Israel-Hezbollah War

A view of the July-August 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war from an Israeli living in Haifa (under Katyusha rocket attack)- send personal comments to

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

The shock

33 years ago I immigrated to Israel from the UK. Israel seemed to me an exciting place with warm people where I could feel at home being a Jew and not in any tension or dissonance between my national and my religious/cultural identity. For 29 years I lived in or near Tel Aviv which is the largest metropolitan area. That’s where the jobs and most of the action are, and where most of my friends and relatives lived. Four years ago I moved 100 km (60 miles) up the Mediterranean coast to Haifa, “only” 40km from the Lebanese border. It would never have occurred to me that I was moving from a “safe” part of the country to a war zone but that is what Haifa, and the rest of northern Israel has become in this war. Not that there is anything that intrinsically protects the centre of Israel from rocket attack. The Hezbollah in Lebanon have long range rockets which could hit Tel Aviv. They are fewer in number, more expensive, more complicated to deploy and therefore more vulnerable to Israeli Air Force attack. That's why they were used less or not at all. The Syrians and the Iranians have long-range missiles which can hit most of the population centres in Israel.

This time it is us in Haifa and the other intermediate towns in northern Israel who have got a resounding wake-up call as to our vulnerability. I never imagined that I would be under rocket attack and I assure you that it’s very unpleasant. I can (and do) rationalize about the limited danger to myself and my loved ones from the 3500 Katyusha rockets that were fired against Israel this last month “only” 50 civilians were killed . But that’s not the point – it’s the sudden (and frightening) realization that we (the Jews, the Jewish State of Israel) are definitely not wanted around here, and that there are enough groups around who want to hound us out of here. For the vast majority (about 7 million) of us Jewish Israelis , we have no other home. Going “back” to Poland or Morocco where our parents and grandparents were born is not an option.

It is human nature, and quite healthy in many ways, not to think about dangers around us. If we spend the whole time thinking about the purity of our drinking water, pesticides in our food and the dangers of an earthquake , we’d enjoy life much less. But there are times, like with air raid sirens going off, that we suddenly wake up to those dangers. It’s not clear yet what we, as a family or a people, are going to do about it but we can’t ignore the danger any more. Life is going to be different.

To see pictures of the war’s effects on Israel, see (updated)


Anonymous patafizik_kakhol said...

David, I've heard that among israeli arabs (at least muslims) Nasrallah is seen now as something like a hero, and his image and the flag of Hezbollah is sold all over. Is it true?

9:30 PM  
Blogger Voyager said...

Life is not just different for Jews in Israel...........but in actual fact without Egyptian manpower the Arab world was not going to be a military threat.

It is simply that the moribund Iranian theocracy needs some narrative to preserve its grip on power now Saddam is gone..............the only counterbalance is to create Kurdistan and throw Syria and Iran into turmoil

3:37 PM  
Blogger Viper1 said...

David, I know that as a US citizen I dont fully appreciate the prediciment that you are in over there, I can only offer my support and condolences to those who have lost loved ones. And theres this.. In the unlikely event that those factions(terror states) around you were to push you out, you would always have a home here in the US, I know I am not alone in this feeling. Good Luck and Good Hunting IDF.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My internet service was down for the past week, and I wondered how you were doing. I am happy to see that you are doing well. When I have more time i will take a look at your photos. i have had friends form the US visit Israel in the past few weeks, and have seen their photos too.

I am very interested in how Israeli's are doing in this post cease-fire time. I am somehwat disappointed that Israel went alomng with it, because I do not believe that any good will come from it in the long run. Lebanon has already said that it will not disarm Hezbollah..So essentially we are just waiting for the next attack.

While I have the luxury of saying this sitting here in the US (although there is a large part of me that wishes to come to show my support) There is a part of me that wishes tht Israel had hit Hezbollah SO hard that they had really done a great deal of damage. By agreeing to the cease fire I believe we have weakened Israel. What is the mood there? Is my opinion way out there?

Good Luck

10:32 PM  
Blogger Johnny Cash said...

David, Shalom mate from Canada. Do not worry about Israel, she is indestructible even if you are not. Israel and the Jews have an ally in me. cheers

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear David,

While reading your article, I couldn't help myself but to comment on it, and let people know that the US-Backed Israel attacked Lebanon, and it has been doing so since 1982, so there's no such thing as that Hezbollah started the war. I am a Christian Lebanese living in the US, I was never a supporter of Hezbollah, and I think what they did is justified, as the kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldier was to negociate hundreds of Lebanese lock-up in Israeli prisons for decades.

The barbaric actions of the State of Israel in killing hundreds of innocent women and children, destroying the infrastructure IS AN ACT OF TERRORISM. You call Hezbollah a terrorist organization, we call it resistance, they are defending their homes.

David, what you felt the last month is what the Lebanese felt for 20 years. So please don't talk about the few rockets that hit northern Israel, come to Beirut and see for yourself.

Anyway here's a few words from a family that managed to flee on a boat under crossfire from beirut to Cyprus 2 weeks after the conflict broke-up:

"Thanks a lot for your email and support; this is to let you know that we are safe in Cyprus. We managed to flee the country on a Greek navy frigate after witnessing our share of the hostilities. We are here but our minds and hearts are with those who we have left behind. However, I could not put the children through what I have witnessed twenty-five years ago. Since the beginning of the hostilities, we could hear every single bomb that dropped on the
southern suburbs of Beirut and the airport, not knowing whether we would be next on the list or whether an astray missile will find its way to us. For most of the time that we were there, the children and I were huddling together in the corridor of our home (less than two square meters area) and spending our nights over there.

