Hezbollah Al Hamdulilah

When I first learned about the Hezbollah operations today I was at Al Quds Television in Ramallah watching Palestinian Sesame Street episodes. Because I had work to do I couldn’t spend a lot of time watching the news there, but suffice it to say I was so elated to hear that someone finally retaliated against the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). At the same time, I’m very fearful of what may happen to Lebanese and Palestinians living in the south of Lebanon in the coming days. Already 6,000 Israeli army reservists have been called up and Israel is threatening to invade south Lebanon and they bombed a bridge there. While the U.S. and Israel condemn the Hezbollah bombings, killing 8 soldiers and kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers, and bombing an IOF building north of the Lake Tiberias, somehow it doesn’t seem to register that they are, in fact, soldiers. These are not civilians. In contradistinction, Israel, which has killed 83 innocent Palestinian civilians in Ghaza and wounded 27 more using a range of weapons, including chemical weapons. Just today the IOF murdered 24 Ghazans including 9 people in the same family, leaving only one survivor, a 7 year old child. I’m not sure how people can fail to see the bombarding of innocent Ghazan civilians and not see why Israeli soldiers received a well-deserved retaliation.

All of this was in direct contrast to the work I was trying to do today: reading through Palestinian children’s books and watching Palestinian Sesame Street. And, later in the day, watching two films. The first was Encounter Point, which is a film about Palestinians and Israelis in various dialogue/coexistence settings. It was really difficult to be in this space and in this film that portrays all this as hopeful, but I felt the need to do it for the sake of my research. One of the strongest characters in the film is a South African Israeli from The Parents Circle, a forum for bereaved families. She makes some wonderful comments and connections to the apartheid situation she lived in before moving to Israel. It also included the usual suspects like Seeds of Peace but I’m left with the same feeling I have about all these types of coexistence texts (films, organizations, etc.): they always are unbalanced and rarely feature very strong Palestinians who speak up for their rights. Instead, they spend their time speaking up for coexistence almost in lieu of their rights. I am especially struck by the comment one of the audience members made about the fact that the film only shows one Palestinian who died, a young 12-year-old from Beit Lahem, while they showed more Israeli families suffering from their losses. Given that the reality is far more Palestinians die than Israelis on any given day, week, month, year this seems problematic. At the same time, I think that this film because of its imbalance might reach people in Washington DC or elsewhere who might be persuaded to listen to a different point of view. But given that Palestinians are not arguing for their rights–no refugees, no discussion of al awda, for instance–I wonder what a typically ignorant American legislator would make of this.

The other film was Shai Carmeli Pollak’s Bil’in Habibti, which is an amazing story about an amazing village of Palestinian non-violent activists. This is the village where I participated in ISM demonstrations last summer and where I got arrested. In fact, Shai is the Israeli man who came to the jail to show the border police film footage that contradicted every charge they made against us and help us to get released. He’s done this many times and his film footage has also been used in court to help release people arrested in Bil’in. The film is so moving not just because of the spirit of resistance in this village, but also because it makes it so crystal clear what happens to Palestinians who use non-violent demonstrations as a form of resistance: they are jailed, shot at, bombed. It shows how their land is being stolen by the illegal Israeli settlement of Modi’n Elite and how their olive trees are destroyed and removed by the IOF. The film movingly illustrates how creative and resourceful people in Bil’in are. It was amazing seeing some of the people from the village with whom I worked last summer. There were over 20 people from Bil’in at the film, which I had not expected given emails I read stating that the IOF refused to allow them to enter Al Quds for the film.

On a day like today Pollak’s film is a reminder that whether Palestinians use non-violent resitance, or whether they use weapons (as with Hezbollah) the response and retaliation is always the same. Violence seems to be the only language the state of Israel understands.

