Live from an Israeli bunker

Friday, July 21, 2006

Too close for comfort

A few minutes ago the sirens started again in the distance; they were so faint that we were only made aware of them by watching Haifa on TV. Like Pavlov's dogs we react to the stimuli dutifully, almost mindlessly. It's a second nature now. But this time it was different.

On the way down we heard a large boom, my neighbor phoned his daughter across town as soon as the radio announced that Haifa was hit. Up until now he seemed to me the calmest person down there, but his expression changed. "It hit near you? The windows exploded?" His arm unknowingly touches the wall to support himself, "don't cry, don't cry.. Are you ok?". He hangs up and with resolve says that he's going down there, no tears but he's already changed. With shaking fingers he calls somebody else about the car.

Haifa suffered 7 15 19 injured as a result of these attacks, two one at a critical condition. I can only hope that his daughter and loved ones are not amongst them.

Much more soon, I wish I had less to write about.

Update: three more rockets, no hits this time.

Update 2 (three hours later): Two sirens, two waves, no casualties. They hit open spaces or over shot.

32 Comments:

  • ow man thats bad news. sorry

    just remember to stay down and stay safe man

    By Blogger james, at 2:24 PM  

  • You are a brave young man. I respect you for keeping up with the information. I pray for you and all with you, that there will be a swift end to this insanity. I know war, i know the terror of it. Peace my brother.

    By Blogger Chris A., at 2:43 PM  

  • What did the Rocket hit?

    By Blogger LibrarianAkios, at 2:52 PM  

  • I know exactly what and where, I've been there many times but I don't want to say exactly. It's probably known already as our imbeciles on TV showed the street sign by mistake.

    By Blogger Live from an Israeli bunker, at 2:55 PM  

  • Uh, maybe the powers that be ought to consider, uh, disallowing press reports that give Hizbollah feedback on where precisely their rockets landed?

    And I wish to modify an earlier comment, made tongue-in-cheek at the time: getting attacked by rockets DOESN'T sound like much fun.

    Keep safe.

    By Anonymous Mr. Kite, at 3:16 PM  

  • I don't know what it is to feel the anger and sadness under a war situation because I'm from Holland and have never been in a warzone. Nevertheless I want you to know that we all are with you and think of you all day long. I also pray for you and all with you that it will end peacefully soon. God bless you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:18 PM  

  • CBC in Canada has you listed in their blip on frontline blogs:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/middleeast-crisis/blogs.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:07 PM  

  • I know what you mean about wishing that you didnt have so much to write about. It can be difficult to report accuratly without telling everybody every little detail. Your doing a VERY good job and Ive really enjoyed reading your blog. Im trying to learn from your style. Keep up the good job and stay safe.

    Best wishes
    M.S. Mac

    By Blogger M.S. Mac, at 4:18 PM  

  • Your blog was mentioned in
    german news-tv-online.
    http://www.tagesschau.de/aktuell/meldungen/0,1185,OID5737234_TYP6_THE_NAV_REF1_BAB,00.html
    Keep safe!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 PM  

  • Eugene - thank you for your blog! I was in Haifa in May last time. Right now - skyping my friends and relatives in Haifa and in the North, ... will not ask you where it hit today, though.

    Stay safe,
    Eugene (Kiev-Moscow-Haifa-Montreal)

    By Anonymous Eugene in Montreal, at 4:43 PM  

  • hi !
    i came to ur site from
    http://www.tagesschau.de/aktuell/meldungen/0,,OID5737234_REF1,00.html
    ... t sounds intresting .... ;=)
    see you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:54 PM  

  • I have a question. The news shows lot of rockets goig to Haifa. Looking at Google Earth, it seems that Haifa is kinda far from the boarder. Why are they targeting this town? Arent there any closer (i.e. more easily targeted) towns they could go for?

