitarian blockades, war crimes and violations of cease fires. Gaza, a Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said the group had fired rockets out of Gaza as a "response to Israel's massive breach of the truce"."The Israelis began this tension and they must pay an expensive price. They cannot leave us drowning in blood while they sleep soundly in their beds," he said.The attack comes shortly before a key meeting this Sunday in Cairo when Hamas and its political rival Fatah will hold talks on reconciling their differences and creating a single, unified government. It will be the first time the two sides have met at this level since fighting a near civil war more than a year ago.Until now it had appeared both Israel and Hamas, which seized full control of Gaza last summer, had an interest in maintaining the ceasefire. For Israel it has meant an end to the daily barrage of rockets landing in southern towns, particularly Sderot. For Gazans it has meant an end to the regular Israeli military raids that have caused hundreds of casualties, many of them civilian, in the past year. Israel, however, has maintained its economic blockade on the strip, severely limiting imports and preventing all exports from Gaza." "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:17 AM:
" Bluto,These are the facts whether you want to read them or not. I do not expect you to. It is up to you.But every article has documented facts.It is your choice.My choice is to discover the whole truth, not just the history as written by the United States government and her client state. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:17 AM:
" Des,It doesn't matter that pieces of articles you post might go against your campaign. What matters is the chunks of these articles you select to carry on as a tool for Hamas and Hezbollah. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:18 AM:
" Does anyone here doubt for a minute that Iran-loving desertique hates Jews/Israel? Maybe she should just proclaim that to us all and then shut up. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:22 AM:
" Bluto,This is fact, United Nations' most senior human rights official said last night that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza. The warning came as Israeli troops pressed on with the deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire.Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of humanitarian law, and singled out an incident this week in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, where up to 30 Palestinians in one house were killed by Israeli shelling."In addition Israel has admitted to bombing a United Nations school in Gaza killing over 50 innocent civilians. This after the UN provided Israel with GSL coordinates so they would not hit the school.Hmmmm "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:24 AM:
" Des,You're not much a fan of the USA. Why study here at all? Why not go to Gaza yourself and perpetuate your campaign. You could stand on a corner with one of those billboards that drapes over your body front and back.OK, I'm just being mean and you know I like you. You certainly are well informed on the ins and outs of the propaganda campaign against the US and Israel. You represent the terrorists well and someone's gotta do it. There are two sides to every issue, right? I have to admit I'm impressed. You've developed into one helluva good writer and I love it when we are on the same side of an issue. We probably won't be on this one. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:26 AM:
" Kent,There is not hating Jews or anyone. In a compelling conversation with my Jewish mother we both came to the conclusion that being Jewish does not mean we are Zionist. Similar to being Arabic or Persian does not mean we are terrorists.I do not expect you to understand this but you could give it a try.Here is some rational for this line of thought from one of my mothers favorite Rabbis.Here is the article by Rabbi Lerner entitled "It breaks my heart to see Israels stupidity""But the kind of response matters. Killing 500 Palestinians and wounding 2,000 others (at the time of writing) is disproportionate. Hamas can harass, but it cannot pose any threat to the existence of Israel. And just as Hamas's indiscriminate bombing of population centres is a crime against humanity, so is Israel's killing of civilians (at least 130 so far in Gaza, not to mention the thousands in the years of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza).Hamas had respected the previously negotiated ceasefire except when Israel used it as cover to make assassination raids. Hamas argued that these raids were hardly a manifestation of a ceasefire, and so as symbolic protest it would allow the release of rocket fire (usually hitting no targets). But when the issue of continuing the ceasefire came up, Hamas wanted a guarantee that these assassination raids would stop. And it asked for more. With hundreds of thousands of Palestinians facing acute malnutrition, Hamas insists that the borders be opened so that food can arrive unimpeded. And in return for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, it asks for the release of 1,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. " "There is a strong Jewish response and opinion that the actions of the Israeli government are unacceptable. There is also strong opinion that the bombings are being carried out to shore up public support ahead of the Israeli elections in Feb. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:28 AM:
" Des,The only "fact' there is that the UN is condemning Israel for defending herself. Much like they did when we went into Iraq with one hand tied behind our backs. It also says they "may" have violated human rights. What would you expect a person with the title "most senior human rights official of the UN" to say?The UN is pretty much a joke anyway and I hope we don't move into a train of thought that asks the UN for permission to defend ourselves. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:29 AM:
" Keep in mind that being a good writer doesn't make what's being written correct. Heck, there are plenty of good writers across the country who write junk columns in newspapers. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:33 AM:
