Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Amnesty Petition

All Israeli (and non-Israeli) readers.

Some of you have read my blog and vented your hate for my country, my people and mocked the dead. I have let you speak because I was raised to believe in freedom of speech, not because I agree with you or because I am unable to delete what you've said.

As for the majority of the readers, you have expressed great solidarity with my country and its innocent victims. I now ask you to sign this electronic petition set up by Amnesty International addressed to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister. This is how you can make a difference.

Excerpt:
"I urge you to take urgent steps to put an immediate end to deliberate attacks by Israeli forces against civilian and civilian property and infrastructure in Lebanon. These attacks constitute collective punishment. I call on you to end the use of excessive and disproportionate force, and to ensure that Israeli forces respect the principle of proportionality when targeting any military objective or civilian objective that may be used for military purposes."

19 Comments:

Blogger Solomon2 said...

Not until someone explains to me what, exactly, "the principle of proportionality" is.

11:26 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Nachum from Israel said...

Ramzi,
What about a petition aimed at Nasrallah, asking him to stop terrorizing Lebanese and Israeli civilians by his actions? Or a petition aimed at Seniora, demanding that he does what ANY government should do -- i.e. govern (govern its entire territory, including south Lebanon).

I do feel terribly terribly terrrbily sorry for the suffering of the Lebanese people, and I have no hate for any of them (except for the Hezbollah) -- I simply think that the Lebanese should take their fate into their own hands (as they started to do in the Cedar Revolution!), and get rid once and for all of this illegal militia, the Hezbollah! No country should tolerate an armed militia that disobeys this country's government -- and Lebanon should be no exception.

If you post 3 such petitions, side by side (petitions addressing Olmert, Nasrallah and Siniora), then you have my word -- I will sign all 3 petieions. Until then, I think you are not acting fairly, by posting just one petition, which implicitly blames Israel in the situation -- a blame which I flatly do not accept.

12:02 AM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Roa said...

Solomon2
I believe I speak for a significant number of Ramzi's readers when I say your contribution to this forum is getting tedious. You've already treated us to a healthy dose of willful blindness, double standards, and pathetic insight into the issue at hand. Now it’s plain stupidity or worse, malice. What part of 400 Lebanese dead, to say nothing of the infrastructure and an evolving environmental disaster on our shores secondary to the leakage of 15,000 tons of fuel oil from the bombarded Jieh power plant, don’t you get?
And can you for the love of God spare us the silly refrain along the lines of “you reap what you sow” for not disarming Hizbollah? For all its military might the US is still unable to stem the insurgency in Iraq after three bloody years. Did you seriously expect a multi-confessional society fresh from its precariously won independence from Syria (no less than 15 prominent journalists and politicians died in that single year); did you seriously expect it to disarm Hizbollah in less than a year? Listen, you’re welcome to live in a fantasy world where most Arabs are feckless or worse evil and most Israelis are God fearing citizens of peace. I’m sure there are many who will share it with you. Likewise, we are plagued “on the other side” with unilateral visions of the world. But if you’re serious about this, I suggest you adopt a more mature attitude towards this tragedy. Our hearts are full with the news of the dead and the destruction so have the decency, if not for the Lebanese casualties then at least for the Israeli ones, to say something constructive and humane.

2:06 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger lebanese_student said...

I was disappointed that you disabled comments in your last post about the show you saw today...
I wanted to share that I saw it too and had the same exact reaction. Such stubborn minds, no sense of compromise, no sense of progressive thought. It was a disgusting look at the future of our country. I was a lot more hopeful before I saw that program.
Sorry for the misplaced comment.

5:23 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Roa, what part of Hezbollah rockets fired into Israeli cities do you not understand?

The analogy to the US and Iraq is a false analogy, though understandable. But the idea that Israel should just wait indefinitely while the Lebanese get their act together is just ridiculous. If Lebanon wanted to disarm its radicals, it could have started fifty years ago. Hezbollah committed an act of war against another nation. That nation responded as if it were at war.