    Thank you and please keep safe!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 PM  

  • Israel and Lebanon: The accidental war
    Jul 20th 2006
    From The Economist print edition

    A pointless war that no one may have wanted and no one can win. It should stop now


    THE war that has just erupted apparently without warning between Israel and Lebanon looks miserably familiar. The wanton spilling of blood, the shattering of lives and homes, the flight of refugees: it has all happened in much the same way and just the same places before. In 1982 an Israeli government sent tanks into the heart of Beirut to crush the “state within a state” of Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organisation. A quarter of a century later, Israel's air force is pulverising Lebanon in order to crush the state within a state established there by Hizbullah, Lebanon's Iranian-inspired “Party of God”. That earlier war looked at first like a brilliant victory for Israel. Arafat and his men had to be rescued by the Americans and escorted to exile in faraway Tunis. But Israel's joy did not last. The war killed thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, along with hundreds of Israeli and Syrian soldiers. It brought years of misery to Lebanon—and, of course, no peace in the end to Israel. The likeliest outcome of this war is that the same futile cycle will repeat itself.
    Why it started

    As in 1982, it started with a pinprick. Then, it was a Palestinian assassination attempt on an Israeli diplomat in London. This time it was the decision of Hizbullah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, to send his fighters on a cross-border raid into Israel on July 12th, where they killed several soldiers and captured two. This was, as Israel complains, an unprovoked attack on its sovereign territory. Israel says the timing—three days before the G8 summit in St Petersburg—was no coincidence, that Iran was using Hizbullah to deflect attention from its fishy nuclear programme. An equally plausible explanation is that the war is the product of a mistake.

    In launching his raid Mr Nasrallah was in fact doing nothing new. In recent years, Hizbullah has mounted several similar raids into Israel. It got away with them, even when Israel was led by Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, tough prime ministers who had been war heroes too. Their reactions were astonishingly mild. The reason for this, as Mr Nasrallah constantly boasted, was his arsenal of around 12,000 Iranian and Syrian rockets and missiles. With these as a deterrent, Mr Nasrallah felt free to pursue an intermittent cross-border war against his much stronger neighbour, piling up prestige for resisting the Zionist “occupier”—even though, in point of fact, Israel withdrew from all of Lebanon's territory six years ago, and has a certificate from the United Nations to prove it.

    This time, too, Mr Nasrallah may have expected the usual tokenistic response. If so, he miscalculated. Shortly before the Hizbullah raid carried away two Israeli soldiers, the Palestinian Hamas movement had mounted an equally daring raid into Israel from the Gaza Strip (another place from which Israel had completely withdrawn), killing two soldiers and nabbing another. Perhaps precisely because his non-military background required him to look strong, Israel's new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, decided that this double humiliation was more than he could survive or Israel could bear. So he has chosen to go to war (see article).

    To much of the world, that looks like a crazily disproportionate response. And so it is, measured against the offence. But measure it against the threat that Israel feels from Hizbullah and it may not be. From that perspective, this war did not spring from nowhere, even if its timing is an accident. The conditions for it have been building, in slow motion, for years.

    In the decades since Israel's invasion of 1982, Hizbullah has emerged as the strongest local military force in Lebanon. Since last year, when Lebanese public opinion and forceful diplomacy pushed out the Syrians, it has been the strongest force, period. It certainly cannot be disarmed, as Israel says piously it should be, by the official Lebanese army. And Hizbullah has shown little interest in Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls equally piously for the disbanding of all Lebanon's militias (there is in fact now only one) but suggests no way of enforcing this. Hizbullah is a political party, with representation in Lebanon's parliament and government, but its militia does not take orders from that government. It almost certainly pays more attention to the ideological and tactical advice it receives from Iran, its chief armourer and mentor.