" Bluto,It is both my duty and my right to question the actions of my government. Are you to say I should be silent to avoid the appearence of unpatriotic?Are you saying that as an American citizen I should shut up and never question our foreign policy, our actions, our decisions.Are you going to tell Ron Paul that he should not be allowed to run for President because he does not support IAPAC, current foreign policy and aid to Israel?Are you telling Jimmy Carter that he should not longer consider himself a former President and citizen of the United States and to move elsewhere?The list is endless. I am not the only citizen of the United States that opposes Israels actions both past and present.More then 65 % of democrats are opposed to ongoing aid to Israel and her actions as our client state, yet our democratic congress overwelmingly votes to continue this.Are you telling this group that they should continue to not be represented? "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:37 AM:
" Bluto,The same argument holds for the Palestinians. They in fact have been engaged in defending themselves for decades.This is a recognized by the international community and by many powers in the United States. Until there is a validity in the process to ensure the rights of the Palestinians to a nation and an honest broker (strange oxymoron) there will never be a cessation of rocket fire or war crimes. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:38 AM:
" Kent,The writing has to have factual documented accounts. It is even better if it does not rely on the extreme bias of people like Bolton. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:40 AM:
" It's interesting Des,You're an Iranian (Persian) or Arabic Jew who lives in the US and defends those who'd have Israel "wiped off the map". Pretty tough for you to find a hole to crawl into if you ever need one isn't it?'Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya and many other Hamas leaders (such as Nizar Rayyan, killed in Operation Cast Lead) have openly boasted about their use of their human shield tactics." From that second link above. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:43 AM:
" I leave you to assault my patriotism, citizenship, person hood and invite me to leave America now.There was no doubt in my mind that this would occur but it has been absolutely worth it.It is always easier to attack the messenger then to dispute the message. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:44 AM:
" desDon't ya think your hatred of Israel might taint your perception of what is factual and what isn't? "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:46 AM:
" Again Des,It's fine to question American leadership. Most of us around here do that at some time or another. But time and again your writings come across as Anti-American. You seem embarrassed to be one. You speak of the Middle East as if they're the greatest in the world in every way: Art, Religion, War, Humanitarian effort ... your lists surely do go on and on and on ... There is this constant hint of longing to be one of "them" in everything you write on this topic. How is that "questioning authority'?You remind me of Juan Epsteen Jr. from Welcome Back Carter in a way. He was the world's only Black Puerto Rican Jew. You have a similar colorful background. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:47 AM:
" Why would a person want to read all that crap you've posted here--you've posted too much. You should have trimmed it down if you wanted anyone to read it all. Some of us have better things to do with our time. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:47 AM:
" oh and I blew it ... Welcome Back "Kotter" was one of my all-time favorite TV shows. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:49 AM:
" Bluto,I am white dear. Whether or not I have Middle Eastern ancestry is not valid. I most likely do, we all most likely do.My mother and her parents are French. My father an his parents are Welsh and Irish.There may be some Native American on my mothers side of the family.I don't care what Hamas said or boasted about. I am not a Hamas adherent. I do know that the Palestinian people were so desperate as to elect Hamas. Hamas built their schools, government buildings ect, provided much needed charitable assistance, built a police force ect.Its true that current policies favor and promote radicalism. In fact this current incident will strengthen radical views and actions not dissuade it. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:50 AM:
" Speaking of facts, the way des perceived facts, I say it's a fact that she is anti-American. If she denies it, she's a liar, which mean you can't trust much of what she calls facts. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:51 AM:
" Kent,I in fact have not posted enough. There is no such thing as a proportional posting response. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:51 AM:
" Kent,Define anti-american for the readers please. "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:52 AM:
" Au revoir,I leave you to come up with a definition. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:53 AM:
" Anti-American is any person who has similar views of America that desertique does. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:54 AM:
" Des,I needed only one post to refute your "message". Did you browse those links or not? You haven't had time so there is no way you did. Your fingers have been trotting across your keyboard at light speed all morning. You're not interested in debate on this. You already know everything you need for making up your mind. Many of us recognize that as a result your only aim is to perpetuate political anti-Israel and anti-America propaganda. Like I said, proportionally it's the terrorist's only tool against the strong-arm attempting to defeat them.They're so good at it that they've convinced even you to do some bidding. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:56 AM:
" desYou haven't posted enough? What if you've posted so much that no one is reading what you've written. You're then simply rambling on to yourself. Is that the intent? Or, is your intent to get people to read what you write? Writing more will only make people ignore you more than they already do. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:57 AM:
" Des,You're white?Perhaps I misunderstood your comment after proclaiming your Jewish heritage and relating a conversation with your mother: "...being Arabic or Persian does not mean we are terrorists." "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 10:59 AM:
" desCan you tell us, using one or two concise sentences, why you are anti-Israel and anti-American? What is the foundation of your hatred? "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:01 AM:
" Des said, "I am white dear." Now I wonder if that was a typo and she is trying to tell me her name is "White Deer' and she is the worlds only Native-American, Iranian-Arab Jew. "

