Writing from Jerusalem
No one knows whether the Middle East is at the dawn of a new era with the accession of President Obama to leadership, whether between Obama, the new Saudi king’s very serious Peace Proposal, and President Assad’s keen interest in a peace process, that we are at the dawn of a strong consensus to finally resolve the central conflict of the region, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. We could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral of hatred, revenge, populist rage, military force, fanatical manipulation, and zero sum desperate final measures of power and destruction that will yield unprecedented human misery in the region. I cannot tell, honestly.
But I do know that we are all responsible for this. We are responsible in everything we say and do, and in every action that we support. The nonsense that corrupt…
This is a message from a group of Israeli Jews from Sderot, the front lines in receipt of the rocket attacks from Gaza who have been meeting with Gazans:
For two months, our teams from Gaza and Sderot have been documenting life as it is in their two cities: hope, anger, daily hardships, dreams. In Gaza, our characters have shown us what it means to live under siege. In Sderot, we have heard our characters tell us how their lives are haunted by kassams. All of them have told us about their desire to live inspite of everything, however different their situations might be.
It so happens that nearly at the very moment we had planned to complete our web documentary series, the truce is over. Now has come the time of weapons. Watching the videos that were produced over these two months, we are trying to imagine what our
Israeli aircraft dropped over 100 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday as part of operation “Cast Lead” launched in response to the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, but Gaza’s inhabitants worry that the worst is yet to come.
The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.
Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.
“My son is gone, my son is gone,”
This from Roi Ben Yehuda, written for marcgopin.com
Dear Professor Gopin,
I am reading about the Jerusalem Initiative in your book Holy War, Holy Peace, and I was reminded of a gem I once found researching for a paper on the impact that the black plague (1348-1351) had on the Jews. It comes from the pen of Ibn Batutta, the 14th century Muslim scholar and traveler.
In his book, entitled “Ibn Battuta Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354”, the author provides an account of the Middle East during the plague. For those of us interested in the “Black Death”, Ibn Batutta’s account is a precious primary source. But there is one passage that really blew my mind. After documenting all the horrible destruction of the plague, Ibn Battuta describes how the community (i.e. Muslims, Christians, and Jews) responded to the disaster.
“I saw a remarkable instance
Population analysis says much more than either war or peace slogans. The anger Israeli Jews feel about Kassams and suicide bombs could possibly explain the level of brutality of the Occupation, but it cannot explain the population explosion of Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
The population growth among West Bank settlers was three times higher than that of the rest of Israel during the past 12 years, according to a report by the Ariel College Center of Samaria.
The statistical annual report shows that the Jewish population in the West Bank more than doubled during that time, with a growth of 107 percent. The report also shows that the settler population has surged from 130,000 in 2005 to 270,000 by the end of 2007.
Meanwhile, the entire population of Israel grew by 29 percent over the same period.
This population trend has continued over the past three years,
Millions of Muslims across India have decided to temper or even cancel festivities on their most cherished week of holy yearly celebrations, the Eid, in protest of crimes committed in the name of Islam by the criminals who murdered so many in Mumbai.
They wore black ribbons, carried placards of peace, sent out emails and SMSes reiterating harmony, and put up banners saluting those who died in the 26/11 terrorist attack. From Chennai’s Thousand Lights Mosque to Delhi’s Jama Masjid, from Khwaza Banda Nawaz dargah in Gulbarga, to the mosques of Mumbai – Bakr-Eid celebrations were subdued, in a symbolic declaration of Muslim protest against terrorism.
“At every dargah, prayers were said for the grieving families in Mumbai. In Ajmer Sharief, Kaliyar Sharief (Uttarakhand) and Barabanki’s Deva Sharief, the community came together burying their differences to focus on one thing: communal harmony. By showing our unity, we have spoilt the