Salam–

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10 thoughts on “Hezbollah Al Hamdulilah

  1. “I was so elated to hear that someone finally retaliated against the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)… While the U.S. and Israel condemn the Hezbollah bombings, killing 8 soldiers and kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers… somehow it doesn’t seem to register that they [Israelis] are, in fact, soldiers.” Somehow it does not seem to register with you that when fighters are sent across a UN validated border (between Lebanon and Israel) to kill and kidnap soldiers, that is war. Please go back to watching the Palestinian Sesame Street puppets. The Cookie Monster has more substance between his ears than you do.

  2. An excellent post in which you’ve tied everything together well and especially good reading for those who like to admonish Palestinians to act like Gandhi as if that’s going to bring the Israelis around. Especially liked your analysis of the “peace” for a “piece” camp. You’ve pointed out how the “peace” camp serves as a diversion to the main issues and mainly just compromises Palestinians. In fact many Israelis in the so-called peace camp insist on setting the parameters for discussion, i.e., conversation must not delve beyond 1967 issues. Thanks for these posts from Palestine.

  3. What a monstrous thing to say! How dare you be ‘delighted’ to hear that soldiers patrolling the Israeli borders, not within Lebanese territory, were murdered and kidnapped? Maybe the Israelis are right to search you so thoroughly!

  4. All the while Katushyas rain on civilians in the North, inhabited in large part by Arabs.
    Hizbollah doesn’t care the slightest about the Palestinians or about Lebanon, they’re just doing Assads dirty work – and shame on you for cheerleading.

  5. Interesting that people seem to have no problem with Palestinians or Arabs being killed but it is monstrous to imagine Israeli soldiers being killed. And let me add here that most Israelis are also soldiers; this is not a civilian society that we are talking about. Yes, I’m very upset about the targeting of Haifa because of the many Palestinians who live there. And, yes, as I mentioned in my email I am also devastated about people being killed and injured in Lebanon. But why is it that no one feels the same outrage when Palestinians are massacred in Ghaza???

    Salam–

  6. dude, you r so right. people today are acting like the israelis are the victims and the palestinians are the terrorists. if an israeli dog dies, people act like it’s world war III, but when hundreds of palestinians are killed, it’s the palestinians fault for even existing.
    and the israelis are f*%$ing cowards. instead of bombing hizballah posts, they go and bomb innocent people.

  7. Who said they don’t care? And who are “they” anyway? A lazy answer.
    And if you don’t like the argument that all Palestinians are terrorists, or potential terrorists (such as children), then you have no business making the flip side argument that all Israelis (such as children) are military, not civilians. According to your rather twisted logic every house in Israel is a military base, every school a military training ground.
    You’ve started to justify killing of civilians in a quite astoundingly cold manner.

    Time for a reality check.

  8. Where are all the humanists? Palestinians AND Israelis are both victims of the occupation and the politics of the region. If we could only begin to see the other as human, perhaps we’d be able to reach some kind of compromise and stop the killing of one another.
    Also, a comment about Zochrot – while the original intent of the organization was to teach Israelis about the other through the history of the destroyed Palestinian villages, it is also very much a joint effort of Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, Zochrot is very marginalized in Israeli society, and really speaks to those who are already aware and active. However, Zochrot organizers have gone to speak in high schools and in the universities, which could signify a powerful change.
    And who said coexistence organizations negate collective rights of Palestinians or of Israelis? Take a look at the Hand in Hand schools in Jerusalem and Wadi Ara where coexistence alongside recognition of difference and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to live as two separate peoples are the schools’ basic philosphy.

  9. Dr. Newman,

    Do you think that I don’t wince every time that I hear of Arab civilian casualties? Of course I do. I don’t know anyone who wants Palestinians to die. But you don’t care about Israelis. You are angry about the attacks on Haifa because of the large Arab population. But are these Arabs more deserving of life and security than their Israeli neighbors? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be implying this.

  10. People are now supporting Hezbollah because it is the ONE organization outside of Palestine that stands up to Israel! I don’t support many of Hezbollah’s tactics, but I too was tempted to write a blog post titled “Go Hezbollah!” just for that reason!

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