Kent wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:03 AM:
" BlutoThis wouldn't be her first stretching of the truth. "

Oxnard wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:09 AM:
" The truth about the Gaza strip. "

Rod wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:17 AM:
" No, Oxnard, it's an OP-ED about the Gaza strip. "

Oxnard wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:26 AM:
" Okay then, the FACTS about the Gaza strip. Please dispute what you think is incorrect. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:34 AM:
" I hear ya Kent! "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 11:44 AM:
" OK, Ox,I got to the first paragraph and had to type. The column asserts that most people living in Gaza didn't choose to live there because they were forced there in 1948. Are we to believe most people in Gaza are old enough to have been adults in 1948? I didn't choose to be born in West Covina either. My parents made that choice just like anyone in Gaza who chose to have a baby made that choice for their children. Who cares? "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 12:13 PM:
" So you have Rocky the bully. Let's pretend he's Israel. You have Poindexter the victim. Let's pretend he's Gaza.What does Poindexter do when Rocky tries to take his lunch money? He has to either hit Rocky when he ain't looking, get help from someone better at fighting or befriend Rocky somehow.In this case we have Poindexter hiring a martyr who isn't capable of fighting Rocky but sure knows how to smear his name. The martyr takes swings at Rocky knowing they can't hurt him and will get hit back. That's what the martyr wants. "See, Rocky keeps hitting me," claims the martyr.If Israel did or would go in unprovoked, why does Hamas continue to provoke by hurling rockets at random in Israel's general direction? Why not just lay down, be bullied and in the process Martyred? Could it be that Israel wouldn't go in unprovoked?Just pondering … "

de2whit wrote on Jan 11, 2009 12:30 PM:
" For a history of what Israel has been dealing with see the following link. It shows pages of dates/photos/etc. of what no one will ever see in the main stream media. There are dead children on both sides but only one chooses civilian targets on purpose. Oxnard's "truth about the gaza strip" link, it is a complete misrepresentation and distortion of the facts. Oxnard, if you have to ask someone to point out what is wrong with it, you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Do some research yourself..The arabs were invited to stay in 1948 by Israel. They chose to leave so the invading armies of the surrounding arab counties could destroy Israel and then the arab civilians would return.Unfortunately for them, it didn't go so well for the invading arab countries.Regarding the Op-Ed's war crimes statement, here is what the terrorists do:"A suicide bomber blew himself up on board a bus in Jerusalem, killing 22 people and wounding 136, many of them children and babies. 12 of the wounded are considered in very serious condition.- August 19, 2003""..was avenging the killing of a senior operative by Israeli troops..."One dead terrorist militant = 8 dead Israeli children, that's terrorist accounting for you. more: "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 12:41 PM:
" More sentiment from the famous anti americans at the Christian Science Monitor."Cherryfield, Maine; and Washington - A million and a half Palestinians are learning the hard way that democracy isn't so good if you vote the wrong way. In 2006, they elected Hamas when the US and Israel wanted them to support the more-moderate Fatah. As a result, having long ago lost their homes and property, Gazans have endured three years of embargo, crippling shortages of food and basic necessities, and total economic collapse.Hamas never called for the elections that put them in power. That was the brainstorm of Secretary Rice and her staff, who had apparently decided they could steer Palestinians into supporting the more-compliant Mahmoud Abbas (the current president of the Palestinian authority) and his Fatah Party through a marketing campaign that was to counter Hamas's growing popularity – all while ignoring continued Israeli settlement construction, land confiscation, and cantonization of the West Bank." "