Here is an experiment. Can you calmly articulate what Israel wants, even if you disagree with it?

11:09 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Françoise said...

Bonjour,
Je lis votre blog tous les jours et je transmets le lien à mes amis. Je vais faire la même chose pour la pétition d'Amnesty.
Bon courage, ne lâchez pas prise. Amitiés
Françoise (Paris)

11:15 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Brice said...

Hi Ramzi,
As an occasional reader to your blog, I decided to follow your advice to send this petition. It's a very small move from my part, but I still hope it will make a difference... Keep doing well, my friend !
PS : I took the liberty to use some of your material and translated it into French. You can see the result at http://www.yenbrice.blogspot.com/

Prends soin de toi !
Brice

12:13 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger MCP said...

Thanks for the link.
And thanks for your blog.

3:51 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Ramzi said...

Solomon2
That's easy. The opposite of what Israel is doing now.

Nachum from Israel
Read the petition in full. It does not neglect the responsibility of Hezbollah in all this.

Roa
Don't hold your breath.

Lebanese_student
I'm sorry you didn't get the chance to put your comment on the other post, but the fact is, I was feeling so burnt out I didn't feel like hearing "you are right" or "you are wrong".

Assistant Village Idiot
Nobody denies Israel the right to self-defense. What Israel is doing is far from it.

This post, I previously pointed out, should help you get what we are talking about.

Françoise
Merci beaucoup beaucoup beaucoup!

Brice
Thank you for your kind wishes my friend. Don't doubt the power of the word.

I'm honored you used my blog posts, feel free to do that more often!

MCP
Thank you!

5:45 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Roa said...

We really are going in circles but I will say this.
1. The analogy with Iraq was to show that the world's toughest army is unable to dismantle the insurgency. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect a weaker army (the Lebanese) to do so. It had to be the talks then and a year was just not enough.
2. Please don't give us the sweeping remarks of "if they wanted to...they would have done it 50 years ago". This just shows that you know nothing about Lebanon or the region for that matter.
3. Hizbollah kidnapped two soldiers. That was "the act of war" and they fired rockets ONLY after Israel launched a huge military offensive that attacked the airport and the roads and left no less than 10 civilians dead on the first day. THEN the rockets were fired (and just to make things clear, I really really do not condone either the kidnapping or the rocket firing). Peres was telling a CNN reporter that Hizbollah really "irrational" for waging a war for the sake of three Lebanese prisoners. The reporter was flabbergasted and asked: Isnt that precisely what you did?!
4. Israel wants security for its borders but even if I agree with you that it is surrounded by monsters which I don't and 60 years later we still are grappling with this issue, allow me to say that Israel needs to change tactics of "war" so that it can get somewhere. It really does take two to tango.
But apparently that is not the only thing it wants. Because Hizbollah cares less about all the civilian infrastructure destroyed in Lebanon. Plus Israel is attacking the Lebanese army who has explicit orders not to fire back and to stay put no matter what. Can you tell me why? It is the very army Israel has been calling for its deployment for ages.
Yesterday a UN base was repeatedly shelled despite 6 phone calls from the trapped officials to the Israeli generals to back off. The answer was a precision bomb dropped by a plane. So again can you tell me what they want? The Lebanese government is offering an immdiate deployment of the army to the south. They are asking in return for a prisoner swap and the Shebaa farms so as to rule out any recourse for Hizbollah to continue the fight. They want the "enduring principles" Rice talked about. They were given the cold shoulder. Can you tell me why? Fine, they want to teach Hizbollah and the rest of the world a lesson? They themselves are being given a harsh one as we speak in the south. Indeed we have to thank them. Not only for destroying our country and killing us but for proving once and for all that Hizbollah is a very formidable opponent and while their threat was a theoretical possibility for us, now we know beyond doubt what they are capable of when pushed against the wall.

6:06 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Akiva M said...

