More on Israel, Lebanon, Gaza & Us – 3

This will be the last entry I will do on this conflict. I am sure people can find their own links and information from many of the sources I’ve provided in my previous four entries (here, here, here and here).

It seems that Gaza has slipped out of the focus of most of the media, which is perhaps understandable but does not mean that all is now fine there. I have been remiss in not linking to the Bitter Lemons website prior to now. This site has been going for some time and presents Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints on prominent issues of concern, focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and peace process. This week’s edition has the views of two Palestinians and two Israelis on the current violence.

In some recent news on Gaza, the ABC reports that Israel has pursued its air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, where it has killed nearly 100 people in three weeks“.

The blogosphere is once again coming into its own in this situation, bringing on-the-ground human experiences and views to balance the pontificating of the politicians and the ideologue. Subscribers to Crikey have been getting a very good array of items from a range of bloggers. I have taken the following piece straight from yesterday’s Crikey subscriber email (which I hope they don’t mind, but I think its important) (and given it’s straight from a blog anyway, it should be OK).

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Blogger Lisa Goldman writes from Israel:

It looks as though the Israel-Lebanon are-we-calling-it-a-war-yet of 2006 is the first conflict to be blogged from day one. Bloggers from both sides of the border – some of whom were already aware of one another before this tragedy began – have been providing live updates, commenting on one another’s blogs and sometimes linking to posts by bloggers on the other side of the border. Will this turn out to be the first time that residents of “enemy” countries engaged in an ongoing conversation while missiles were falling?

Haaretz published an article about the online conversation between Lebanese and Israelis. It links to the blog of Ami (scroll down for English), who is hosting an ongoing thread of talkbacks by Israelis and Lebanese, and to the Lebanese bloggers forum where the same phenomenon is taking place. There are currently 383 comments in response to this post on the Lebanese bloggers forum, including the following from an Israeli guy named Shachar:

Hey.I’m an IDF soldier stationed at the Lebanon border, but got back home for a funeral of someone I knew.

We can’t see all the bombing on Lebanon here from Israel (naturally we’re focusing on bombs at Israel), so you’re pretty much updating me on what’s going on.

I don’t want to start arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong, the final word is that it’s not right that civilians get hurt in the process, from both sides.

I’m sending you my best wishes from here, and hope that you and your family will be strong and be all right until this horrible situation will be over.

Shachar.
Chez moi, a Lebanese commenter, wrote, in response to my March of Folly post:

Chez moi, a Lebanese commenter, wrote, in response to my post:Hi,
I think I must first mention that I am Lebanese, and second that I really appreciate the fact that there are reasonable people on both sides of the border. I have been checking Lebanese blogs for the past few days and was frustrated that most of the comments from Israelis were extremely unsympathetic to the plight of the Lebanese civilian. We were dubbed as human shields to terrorists, and justifications were given to every civilian death in Lebanon. I was appalled. I can rest a little easier in this difficult time, because I have found reasonable voices in Israel. By the way, I am having a hard time quitting smoking, with this sh-t going on too.
R

And there is an article about the Lebanon-Israel blogging phenomenon on the Times Online, here.

The internet has also been offering some surreal experiences, like the ability to have a Beirut-Tel Aviv online IM chat in real time while the missiles are falling. That’s what happened to me and this blogger a few nights ago. We chatted while he was sitting on the roof of his apartment building in Beirut, watching missiles from Israeli planes fall on his city and describing it to me. He was carrying on an online conversation with another Israeli at the same time. And he was able to describe his feelings and the atmosphere in a human, personal way that no newspaper article or television news segment could achieve.

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There are endless other blogs from people in Lebanaon, Israel and Palestine around. Here’s a few (most of which then link to many more). I will just keep adding to this list over the next few days – if you know of any good sites, feel free to leave a link to it on the comments. Please note, some of the views on these blogs are confronting, bu it doesn’t hurt to know what people are thinking and saying out there. Actually maybe it does hurt, but I still think it’s a good idea – as I said when I originally decided to post on this issue, this links to all of us in Australia more than ever now.

The Perpetual Refugee

Beirut Under Seige

The Angry Arab News Service

Anecdotes from a Banana Republic

One Jerusalem – Israel’s Blog Magazine

Live from an Israeli Bunker

The Arabist

Israelly Cool

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