desertique wrote on Jan 11, 2009 12:47 PM:
" Kent,Why when I challenge Israels crimes does that make you label me anti American.Why do I have to give blind support to a theocracy that has killed thousands of other semitic people.Do you believe that Jews who disagree with the false theocracies of Israels leaders are also anti American?Why do you blindly follow the propaganda and lies from our government?If the carnage in the occupied territories (as designated by the United Nations) were white Christians would you still support unquestioning support for the decades long genocidal track that Israel has been on.Is the Pope wrong when he condemns Israel?Are the Popes representatives wrong when they call Gaza a huge concentration camp?Are you sure you are supporting at just cause? "

Crank Shaft wrote on Jan 11, 2009 12:59 PM:
" DesertiqueI don't think it's just that you challenge Israel's crimes, almost everything you post reeks of hatred of America. You are anti-American! Are you going to deny it and expect us to believe it? "

Crank Shaft wrote on Jan 11, 2009 1:00 PM:
" DesertiqueRather than try to deny that you are anti-American, why don't you do as Kent challenged you to do and tell us what the foundation of your hatred of America is. "

orion wrote on Jan 11, 2009 1:29 PM:
" Ahem.One does not have to be anti-American to know by now that Palestinians have been treated abominably for decades and Israelis have had the most generous sugar-daddy in the world. Let's get real here and at least try to view some of the politics with a less jaundiced view. "

Bluto wrote on Jan 11, 2009 1:46 PM:
" Orion,As soon as they stop strapping bombs to their back to prove what you just said, maybe the rest of the world will listen. "

orion wrote on Jan 11, 2009 1:54 PM:
" Bluto: There are crazies on all sides. I would say the Bush/Cheney duo are among the most heinous. Instead of strapping the munitions on themselves and going to battle, as a world power, they have sent our sons and daughters to do their dirty work.Let's point our fingers inward first and clean up our own backyard. "

Oxnard wrote on Jan 11, 2009 2:57 PM:
" de2whit--sorry i'm just getting back to you, i went for my sunday hour church service. To the topic, i don't agree 100% with the op-ed that i linked to but it interjects some thought of the other side of which is seriously lacking in the american dialogue. While it's true that in theory the Palestinians were invited to stay as per a UN resolution in 1947...I tend to think the locals acted in a way that most everyone would have under the circumstances. Imagine this scenario:A foreign body of nations decides to establish a government in Cache Valley comprised of a group that has recently suffered on another continent. For the sake of argument let's say the Darfurians. So the Darfurians are given your valley to form a government and country where they can all gather. The locals are invited to stay on their lands although they are given no assurances or legitimate explanations why this is being done. Meanwhile, the Idahoans, Wyomingians and Coloradoans are giving you a false impression that if you leave, they will take care of the Darfurians and then you can have your land back after the war that the Darfurians are sure to take on you for possession of the land. Now, I don't know how many would have stayed under these conditions but I'd bet that most would flee, if nothing else, than solely to avoid whatever wars were about to occur. Meanwhile, 50 years after you fled your homeland to avoid conflict, the Darfurians had you couped up in Snowville and wouldn't allow you to so much as take a shat without permission...I think you'd be a little upset as a people. Where was I even going with this? "

de2whit wrote on Jan 11, 2009 3:52 PM:
" Oxnard, you are the one that called it "The truth about the Gaza strip".Your description of the "theoretical" invitation to stay by Israeli leaders doesn't come close to what happened. If the locals were having their homes taken from them they should have had the b@lls to stay and fight, not use that as an excuse for their descendants to blow up children on buses 60 years later. But, they were not having their homes taken. They chose to leave because they wanted then what they still want today, Israel wiped off the face of the earth.That is why after Israel left Gaza they still weren't satisfied. And now, because Israel tries to stop them from importing weapons or exporting bombs they use that as another excuse to lob rockets out of Gaza into Israeli cities.My opinion? Hamas should stop terrorist bombings, recognize Israel and stop vowing for its destruction, and negotiate with Israel to help make Gaza a good place for them.But, since Hamas (duly elected to control Gaza by fully-informed palestinians) is a terrorist organization that doesn't recognize Israeli citizens' right to breathe the air I don't see that happening. From an article describing the election victory: "Hamas is currently maintaining a ceasefire, but remains committed to the armed struggle, the destruction of Israel and retaliatory attacks on Israeli civilians." <1/26/06>Israel has been negotiating and trading land for peace for 60 years and what have they gotten in return? It will only end when either the arabs succeed in the destruction of Israel, or resign themselves to live peacefully in the land they currently control, period.. "