Having said so, our suffering is nothing compared to those that are caught in the crossfire. My heart goes to those who lost everything and loved ones. Some of the scenes are too much to take in; probably you were spared of seeing some of the following. The charred bodies of children and adults when the vehicles that they were using to flee the horrors that were imposed on them
were attacked by Israeli missiles after they were denied shelter by the UN forces or the maimed bodies of young ones when their home was flattened during their sleep. The destruction left in the trail of missiles that weigh a mere 23-ton is tremendous. In addition to the destruction of civilian buildings in the vicinities of Hezbollah centers, the missiles targeted the infrastructure, which was severely damaged, and transformed any escape route to a danger
zone. This resulted in a land blockade in addition to the sea and air blockade; all of this worsens the humanitarian situation as this drags on.

I would better stop here for now as I can write pages and pages on the ordeal that Lebanon is passing through now and the reasons for it. I am not sure whom to blame and to what extent but one thing I am sure of is that the kidnapping of two soldiers does not warrant such a scale of hostilities. I do not really understand why civilian lives are not spared and why negotiations should not
start now (after all, this is where all this will end up). In addition, I
cannot believe that people who suffered from the holocaust can inflict such sufferings on others. Furthermore, I am finding it very hard to believe that such events belong to the twenty-first century, I thought humanity has advanced much more than the old barbaric days but it seems that all what has advanced is the weaponry that is being used. This leaves one question on my mind, is
mankind inherently savage?

Thanks again for your support, it feels better to know that at least we have the sympathy of the people if not the governments. I hope that this will translate later on and very soon, before the whole country is flattened out, to a ceasefire and a general solution for the Middle East problem.

All the best from a bewildered person about the current situation and wondering when John Lennon's song will ever materialize."

10:02 PM  

War Crimes and Lebanon

Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Eduardo Galeano, Howard Zinn, Ken Loach, John Berger & Arundhati Roy

The US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon has left the country numb, smouldering and angry. The massacre in Qana and the loss of life is not simply "disproportionate". It is, according to existing international laws, a war crime.
The deliberate and systematic destruction of Lebanon's social infrastructure by the Israeli air force was also a war crime, designed to reduce that country to the status of an Israeli-US protectorate. The attempt has backfired. In Lebanon itself, 87% of the population now support Hizbullah's resistance, including 80% of Christian and Druze and 89% of Sunni Muslims, while 8% believe the US supports Lebanon. But these actions will not be tried by any court set up by the "international community" since the US and its allies that commit or are complicit in these appalling crimes will not permit it.

It has now become clear that the assault on Lebanon to wipe out Hizbullah had been prepared long before. Israel's crimes had been given a green light by the US and its loyal British ally, despite the opposition to Blair in his own country.

In short, the peace that Lebanon enjoyed has come to an end, and a paralysed country is forced to remember a past it had hoped to forget. The state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in the Gaza ghetto, while the "international community" stands by and watches in silence. Meanwhile, the rest of Palestine is annexed and dismantled with the direct participation of the US and the tacit approval of its allies.

We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we will use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of our governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the Middle East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the temporarily "paused" bombings of Lebanon continue.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Bruce Larson*Moore said...

quote: "It’s not clear yet what we, as a family or a people, are going to do about it but we can’t ignore the danger any more. Life is going to be different."

* * *
Hymn of the Martyr

The Last*War


10:38 PM  
Blogger james higham said...

David, you need to keep posting. This situation is not over yet.

10:37 AM  
Blogger james higham said...

David, it would be nice if you could give a general picture of life over there and how the average Israeli sees the lull in hostilities. I often imagine those towns clustered around the shore at the end of the plain [to the right of Haifa, looking out to sea]and try to imagine life over there.

10:20 AM  
Blogger james higham said...

David, why won't you run a daily piece on Haifa and Israel? I'd love to read it.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it isn't the war with Israel, but the curse placed upon the Jews long ago by the entity named God! But remember this, God made a promise to come back and to make your land from the desolate to the blossoming and lush! Christ is living on Earth, defeating the works of the devil and happens to love the Jews beyond many others on this land. And it is he that promises to restore your land to the beauty it once was, but all of you have forgotten. The Son of God is the truth, and he's divine human being enough to show you whether you think so or not. So prepare for his loving kindness and his message and lesson about what you did to Jesus Christ, what you deny in your deeds, for you killed the Son of God and pretend it didn't happen. God forbid we pretend that the holocaust didn't happen, correct? Correct. God forbid! God isn't about your beliefs, he's about his own and about the truth that occurred. Jesus Christ showed your people the most incredible miracles all through time, was a jew himself, and if you recount properly, wouldn't you be amazed to find out that Elijah the prophet was with Jesus and Moses on the Mount during his transfiguration???!!! Why didn't you ask Elijah why your prophets were so wrong? See how simple your stupid mistake is. You killed God because of your prophet not knowing more than God. How stupid you will look and humble you will be with the return of Christ. But know this...he loves your people and will show them the greatest place, called their land, back to them as it has never before existed. Praise be to God. Glory to Christ B'Emet, Jesus Christ Incarnation, The Son of Man, The Son of God, God the Son, God the Supreme One, Thursday's Child, Universe's Child, The Annointed One, The Golden Child, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Atom-12, , the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, All Life.

Blessings be amongst you Jews,
Christ B'Emet
Jesus Christ Incarnation

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:16 PM  

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