Posts Tagged: Haaretz Results 9
This weekend the “price tag” policy of extremist settlers got well and truly out of hand. Price tag is an attempt to demonstrate to law enforcement bodies that any action which interferes with settler interests will result in vandalism on highways and in Palestinian villages — and sometimes also harm to individual Palestinians.
On Friday the mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf was vandalized and burned, apparently in reaction to the settlement freeze. A graffiti message read: “Price tag — greetings from Effi.” See articles about the attack here, here and here.
Writing in Ha’aretz, Marco Greenberg offers an ode to Jewish life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and drops the following bombshell: “Even the New York Times has recently picked up on the UWS-Jewish connection.”
Greenberg goes on to observe that the “Upper West is perhaps the last spot on earth where people walk rather than drive.” Clearly, he has never been to the Upper East Side.
The Ha’aretz Magazine’s “Family Affair” column is one of my favorite regular journalism features. Each column looks at a different Israeli family — some ordinary, some less so — and probes their lives, their dreams, their beliefs, their values, their family histories.
As watchers of reality TV know, glancing into the lives of others has its own inherent allure. But Israel’s tremendous diversity and the tumultuous history of the Jewish people over the past century makes “Family Affair” consistently engrossing.
Ha’aretz editorializes in response to an investigative broadcast that exposed abuse of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank:
This time, it was regular soldiers in the Kfir Brigade. They exposed their backsides and sexual organs to Palestinians, pressed an electric heater to the face of a young boy, beat young boys senseless, recorded everything on their mobile phones and sent it to their friends. One of their “mischievous acts” was to test how long a Palestinian who was being choked could survive without breathing. When he passed out, the experiment was stopped. The soldiers described activities to “break the routine” that consisted entirely of abuse. It was enough for a boy “to look at us the wrong way” for him to be beaten. Earlier, at the trial of First Lieutenant Yaakov Gigi, officers spoke of burnout, of “something bad happening to the brigade,” of a Wild West, of a moral crisis. The commander of the brigade, Colonel Itai Virov, said “we failed on several parameters.” His words reflect a denial of the depth of the failure. This continuing routine, far from the eyes of the commanders, must lead to a series of investigations, and perhaps to dismissals as well. It is unconscionable for the head of the Hebron Brigade, the division commander, the GOC Central Command and even the chief of staff to ignore the ongoing behavior of soldiers in the brigade responsible for routine security in the West Bank. Colonel Virov admitted that there was a conspiracy of silence in the brigade - in other words, a norm of abuse and its concealment. To change norms, one has to shock and be shocked, not be satisfied with a few imprisonments and empty words about a loss of values. Perfectly ordinary people, as the American psychologist said of the Abu Ghraib abusers, are capable of behaving like monsters when they receive a message from the top that it is permissible to abuse, beat, choke, burn, make people miserable and generally do anything that man’s evil genius is capable of inventing to others who are under their control. Something bad is happening to us, they are saying in the Kfir Brigade. That “something” is the occupation.
The dovish Israeli daily Ha’aretz takes a tough line on the ongoing Qassam fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza in an editorial titled “Restraint is not possible”:
If the limited military actions Israel is undertaking in an effort to bring an end to the Qassam rockets will not bring an end to the shooting; if the moderate states, and first and foremost Egypt and Jordan fail to contain Hamas — Israel will have no option but to embark on a broad military operation. The Israel Defense Forces raison d’etre is to protect the country’s citizens from attack. Even if the success of a military operation is not guaranteed, that concern must not prevent the government from doing what is necessary in order to protect the lives of its citizens and the state’s border. The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is political, and should always be pursued. At the same time, Israel must prove that the blood of its citizens cannot be forfeited — so that in the future, its neighbors will abide by the agreements to which they have committed.