My version of this letter, which I sent and I'm sure will please almost none of you. I edited it away from AI's version because I don't agree with some of their points, most notably proportionality - as others smarter than me have pointed out, proportionality to the specific provocation is one thing and proportionality to the threat is another thing entirely:

I am sending a modified version of the Amnesty International letter. I do not believe that Israel is deliberately targeting civillians, and I absolutely believe that Israel has the right to target infrastructure used by Hezbollah, regardless of its value or importance to the civillian population.

However, I am deeply concerned by what seem to me - from a vantage point miles a way and filtered through the media lens of both the Jerusalem Post and other sources - to be unnecessarily reckless attacks that have caused otherwise avoidable civillian death. Attacks on refugee convoys. Attacks on bridges while they were being used by civillians. And, of course, Marwaheen. If these attacks were deliberate, then they are abhorrent and likely criminal. If they were merely reckless, they are still abhorrent and still likely criminal. And, while I am a staunch supporter of Israel, Israel's silence on these issues leaves me little room for doubt. Was it impossible to attack a bridge at an early morning hour when it was not in use by groups of civillians? Was it imperative to strike the car leaving Marwaheen, and why did the pilot who fired the missile believe that?

For the sake of Israel's soul, for the sake of Israel's hasbara, please, I beg of you, either explain why our impression of these acts is wrong, or condemn them and court martial the perpetrators. There is no middle ground. I know why Israel must fight this war, and I know that means that civillians will unavoidable and tragically be harmed, even killed. But where their deaths were not unavoidable, where a particular strike was not necessary, Israel cannot stay silent or ignore it.

Please understand that I am asking this because I think it is necessary for Israel's benefit, and to win not only this war, but the peace that must follow.

B'Ahava

8:18 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Akiva M said...

Roa,

::The analogy with Iraq was to show that the world's toughest army is unable to dismantle the insurgency. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect a weaker army (the Lebanese) to do so. It had to be the talks then and a year was just not enough.::

I understand that argument, but you should also realize that it is always easier for an external force to stop an insurgency than for an internal one. The Lebanese people showed their strength in the Cedar revolution. If they could have mustered that much strength in opposing Hezbollah, things might be very different.

Most importantly, Israel's complaint is not that the Lebanese Government "failed" to disarm Hezbollah or prevent attacks, it's that they did not even make the attempt. Had Lebanon made even a minimal attempt - such as deploying its army along the border, which would have impeded Hezbollah (as they do not want to be seen as attacking Lebanon, IMO) - I doubt Israel would have held Lebanon responsible. And if they had, I'd be agreeing with you that they were wrong to do so, instead of disagreeing.

::Hizbollah kidnapped two soldiers. That was "the act of war" and they fired rockets ONLY after Israel launched a huge military offensive . . . Peres was telling a CNN reporter that Hizbollah really "irrational" for waging a war for the sake of three Lebanese prisoners. The reporter was flabbergasted and asked: Isnt that precisely what you did?!::

(I took out the middle to shorten it - I appreciate the "not condoning" comment)

two points. First, you are mistaken that Hezbollah fired rockets only after Israel's attack. Leaving aside Hezbollah rocket fire over the past six years, the kidnapping itself was accompanied by a rain of rockets on the north as cover for the hezbollah operation.

Second, anyone who thinks that Israel is waging a war for the sake of a few prisoners is misreading the situation. The kidnapped soldiers are important, but more important is removing Hezbollah as a strategic threat.

And Hezbollah is a strategic threat to Israel. Not only are they an armed militia that has announced the destruction of Israel as their goal, not only do they have over 13,000 rockets pointing at Israeli cities, but they are the proxy of Iran - a nation that is on the verge of obtaining the capability of producing a nuclear weapon, whose president has called for wiping Israel off the map, whose state university has enrolled volunteers to commit suicide bombings to accomplish that goal, and who is already Hezbollah's main supplier of arms.

