Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The In T View: Israeli Bloggers On The Israeli - Hezb'allah/Lebanon Conflict: Yael K

Architecture on the waterfront in Tel Aviv by Ark47 - Flickr

Millions of words have been written by bloggers on the conflict between Israel and Hezb'allah/Lebanon. But what do people really know? Those in the United States, protected by the geographical barriers of two great oceans, lack from the immediacy of this war. To know a conflict is to truly grasp its immediacy and intimacy.

Thus we sought out, through a series of varying questions, the opinions of those affected by this war, the Israeli bloggers, their homeland subjected to uncontrolled missile attacks and barrages, damage and destruction, lives lost, innocents dead, and a Israeli response to the Hezb'allah threat by bombings and incursions into Lebanon to seek out the purveyors of this latest round of Mideast hostilities...

In this In T View we present Yael K from Tel Aviv, a very fine blogger found at Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel who emigrated to Israel from the U.S. in what is known as Making Aliyah, and loves her three cats.

MG: For those Americans and others who question Israel's actions in Lebanon, what would you tell them?

Yael K: I would tell those who are questioning our actions that this is not a war that Israel wanted in any shape or form. It is not one we were looking for and it is not one that we started. It is a war that was forced upon us. It is certainly not a war that anyone on our side is taking any joy or comfort in. It is a situation that is taking a terrible toll on civilians on both sides of this conflict and our hearts go out to the innocent Lebanese civilians caught up in this chaos. We are not fighting a war against Lebanon. We have no anger or enmity toward the Lebanese people. Far from it. We are fighting against a terrorist organization that has as a stated goal the destruction of our country and all within it and that uses the citizens of Lebanon as human shields. In a conventional war you have two armies facing off and they are fighting one another --and even still there are inevitable civilian casualties. Hizbollah is not waging conventional warfare but rather guerrila warfare, making their attacks from the midst of populated areas. We are not bringing the full weight of the Israeli army down on Hizbollah because to do so would be to bring it down equally on the civilians trapped in Hizbollah's preferred battle areas --the villages, cities, and towns in Lebanon. We are trying and certainly failing in all too many instances in our attempt to not hit civilians as we target those who are targeting us with their missiles and rockets. It should be noted that Hizbollah sends their missiles not at our military installations at all but rather at our towns and villages --and our military is not fighting from within these civilian domains. They are trying to hit as many civilians as possible while we are trying to avoid hitting civilians.

MG: How has the Conflict personally affected you?

Yael K: This conflict has affected me personally on so many levels it is not even possible to enumerate. I know the families of two of the Israelis killed thus far in the conflict, one a civilian and the other a young soldier. I worry about people that I know who are in Lebanon and their families. I worry about people I know who are spending their days in bomb shelters in the north of our country. There is the constant stress and fear and I am not living in the areas that are constantly under attack but certainly I worry that the area I live in will also be targetted. I feel overwhelmed, daily, by a deep sense of sadness, grief, and helpless anger. Only weeks ago I and many other Israelis were talking with many Lebanese bloggers and we were all filled with this incredible sense of hope and promise, experiencing this incredible sense of joy at discovering one another and how much we all share in common. Hopes, dreams. We talked of one day hosting each other, giving our guided tours of Tel Aviv, Beirut, watching sunsets together from our various vantage points along the beautiful Mediterranean that we share. We share so many things in common. But this conflict, or perhaps more so the bonds I formed prior to it, has strengthened my resolve to not allow the dreams and hopes for our futures to be destroyed by Hizbollah. I will keep working in whatever small way it is possible for an individual to work to bring the dreams of peace and prosperity and respect for one another into reality.

MG: Could you tell us what sustains you during these times of crisis in Israel?

Yael K: What sustains me? Hope and the dogged belief that the future must be better.

MG: If you had the chance to watch any of the international coverage of the war like CNN, BBC, or Fox, do you think their coverage has been fair and objective?

Yael K: I find the BBC coverage to be extremely biased and no longer watch it. CNN is somewhat better. I don't have access to FOX and so am not able to judge. I get most of my news coverage from, (outside of the Israeli press) coverage in the german newspapers and newscasts and from bloggers in the region, including but not limited to Lebanese bloggers.

MG: What would you say to your compatriots in the Lebanese blogosphere?

Yael K: I would say to my compatriots in the Lebanese blogosphere to hang in there, to know that we are thinking of you and grieving with you, and to not let the dream die.

MG: After Hezb'allah's ability to wage war from southern Lebanon is neutralized, where does Israel go from here?

Yael K: Where does Israel go from here after Hezb'allah's ability to wage war from southern Lebanon is neutralized? Well, assuming that it can be neutralized and I certainly hope that is so, we rebuild. Whether they are neutralized or not, we will rebuild. And Lebanon rebuilds. And my hope, my dream rising from the ashes if you will, is that we can rebuild our shattered countries together. Hey, I'm pretty good with my hands neighbor and my hand is extended to help in whatever way that I can.

Beirut from the Balloon by Jolieexis - Flickr

MG says: Our thanks go out to Yael K.

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