Pimp wrote on Jan 11, 2009 4:04 PM:
" Orion - Speaking of "crazies", you're one of these crazies if you think that Bush/Cheney are the "most heinous"! "

orion wrote on Jan 11, 2009 4:29 PM:
" Good grief Pimp. Put on your reading glasses and quit twisting my words around.The Bush/Cheney duo aren't any worse, but they sure aren't any better than a number of other monsters in the world.A monster is a monster. They're all the same. "

Chime-in wrote on Jan 11, 2009 4:33 PM:
" I agree with Pimp!orion, you're not looking too good putting BUSH/CHENEY in the same basket as the "other monsters" in the world. But then again, maybe you don't want to look very intelligent. "

Chime-in wrote on Jan 11, 2009 4:38 PM:
" I agree whole heartedly with de2whit! Maybe desertbabe could sit down over lunch with de2whit."Hamas should stop terrorist bombings, recognize Israel and stop vowing for its destruction, and negotiate with Israel to help make Gaza a good place for them." "

orion wrote on Jan 11, 2009 5:06 PM:
" Leaders of a world power who would abuse their positions to lie to their people and invade a third world country to grab oil and money are certainly war criminals.As a result of their actions, 4,000+ American lives have been lost and tens of thousands are mentally and physically wounded for the rest of their lives; not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi "collateral" that have been affected.Monsters? You bet. Bush and Cheney should have been wearing the white hats in the aftermath of 9/11. Instead they wallowed in the stinking muck with the worst of them.They don't get a pass just because they are Americans. The rest of the world has let us know that in spades. They're right. "

Oxnard wrote on Jan 11, 2009 5:32 PM:
" I understand where you're coming from de2whit but I don't think you're looking at this very objectively or compassionately. I get the impression that you feel Israel is right and can do no wrong just as you feel that the US can do no wrong. And I do not support nor do I condone the actions or mission of Hamas.The UN appears to have gotten things wrong in the late 40's when they thought it a good idea to establish a Jewish state in the heart of radical Islam. The current situation is a product of that error. And neither side will likelyl be able to ever cohabitat with the other. "

Doubting Thomas wrote on Jan 11, 2009 5:41 PM:
" Well, folks, Mr. Orion has once again proven himself a loony. "

annakarenia wrote on Jan 11, 2009 6:29 PM:
" War is ugly. Racism is ugly....des, the mere comment...."muslim lover" is racist. "

de2whit wrote on Jan 11, 2009 6:51 PM:
" Oxnard, right now Israel is right but they are not immune from doing wrong. Also, I haven't mentioned the US in any of my posts so why would you say I think they(we) can do no wrong. Trust me, you don't want to get me started on the wrongs I think the US commits but that is what makes me objective on this. One thing has nothing to do with the other.I believe in the absolute right of personal and national self-defense. You can blame this on an action of the UN 60 years ago but I will continue to blame it on the terrorists and the people who vote for and support them. I can live with that even if it makes me look uncompassionate.While you may not consciously support the actions of Hamas, by supporting, or being compassionate to the people who keep them in power, protect them, offer their families as human shields, and teach their children to follow those footsteps you most certainly do.Palestinians celebrate 911 bombings: kindergarten school play with green Hamas headbands and all: will no doubt have to agree to disagree. "

people's court wrote on Jan 12, 2009 2:25 AM:
" des Thanks for your ‘Proportionate’ response to this letter to the editor. "

Ruggles1 wrote on Jan 12, 2009 7:23 AM:
" (Yawn)...there goes des about how all her documented references are "facts"....Its just like the man made global warming believers who point to many slanted publications or even polls to make their case. Lest we never forget, there will ALWAYS be many publications to the contrary as well...Even with man made global warming by scientists, who tell us it is BUNK. The same holds true with all these pieces that des posts... ANYONE could also find "the other side" published and declare it as fact, also! I honestly do not want to bother referencing them at the moment, but we ALL know it could be done at the drop of a hat. It is always fun to see both sides!Arab Terrorists Suck! "

