Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012


iran and israeli facebookers making out - politically speaking..

cleanest quasi porn around..

the more the merrier.. im a supporter..

the morning journey..

counting your blessings is an important ritual.. i have an incredible wife and family.. a great job.. fun friends.. i love residing right by a stunning relatively shark free warm water coast.. i get to cycle to work when its sunny and the skies are often a pleasant blue.. living in israel has its downsides.. but then again - where else could this be my life..

with iran and syria setting the region ablaze with death and threats of it.. with the global economy wobbling like a one legged goose through a crocodile farm.. with antisemitism running at worldwide highs.. its nice to at least have some peace for a solid hour everyday..

and for this i say thank you..

Sunday, March 18, 2012

swift response..

iran's economy has been largely severed from the swift system.. this is a very powerful and crippling act.. and the media is brimming with how this may or may not impact the iranian nuclear program.. this has been heralded as the first time that a sovereign state has been treated this way.. it smacks of extreme and when extreme kicks in i tend to get edgy..

i dont understand it to be honest.. even if we can slow down the process - how long can you attempt to decide for a sovereign state what they are and are not going to do.. and what i also dont understand is why the world is prepared to foresake billions in cost of energy instead of diverting a fraction of this to solving the core issue in the middle east (in terms of international conflict) and drive the arab israeli conflict to resolution.. and frankly i believe that just like the egyptian israeli fragile yet stable peace deal - even the palo israeli conflict can be sold at the right price to the highest bidder..

anyway - when i think of cornered nations in strife i am immediately sent to memories of history classes of the weimar repubic in high school.. i recall studying about a nation that is cornered and starved and how extreme politics can grow out of such dire circumstances.. and combine that with a manic leader with solid control of masses and i worry.. i feel like we are ignoring low hanging lessons that are over ripe to be picked all for the sake of swift responses..

on the upside if this chokes the syiran regime which in turn chokes hamas and hizbulla - who knows maybe good things will follow..

shekh jarrah..

can you see how complicated the social fabric here is?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Encountering Peace: Planning beyond the possible

Encountering Peace: Planning beyond the possible


The status quo is not sustainable, and leaders need to start going beyond what is presently thought to be possible.

In October 1992, a year before the Oslo agreement was signed, I initiated a series of “Track II” talks in London between a group of Israeli security experts and their Palestinian counterparts. The Palestinian delegation was composed mostly of PLO representatives, with whom it was illegal for Israelis to meet face-to-face at the time.

The Israeli group included General Shlomo Gazit, former head of military intelligence, Yossi Alpher, then acting head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, a former Mossad person and several others. Yossi Ginosar, a former senior Shin Bet agent and advisor to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, was to have participated but was unable to do so due to illness.

The Israelis did not want the Palestinian delegation to consist only of Palestinians from abroad. I contacted Faisel Husseini and asked him to nominate someone. He responded that no one in the territories knew anything about security issues, which were all handled directly by the PLO. He said that there was someone who had just returned to the territories from completing a PhD in the United States, Dr. Khalil Shikaki “who studied something to do with strategic issues – try contacting him.”

Despite having never met him, I contacted Khalil, and asked him to join. He was the brother of Fathi Shikaki, the head of the Islamic Jihad, living in exile in Syria. Israel assassinated Fathi Shikaki in October 1995. Khalil agreed to participate on the condition that he received written assurances from Israel that he would be allowed to return to the territories following the meeting.

After making inquiries, the IDF informed me that they do not give such assurances in writing. I spoke to General Gazit, who decided to call Rabin. Gazit informed Rabin of the planned London meeting and about the problem involving Shikaki. Rabin phoned the military governor of Tulkarm, which is where Shikaki is from, and instructed him to issue the letter to Shikaki. Rabin asked Gazit to report back to him following the meeting so he could learn what the Palestinians had to say.

During the four days of talks in London, the subjects dealt with concerned security coordination, the size of the force the Palestinians required to take control of the territories, combating terrorism, prisoner releases, and types of weapons required. These were discussions which were unimaginable at that time. Who believed that Israelis and Palestinians could discuss security coordination?

But they did, and what’s more found a large number of things they could agree on. The Palestinian team was reporting directly back to Arafat in Tunis on almost an hourly basis. Years later, the late Motta Gur, then deputy defense minister, told me that what convinced Rabin to give the green light to the Oslo talks was the content of the agreements reached in the London talks.

The Oslo process, however, did not succeed, and the first breakdowns were in the security area. This is not the place to go into what went wrong – suffice it to say that mistakes were made, and that it is essential we learn from them. Unfortunately both we and the Palestinians have made some of the same mistakes more than once. Ideally we would make no mistakes, but when we err, least them at least be new mistakes.

The current escalation with Hamas is a case in point. Everyone in the media calls it “the current round,” a recognition of the fact that this episode will soon end, only to return in one way or another in a few months from now. That is the cycle.

I know that when it happens again I will spend hours on the phone and in sending text messages again back-and-forth between the Hamas and Israel and also Egypt in the attempts to get both sides to return to calm and allow for people on both sides of the border to live as normal a life as possible without the risk of being rocketed and killed.

It seems obvious that what is required are some long-term understandings that will guarantee, as much as possible, longer periods of calm. If both main parties, in this case Israel and Hamas, desire to keep the calm – which they do – it only seems natural that they get beyond the current cycle. Three or four days of violence erupting every two or three months, in which tens of Palestinians and Israelis are killed and/or wounded, much property damaged and more than two million people on both sides of the border live under the threat of each other’s rocket fire is simply crazy.

Since the August 2011 Sinai terrorist attack and following the completing of the Schalit prisoner exchange, I have been trying to advance long-term understandings between the parties. The ideas seem as preposterous now as did the idea of security coordination between Israel and the PLO back in September 1992.