    The untidy political arrangements of its neighbour might be of no interest to Israel but for the fact, now being underlined daily in fire, that by giving Hizbullah all those rockets and missiles Iran has transformed a small militia into a strategic threat to the Jewish state. None of the strong states on Israel's border, such as Egypt or Syria, would dare to plaster Israel's towns and cities with rockets. A non-state actor such as Hizbullah, inside a weak state such as Lebanon, is much less easy to deter. Hizbullah retorts that it needed all these weapons as a deterrent of its own. Israel did after all invade Lebanon and occupy bits of it for 22 years. But it was utter hubris for Hizbullah to believe that, with its rockets in reserve, its fighters could keep crossing into Israel with impunity.
    How to end it

    A war that starts by accident is not necessarily easy to end. This one is what Israelis call a “war of choice”. Mr Olmert did not have to react the way he did. But now that he has, the stakes could hardly be higher for both sides. It is no longer a matter of wounded pride or the fate of the kidnapped soldiers.

    If Hizbullah is beaten, it risks losing its position as the strongest power in the fractious Lebanese state, with damaging consequences in the region for its Iranian sponsor and Syrian ally. If Israel falters, many of its people think, the iron wall of military power that has enabled it to win grudging acceptance in the Middle East will have been seriously breached.

    It is because the stakes are so high that both sides have rushed so fast up the ladder of escalation. Israel's aim is not just to even the score by hurting Hizbullah and then stopping. Before stopping, it says, it wants to deprive Hizbullah of its power to strike Israel in future. That means destroying Hizbullah's rocket stores even if they are concealed in villages and bombing its command bunkers even if they are located under the crowded residential suburbs of south Beirut. It also means cutting off Hizbullah's resupply, even if the subsequent blockade by land, sea and air brings Lebanon's economy to its knees. If hundreds of civilians are killed, and hundreds of thousands put to flight, so be it: in war, under Israel's philosophy, moderation is imbecility. Hizbullah is no different, and in some ways worse. The “open war” declared by Mr Nasrallah consists chiefly of firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel's towns. Israel says it is killing civilians by accident, but the disparity in firepower means the Lebanese still suffer much more.

    This is madness, and it should end. It is madness because the likelihood of Israel achieving the war aims it has set for itself is negligible. However much punishment Mr Olmert inflicts on Hizbullah, he cannot force it to submit in a way that its leaders and followers will perceive as a humiliation. Israel's first invasion of Lebanon turned into its Vietnam. It is plainly unwilling to occupy the place again. But airpower alone will never destroy every last rocket and prevent Hizbullah's fighters from continuing to send them off. No other outside force looks capable of doing the job on Israel's behalf. At present, the only way to disarm Hizbullah is therefore in the context of an agreement Hizbullah itself can be made to accept.

    George Bush is in no rush to rescue Hizbullah. And why, he must wonder, should he? This organisation killed hundreds of American marines in 1983. It is part of an alliance, consisting also of Iran, Syria and Hamas, working against America's interests and friends. Pro-American governments, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, bluntly blame Hizbullah for this latest wasteful war. Israel is asking for more time, perhaps another week or two, to complete its demolition of Hizbullah's arsenal and create a new order in Lebanon. Though Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's secretary of state, says she is bound for the region, there is no concealing the American temptation to dawdle.
    Hurry, please

    That is a mistake. Hizbullah cannot be uprooted. It is not going formally to surrender. Its past struggle against Israel has won it the fierce loyalty of many Lebanese Shias, and its present one will add to their number even if it comes off worse. Israel's security will not be enhanced by destroying the rest of Lebanon. By weakening the Lebanese state, and its fragile but well-intentioned government, Israel just weakens the already feeble constraints Lebanon tries to impose on Hizbullah's actions.

    What is needed now is a way for both sides to climb down. Israel must get its soldiers back, Hizbullah's departure from the border area and an undertaking that Hizbullah will not attack again. The Lebanese army or a neutral force should then man the border. Hizbullah needs to be given a way to consent to these changes without losing face. Squaring this will take time, ingenuity and the full engagement of the United States. It will not bring peace to the Middle East but it might silence a dangerous new front. America should start its work at once.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 PM  

  • I added CBC and Tagesschau.de as well as the Washington Post. Thanks for giving me a heads up.