Ruggles1 wrote on Jan 12, 2009 7:31 AM:
" My point in the last post was that the actions of Hamas are not justifiable. I am not denying that certain actions led to their current frustrations. However, is it any wonder the folks in that region are often referred to as "crazy". "

caballo wrote on Jan 12, 2009 7:38 AM:
" The Arab countries are more to blame for the current plight of the Palestinians than the Israelis ever will be. They are nothing more than current pawns in the centuries long attempt by the Islamists to wipe Israel off of the map. "

Oxnard wrote on Jan 12, 2009 9:33 AM:
" de2--we will mostly agree to disagree. I do think that it is a disgrace to the Palestinians that they elected Hamas. It shows me that the Hamas propaganda is strong and compelling...and the Palestinians are not the most educated so they will vote with who they "feel" is on their side. I think it's the same in any election anywhere. It saddens me when I see clips of Palestinians celebrating things like 9/11 but I know that is not the feelings of the majority of them, only a few and where the cameras are staged. Anti-Israeli Propaganda. That is not the Palestinian people I have seen and interacted with in the West Bank and in Jerusalem. From my personal visits to these areas (although I have never been to Gaza), these people are humble, poor, have no desire to do America or Jews harm but just want to live their lives free of oppression and categorizing by the state of Israel. The keys that some of them are missing is that it is themselves they must press for peace and not through terror tactics or supporting terrorist organizations. It's hard for anybody to do a 180 in their thinking when raised to believe another. That is where I draw some sympathy for the people of Palestine. disclaimer: No Jews were harmed during the typing of this commentary. "

yoyoma wrote on Jan 12, 2009 10:06 AM:
" Oxnard, @2:57pm, what church do you go to? I thought you were a Greek Mythologist and thought the rest were just "fairy tales"? "

usugirl wrote on Jan 12, 2009 10:41 AM:
" Des: Go live in Isreal for a year with your family, have one killed by a rocket attack from Hamas, then tell us what you think about the conflict. "

cairo wrote on Jan 12, 2009 10:57 AM:
" usugirl: that's a simplistic and stupid way to look at this conflict. why don't you go live in gaza for a year, get maimed by an israeli air strike, or get starved by an israeli blockade and then tell us how YOU feel about the conflict. "

cachesoul wrote on Jan 12, 2009 11:34 AM:
" >>>" Des: Go live in Isreal for a year with your family, have one killed by a rocket attack from Hamas, then tell us what you think about the conflict. "what a retorical comment, the same could be said of living a year in Palestine with your family. Innocent humans are being hurt on both sides. "

cheesericebeans wrote on Jan 12, 2009 12:39 PM:
" Great letter, It helped me gain perspective and see the fallacy in the Arabs "proportionate response" argument..Many of these comments have also helped me gain a better understanding of the conflict...It seems that Gaza/Hammas is propped up by Iran and their Oil money, so if we could all drive less than Iran wont have any money to fund terroism in Gaza..or we could anihilate Iran and we could have peace in the middle east and I can still drive my mini van yellow stone this summer (win/win). "

cairo wrote on Jan 12, 2009 2:05 PM:
" cheeseandbeans:your idea to annihilate Iran sounds great on paper until you take in to account that they have a legitimate military and are good friends with Russia and China who also have bigger militaries than even us at the moment. It would have to be an all or nothing approach as in carpet bombing and possibly nuclear weapons if we are going to get anything done by this summer for your mini van desires. You've seen the trouble we've had with 3rd world Iraq and Afghanistan the past 7 years the way we fight tactically like pusssies. "

round earther wrote on Jan 12, 2009 2:53 PM:
" The Muslim religion, in very large part, is violent disease on this planet, and should be wiped out in my opinion. They atack the U.S. in the name of thier almighty "allah", they attack Brittian, they attack Spain, they attack Isreal, they attack India, they attack Russia. Bottom line, who are they NOT attacking in the name of their religion? Go Isreal; kick their islamic, inbred, arses all the way back to the middle ages! "

usugirl wrote on Jan 12, 2009 6:46 PM:
" Sticks and stones... cairo. Maybe being kind would be better to make people listen to your arguments. I stand by mine. "