The parties are understandably having a difficult time coming to terms with these ideas, but there is no other way, certainly no better way, of ensuring the security of both peoples. The insanity of continued rocket fire with no clear political purpose has to end. It is time to turn the page and begin to rethink the calculus of the present relationship between Israel and Gaza. The status quo is not sustainable, and leaders need to start going beyond what is presently thought to be possible.

The writer is the co-chairman of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, a radio host on All for Peace Radio and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Schalit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

a war is raging in and around gaza..

make no mistake.. people have been stuck in their houses and terrorised by explosions left right and centre..

apparently this is sponsored by iran who are not only arm wrestling us but also showing hamas that when you cross iran and youre palestinian - they will sideline you..

i hope this ends soon.. its not good.. iron dome is performing nicely.. but who cares.. wouldnt we prefer not to know and to have peace?

because while all this crap is going on here there are really cool things going on in the world.. like surfing dogs..

Saturday, March 10, 2012

this time - we started it..

my wifes uncle flew in from overseas with his girlfriend.. it was her first timein israel.. they flew back out this morning after having spent a romantic weekend in missile stricken ashdod..

so basically gaza is in flames right now and sure i know and trust that our pilots are surgically attacking strategic military targets but that doesnt help thousands of innocent families who are impacted by our assault.. it also doesnt seem to be helping the thousands of israeli families who are toggling between bomb shelters and bedrooms.. i can tell you that for my wifes grandparents its a crazy experience..

we were going to visit my wifes uncle on saturday but awoke to the news of this new rising conflict.. we were advised against it by our own families.. they told us to stay in telaviv.. which is kind of crazy given its so close..

this morning i went to our local arab grocer to buy some dairy products before work.. and ud never guess there was conflict in the middle east when i go there.. we pats me on the back.. i joke around about my wifes cravings.. we wish eachother a great week..

i can understand the assasination that triggered the violence.. the dude we killed was responsible for killing 8 israelis directly and was planning additional terrorist attacks.. i get it.. but this never seems to matter - its almost like a reset button.. every few weeks the slate cleans and whoever raises their military head a bit higher than the other suddenly becomes responsible for the "wave of violence".. or so it seems..

so it doesnt matter who starts what.. what matters is who is not doing enough to end what..

eco99fm - my radio station of choice - was joking this morning about all the conspiracy theories that may lay behind this wave of violence.. i sometimes loathe that we laugh about bloodshed.. but then again - how else do you live in this insanity.. most of the time we laugh at ourselves.. still its hard - even just thinking about my wifes relatives panicking at each siren..

this conflict is so last season..

Thursday, March 8, 2012

old spice israeli style..

a send off using a look alike of an upcoming politician (yair lapid) to the insanely catchy but terribly annoying old spice ad..

homeless syrians..

id like to rededicate this song i wrote to the thousands of homeless syrians that are fleeing persecution of their leadership as the media is silenced around them and food and medical assistance is being cut off..

syrian mudslide..

i would like to remind the worlds navigators that while they deliberate as to the best course - syrians are being slaughtered en masse.. by syrians.. this is a terrible tragedy.. despite following the civil unrest/massacre/whatever you want to call it - im not sure why people have to die this way..

druze kibbutznicks..

nice news.. but a shame it needs to be so monumental..

i hope the new members enable and facilitate the opening of hearts.. not they need to be tasked with that.. but still..

Sunday, March 4, 2012

syrian queen bemoaning her country's demise..

i wish asma al assad was the head of state.. i believe israel and syria would have a peace deal if she was..

Friday, March 2, 2012

bin your butts..

we couldnt take it anymore.. the stench and the cigarette butts that had carpeted the floor.. the dog pee.. the plastic cups.. the loud music.. the pizza boxes.. no this wasnt a music festival.. this was the state of our stairwell.. largely the product of our arab nieghbours on the first floor.. and what makes it worse is that they are so polite to us..

its not easy living in yaffo sometimes.. you have to strike a balance between accepting and objecting.. the same arab neighbours decided to exercise their right to object to our super cheap building cleaner and after refusing to pay their share of her incredibly insignificant fee for several months causing her to leave have consistently trashed the building..

every now and then - repulsed by their own mess they wash the first flight of stairs - which leads to their apartment - ignoring the fact that their children litter all flights on their way to their nightly escapades on our roof

i couldnt take it anymore.. so i decided to exercise my right to try and make a difference.. my wife was horrified by the idea that i might become the building's cleaner but frankly i didnt care..

so the plan was to start cleaning and make a lot of noise so people would notice and i could force some interaction.. but no one paid any attention.. not until i buzzed the door of the worst offenders..

they answered the door smilingly and bewildered and i suggested they join my cleaning venture.. my offer included that i broom sweep the whole stairwell and that when i start washing the floor that they take over the water sweeping form their floor to the entrance..

they praised the initiative and said they would happily join..

once i got to their floor they sent out a 17 year old who started helping out.. at some point his older brother stepped out with a tray of food for their neighbours on the other side of the building and he slipped on the water with his flipflops - ignoring our warnings.. he complained that i had used too much soap.. i told him id barely used any and that the substance was a floor washing liquid.. i was embarrassed that i was apologising floor cleaning his mess.. 3 chickens flew off his tray with a plastic plate and onto the floor.. the younger kid removed the chickens and threw them casually into the garden inviting cats to swarm the entrance within minutes.. the plate they left for me to clean up..

moments later the all disappeared.. leaving me to finish the job.. to be honest it was pleasant for me.. i liked the idea of transforming our shit hole entrance into a nice space..

this morning i went downstairs to buy some stuff for breakfast and of course cigarette butts were already collecting on the freshly cleaned stairwell..

it may sound insignificant to many.. but living in shit is not fun..