    As for the article posted, I have a hard time accepting that this war is in any way accidental. The author seems to have some grasp of the situation but not enough to understand that what he is suggestion is simply not an option.

    By Blogger Live from an Israeli bunker, at 5:38 PM  

  • "Israel's security will not be enhanced by destroying the rest of Lebanon. By weakening the Lebanese state, and its fragile but well-intentioned government, Israel just weakens the already feeble constraints Lebanon tries to impose on Hizbullah's actions."

    this is the most intelligent comment i have read here so far. hizbullah and other extremist and terrorist organizations will gain support at the same rate that the situation of civilians in palestinian refugee camps and the lebanon gets worse. and i really do wonder why the isreali government does not seem to realize that. it is so very obvious.

    anyway. all the best wishes for you and all the other people suffering from this stupid ignorance.

    By Blogger great dynamo, at 5:57 PM  

  • Great Dynamo, should Israel just allow its enemies to attack it without recourse? It is the terror groups that hide behind civilians in the knowledge that the West will, in knee-jerk fashion, criticize Israel when civilians are caught in the cross-fire that the terror groups themselves make necessary. And Lebanon's government has proven itself wholly ineffectual in dealing with the security threat. The idea that Israel (and the US, at that) shouldn't attack terrorists because it will only make the populations that support terrorists madder is simply a recipe for failure. It'd be like not fighting Nazi Germany because German civilians might get killed, and then blaming the Allies, and not Hitler, for each German civilian death made necessary because of the Nazi's aggression. Moral blame for civilian deaths falls on those that made this war necessary, not on those that are made to fight it.

    By Anonymous Mr. Kite, USA, at 6:06 PM  

  • I just don't understand why people don't learn from mistakes others did hundreds of years and times befor.
    I just hope that LibrarianAkios proves right with his statement 'The future Leaders of all the countrys involved in these events are here now, talking with eachother all over the internet. Hopefully we can all be this understanding when it's our turn to work for peace.'


    Stay safe
    Alex. Wollny
    Germany

    By Anonymous kdw, at 6:09 PM  

  • Stay strong!


    No War Button

    By Blogger Ilan, at 6:12 PM  

  • The misery of the Lebanese does not mitigate in any way, shape or form the right of Israel to live in peace. It's really just that simple.

    It has become increasingly clear over the last couple days just how much of a free hand Hizbullah has had in Lebanon, and this could only have occurred with acquiesence if not direct assistance of the greater Lebanese population.

    Whoever told anyone here that war is pretty or fair? If it was, it wouldn't be war.

    By Anonymous joshua, at 6:18 PM  

  • mr kite, you are simplifying the argument a bit too much. nobody said, that israel is not allowed to fight terrorists. but you need to accept that you cannot solve the extremist and terrorist problem by pure force. for every ten terrorists you may kill with those air raids you may turn 50 former civilians into new ones. thats why in fact you make them stronger if you act in a way that the moderate majority in the lebanon and everywhere not only in the islamic world find inadequate.
    btw, as inadequate as your comparism to nazi-germany.

    By Blogger great dynamo, at 6:31 PM  

  • Great Dynamo, you are making an assumption that the majority in Lebanon are indeed moderate. Care to back that up with hard facts?

    By Anonymous joshua, at 6:38 PM  

  • I pray that the God of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob will bring all wars to an end.
    "On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Ashur. Ashur willcome to Egypt and Egypt to Ashur, and Egypt will worship with Ashur. On that day Israel will be third partner with Egypt and Ashur, a blessing here on earth; for ADONAI-Tzva ´ot has blessed him; Blessed be Egypt my people, Ashur the work of my hands and Israel my heritage" Yesha ´Yahu 19,23-25

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:41 PM  

  • Great Dynamo, the point is, war cannot be fought without killing civilians, and the moral responsibility for this war lies on Hizbollah. Blame them for the civilian deaths.

