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Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Israelblogging

Looking south on Hayarkon from my balcony.  I think that was yesterday.

Apparently KNOW HOPE gets around.  Walking down Allenby.  "General Allenby?  That's a step in the right direction." Um, sorry.

I have cleverly found a way to provide you with Friday Catblogging from the Mediterranean.

Fell asleep last night at 2100 IDT, woke up at 0412.  Tossed around in bed, then decided to get up for a walkabout, hitting the street around 5ish.

Since Google Maps has yet to add street-level detail to the mobile application, I decided to conservatively stick to Allenby Street and eventually wander back toward the sea for my return.  I also had a touristy map for backup.

I passed by the Great Synagogue, which was an Irgun arms cache back in 1946, but didn't take any pictures.  I just meandered down the road with no real goal in mind, though I figured I would probably end up by St Peter's Church.

Lots of mostly dressed-up young people milling about.  Apparently they were just on their way home, which Frommer's Israel tells me is what usually happens before and after Shabbat: Thursday and Saturday nights are for staying up late and partying.  Ericka and I were chatting via Blackberry Messenger and she opined that I'd finally found the Mother Ship.

The rest of my courageous story told in pictures below the fold...

Universal sign of urban life: stuff hung out the window to dry.

Is that why Israeli security took me aside for questioning yesterday at the airport?  YAWN.

Junk mail also appears to be universal.

Shit.  Guess I'd better head home, then.

Zionists?  In ISRAEL?!

Somewhere off Jaffa Rd.

Along Eilat Rd.

It's so true.

I didn't see too many commuters this early.

Think about it, man..

The full thing, which I did shoot, included "All."  Somehow I didn't like it photographically, so I cropped that part out--sense remains the same.  I suppose they aren't happy Obama's calling for a Two Staate Solution, then?

Yet another universal thing.

I've seen lots of what I presume are Anarchy sign variants.

Okay, so this was more Graffitiblogging than Catblogging.  Sue me.

St Pete's from the north.

Not so famous as Rome's feral cats, I guess, but there were plenty along the shoreline path.

They appear well-fed thanks to people leaving food, and plenty of birds.

"And I'll just be going now...".

I've dubbed these "crows" and birds like the one above "robins," pending identification.

Just so you know, this water is Israel's.  Or at least that rock is.

Tel Aviv as the morning sun starts peeking through the clouds/haze.

Does your cat bite?  No.  Hey, you're cat bit me!  That's not my cat--he's just here for the fish.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Shortly after that last photo, I came to a memorial of the bombing in June 1, 2001, of the Dolphin Disco.  A senseless act of violence, with a lingering impact:

Israeli psychologists say a rapidly growing number of Israeli youngsters are developing forms of trauma in the face of a campaign of suicide bombings waged by Palestinian militants in their 20-month-old uprising against occupation.

While many bearing the scars are teenagers wounded in attacks, the sense of trauma has spread to young people who have lost friends or family and to a wider public grown scared as bombers target buses, cafes, discos and family celebrations.

And the consequences run deeper as an entire new generation of Israelis looks at its future and sees black.

Sadly, I think some people can't extrapolate and consider the similar impact on Gazan kids who are living in their bombed out homes, missing parents and developing their own bleak outlook as they suffer from PTSD and depression.  That's why I took hope from Obama's speech in Cairo yesterday, which I watched on the Knesset Channel and at which Code Pink delegates demonstrated:

There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground.  As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth."


America's strong bonds with Israel are well known.  This bond is unbreakable.  It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.  Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich.  Six million Jews were killed -- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.  Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful.  Threatening Israel with destruction -- or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews -- is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.  For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation.  Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.  They endure the daily humiliations -- large and small -- that come with occupation.  So let there be no doubt:  The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.  And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.  (Applause.)

For decades then, there has been a stalemate:  two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive.  It's easy to point fingers -- for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond.  But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth:  The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. 

Hamas is taking him at his word.  Let's see if he can follow through with action.


June 5, 2009 in Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink


Hi: have a great trip
Agreed entirely re Obama's speech, which is the single best Middle East speech I've ever heard from an American persident in my life, though, as you say, it begs for action. I was both delighted and flabbergasted to hear him reference America's complicity in the Mossadegh coup in the same sentence as the perceived excesses of the Iranian revolution. Aside from simply telling the truth, he thereby undermined the case for American exceptionalism more explicitly than I've ever heard a president do. Coupled with Obama's opposition to 'modernization' of nuclear weapons, I cautiously wonder if, at long last, some of the most basic assumptions underlying American policy over the past 60 years are finally entering, however tentatively, the realm of the questionable.

(William Conrad's narrator's voice from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show) Be here for our next exciting episode...

And be well; all the best

Posted by: ProfWombat | Jun 5, 2009 3:39:07 AM

Provocative photos and blog entry. President Obama's speech was unprecedented in it's scope and honesty. I hope that policy is there to back up the words. It think it will be.
Love the pictures of the seashore cats. Very lovely scenes.
Take care.

Posted by: mnkid, ♥'s Rachel Maddow | Jun 5, 2009 7:00:26 AM

Beautiful photos. As usual.


Posted by: Athenae | Jun 5, 2009 9:07:56 AM

Em and I are thinking about you. Wonderful pics.

Posted by: AndyMN | Jun 5, 2009 12:47:43 PM

Wonderful early morning tour, NTodd. I could feel the breeze off the Mediterranean...
May the Force be with you all.

Posted by: Li'l Innocent | Jun 6, 2009 5:26:18 PM

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