As to the UN - I've seen reports from the same UNIFIL position that say that they were taking fire from Israel not as a matter of targeting but as a matter of necessity (in other words, that they took fire on other occasions because Hezbollah fighters were operating from their immediate vicinity). It is probable that was again the case when the compound was hit. Think about it for a second, what is the benefit to Israel of deliberately targeting a UN post??

8:40 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Akiva M said...

gah - meant easier for an internal force to stop an insurgency than an external one

8:41 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Roa:

It's more like "plain stupidity". Please don't mistake wilful blindness for real blindness. I really don't understand this "proportionality" bit. I suppose if Hezbollah hadn't been so competent at hiding away the soldiers they kidnapped and killing the squad that tried to retrieve them the soldiers would have been rescued quickly without a single bomb dropping or artillery shell fired. But Hezbollah has more resources than that so efforts to retrieve them have to be involve more intensive. To accept the principle of trading the kidnapped soldiers for convicted felons sets back international law for hundreds of years and accepting Hezbollah's right to bombard Israel in "peacetime" essentially creates the conditions that make it O.K. to destroy Israel, slowly or quickly, without international repercussions and with great loss of Israeli life. So for Israel this is a struggle for its very existence.

People who accuse other people of "double standards" may themselves simply be insufficiently informed of the complexity of the situation, so always be specific about these things, please.

No, I wouldn't have expected Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah in a year. Things were starting to return to normal, and Hezb saw that very fact as a threat to its power over the country and its citizens, as well as its relevancy to jihad. Yet Hezb knew that all diplomatic avenues to restrain them had been exhausted. So once they kidnapped the soldiers Israel had no choice but to respond militarily and drag most of Lebanon into the current mess. Didn't Nasrallah say that Lebanon is in a war whether it wishes to or not? Is it not true that all that has to be done to stop the war is for Nasrallah to give back the kidnapped soldiers and stop the rockets?

Nasrallah could thus stop the war in an instant, yet he considers Hezbollah's "honor" proportionately more important than the lives of hundreds of Lebanese citizens. Hezb fighters get to stay in bunkers while citizens above them take the punishment. I always expected that Hezb would have to start up the fight again. But I didn't think that after March 14th the Lebanese would be so craven as to fall for this kind of trick.

Tragedy? Decency? Were there mass demonstrations after the kidnappings denouncing Hezbollah or in sympathy to Israel? It is difficult to have sympathy for people who display no sympathy for the sufferings of others.

You can take to the streets en masse or by yourself and make a statement, even at the risk of your life by Hezbollah goons. Is it not better to risk death for a return to a better life than to cower in the shelter, knowing that if you don't act, a miserable existence under Hezbollah rule (with the occasional Israeli bomb thrown in) is certain? That's the choice for you to make.

12:43 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger shlemazl said...

I would sign the petition if you provide me with evidence of Israel having deliberately targeted a civilian target of no use to Hizbullah.

Up until then I reserve my judgement. I really am very sorry about what is going on in Lebanon, but Israel has not started this war.

1:07 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger zouzou said...

hey ramzi, its zouzou
it's my first time in your blog
i like it, it's full of intterresting things
i have already signed the petition but i didn't believe its purposes..
nwy, if ur iterrested u can see my blog : zouzoukai.blogspot.com/.. it's an artistic thing..

3:56 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger sp4rtacus said...

doesn't matter who's right or wrong, innocent people are losing their lifes and what we all do ?

3:56 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Daniel Hough said...

I'd just like to say how wonderful I think it is that you keep up such a strong spirit through such a difficult time, and I hope that in some way that can help end this in as peaceful a way as possible. Don't let your spirit die. Lebanon deserves better than what it gets.

12:50 AM, July 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my name is Samrawit. i'm an Israeli and Ethiopian girl. I hate that people hate Israel, as i just went there for vacation and loved it. The people are wonderful, but people are just too hateful towards the country. I hope you do pray for it, though.

much love to all

3:50 AM, September 12, 2007  

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