    I'll try my comparison to WWII one more time for you, to see if it sinks in: the Allies could not have defeated Nazi Germany but for countless civilian deaths, the numbers of which dwarf this mini-war. It would be strange to blame the Allies for these civilian deaths, and not Nazi Germany, when Nazi Germany brought about the war that made the civilian deaths inevitable. Aggressors can't hold their own civilian populations hostage, then blame their opponent when the hostages are killed in the fighting... see how that's a bit much? But that's what's happening, and you're taking the bait, along with the EU (who just LOVES Israel ordinarily, and who never capitulates to Muslim extremists [sarcarsm]).

    As far as the "making more terrorists" argument goes, no one forces people to become extremists and murderers. If that is what "moderate" Muslims choose to become because the West defends itself from their less moderate bretheren, then I suppose we'll have a good ole fashion World War on our hands. And we'll win. Hope this helps.

    By Anonymous Mr. Kite, USA, at 7:09 PM  

  • one of the rockets directly hit a main postal office, luckly its friday and the postal office closes at 12:00. the rockets crashed at about 13:05.
    the only casualties are the people walking near the building. they were hit by small metalic balls that are put in the rocket to inhance the damage.
    a second rocket hit one of the largest resedental building in haifa, slicing through the top 3 floors. luckly again, no one was killed in this attack.
    i wouldnt have posted it if the radio didnt broudcast it... we rather not give anyone an idea about where it hit from obvious reasons...

    By Anonymous Funny Little Man, at 7:59 PM  

  • Andrew (USA)

    If Hezbollah disarms, there is peace.
    If Israel disarms, they are slaughtered.

    The very existence of Israel is the problem with groups such as Hezbollah.. There is almost no compromise with a group that wants a nation-state totally removed from the map.

    Lebanon needs to take responsibility for the thugs that inhabit their lands, and bring upon Israeli counter attacks which happen to involve innocent civilians.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:01 PM  

  • My heart just aches knowing Haifa was hit and people were hurt. I just don't understand why Hezbollah has to target Haifa. Keep safe friend. Still praying for you. I saw the news when the rockets hit. Just horrible...

    By Blogger Sunny, at 8:50 PM  

  • this i leave as a message to all the world

    monkey monkey

    but also this

    what the world has seen is only a small part of the american military imagine if we called up all the soldiers or the draftif any one were to set of a nuke in america thed see war on a scale never known america and israel pick our targets by trying not to kill civilians terrorist are cowards and do not america is asleep and drowsy dont shake us to hard

    and now back to

    monkey monkey asucosa

    By Blogger james, at 9:07 PM  

  • oh yes and hezballah attacks everything they can see there rabid in america we just put rabid dogs down no matter how much we love them

    By Blogger james, at 9:09 PM  

  • Just wanted to let you know that there are millions here in the USA that are here for you.
    On a personal note, my body is here but heart is in Israel with the Jewish people.
    Hang tough. I know that Bush will never let any arab country take Israel. Ever!
    Belle Talley

    By Anonymous Belle, at 7:02 AM  

  • It's very cruel and terrible what's happening to you. But mind one thing: already over 400 Lebanese, Hezbollian or not, were killed, the Israelien have to mourn the death of 40 people.

    You have at least at night safety. But the Lebanese never have. They are afraid of being hit everytime by Israelien air force!

    By Blogger stephansopinion, at 5:20 PM  

  • http://www.eirna.com/html/lar-doctrine-e.pdf

    By Blogger mindiane, at 7:10 PM  

  • I am franch, I'm fighting with Larouche in an international political party against the synarchy (financial world)wich is destroying all of nation-states around the world. The crisis in the mideast is an international problem. The youth have to be political leader to change the economic system and to build a world of peace. Contact me at aliselym@yahoo.fr

    By Blogger mindiane, at 7:17 PM  

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