vicbevilacqua wrote on Jan 12, 2009 10:08 PM:
" Go Israel - keep pushing don't stop !! "

boris wrote on Jan 12, 2009 11:29 PM:
" haha this thread is great. you've got desertique laying down the force in the beginning, knowing that she has to do it quick, before the chorus of idiots starts screaming "america-hater", "israel-hater", "terrorist-lover," etc...i wonder if these people realize that they are line-for-line manifestations of satirical ignorant, sheltered, unwaveringly patriotic, redneck cartoon characters, a la south park? classic. "

cheesericebeans wrote on Jan 13, 2009 7:45 AM:
" boris...stop reading/thinking and go back watching TV...its your friend, it thinks like you do. "

This is a letter to the editor of my hometown paper which I wrote in response to another letter. It was interesting to me to read the comments. I obviously provided a morning's entertainment for some people!


Monday, January 12, 2009

My checkup today - January 11, 2009

Ann wrote:

This morning I went in for my first cystascope exam since I began my cancer treatment. It showed that I have several new growths - one is quite large, and there are a few smaller ones. So they've bumped someone to a later date and I am going in for surgery again early next week.

They did tell me I would get to know the hospital staff quite well! It's a good thing I like them so much!

I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Planes - Jan. 10, 2009 - Saturday

Ann wrote:

Jan. 10, 2009 - Saturday

It's now almost 11:30 at night and we just heard the roar of several planes flying overhead, going north. This is very unusual, and not a good sign.

Three rockets from southern Lebanon were fired into the western Galilee on Thursday. Yesterday another bank of katushyas was found in southern Lebanon, not far from Mt. Hermon, which means straight north from Kiryat Shmonah. There has been an increase of rhetoric on the airways by leaders of Hisballah. They deny the rockets are theirs (they probably do belong to splinter Palestinian groups), but are talking big about how Israel is in their sights, and they will defend themselves against all attacks by the Zionists. I don't think anyone wants to be dragged into a new front, but all it takes is one incident.


A lesson in true forgiveness - Jan 10, 2009

I was moved beyond words tonight by the actions of a grieving father. I really wanted to share this story with you, and pray that we all become a little more like this man.

Early this week three Israeli soldiers were killed and more than 20 injured in Gaza when an Israeli tank fired on a building which they thought was hiding Hamas fighters. In what was to become a tragedy, the men inside the building were actually Israeli soldiers in an elite unit. One of the three killed was a young Druze soldier. When his grandfather was asked how he felt about the dead on the Gaza side, with tears on his face and in his voice he replied, "The death of anyone rips at my soul."

The other two killed were officers of this unit, both of them in their mid-20s. One of them was married recently. It is about the father of this man that I want to write.

The death of a child is devastating, and even more so when the son is killed by "friendly" fire. I can't even imagine how the crew of the tank which fired the round feel. Many parents in this situation would scream and yell, call for investigations, and find someone to blame. This officer's father did none of these things. He is a religiously observant Jew who wears a kipa (yamakah) on his head and has a long beard. He is a very quiet man who finds solace in his personal beliefs. Yesterday as he was getting ready for the Sabbath, thinking about his son's too-short life and the way he was killed, he also began to think how the tankists who had inadvertantly killed him would be feeling. The Sabbath is a day which encourages reflection, and this father felt he could not begin the Sabbath without doing something to ease the pain of these young soldiers. He sat down and wrote a letter to the crew of this tank..

In the letter he said straight out that he does not hold them responsible for the death of his son, that he bears them no ill will, that he fully forgives them, and that they should forgive themselves as well. He applauded them for what they were doing for the country and the nation his son loved so much by being willing to put their own lives aside in order to fight for the protection of their country. He wrote them that his son's spirit and memory would now live on forever through them, because they were carrying on with the work his son had given his life for. He concluded the letter by telling them that he was praying for their safety, and wishing them a peaceful Sabbath.

At the end of the interview, he said again that he could not be at peace with himself if he did not do something to help these young men find some peace as well. How many of us would have considered the burdens of others while suffering such deep sorrow ourselves?


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gaza map - Jan 7, 2009

Ann wrote:

This is a quick map my husband drew up which shows the population centers and crossing points into Gaza.
It also shows the size and range of the rockets which have used so far.
I'll send the one from the newspaper later.


(click map to enlarge full size)