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The Tel Aviv bubble has burst - the status quo should go with it

People taking cover from rocket fire in Tel Aviv (Activestills)

The Tel Aviv bubble has burst – or it is in denial. Or a bit of both. Whatever the diagnosis may be, the fact that rockets from Gaza have reached the city for the fifth time in four consecutive days (rockets were just fired at around 18:45 while I was writing this), even if they have mostly not made impact, is shocking, and it is certainly a wake-up call.

As Amir Oren said in Haaretz’s opinion pages today:

The significance of rockets fired on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem should not be underestimated. Since 1948, no Arab country, except Iraq in 1991, has managed or dared to do what Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have done. Other than the Jordanian Long Tom shell fired at Masaryk Square in Tel Aviv in the Six-Day War, and despite the city’s vulnerability to air and artillery attacks, Tel Aviv, symbol of the Jewish state, has remained untouched.

Tel Aviv has been touched, at least south Tel Aviv, even though it is such an easy place to remain oblivious in, and be self-absorbed in. Even though there have been almost no rockets and no injuries. When sirens go off, you get a sense of what it means to lose control, lose your breath, lose freedom – freedom to live, freedom to move and freedom to have a semblance of control over your life – in your own home. Total helplessness and vulnerability.

Of course it’s nothing like what Israelis are going through in the south, or remotely even close to what Gazans are going through. It’s all relative and hierarchic, and middle-high class Tel Avivians like me are near the very top of the food chart, with those in Gaza currently at the very bottom. So there’s no comparison.

But that doesn’t make the sirens followed by booms any less scary and awful. Regardless, Tel Aviv is geographically now a part of one of the local wars Israel periodically wages with one of its bordering neighbors. It is no longer immune. And as crappy as that is, maybe it’s exactly what needs to happen – that Tel Aviv now needs to also be part of this cycle of violence – that the daily routines and the bars and the nightlife and the hi-techs cannot function normally.  They tell you to continue with your daily routine, but who the hell really can? And who the hell really should?

When your life is largely dependent on the whims of belligerent men in powerful positions, and the whims of their prized weapons – whoever you are, it’s the same feeling.

So, the only thing I can think of that’s positive right now, is that maybe this means the status quo will break, because it must break. Even though I am currently in the minority of Israelis against the IDF operation, against all the deadly things dropping from the sky, Israelis will have to realize that the only way out of this mess is to resist all forms of violence.

As an Israeli history teacher from Kfar Aza, on the border with Gaza, wrote a few days ago:

Does defending the well being of citizens mean a war of armageddon every few years? Hasn’t any politician ever heard of the expression ‘long-term planning?’ If you want to defend me – then please: Don’t send the Israel Defense Forces for us in order to “win.” Start thinking about the long term and not just about the next election.

I may not feel the national sentiments that people here think I should feel – and I won’t be able to ever know what it feels like to be a Palestinian. But I live here, and this is how I feel.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Actually it must be much easier for the Palestinians in Gaza, they don’t have sirens to warn them.

      Reply to Comment
        • The text messages and leaflets, just as with Cast Lead I are a form of psychological warfare and should be treated as war crimes. You don’t tell people to get out when they are trapped unless you want to add more panic to their suffering.

          Reply to Comment
          • sh

            Nor do you tell people to get out when they’ve nowhere safe to go.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Nonsense.
            It is rather safe everywhere but near weapon caches and launch sites.

            Which is why, by the way, bombardments does not happen at times – civilians chose to stay inside/nearby certain buildings and army decides to call off an attack.
            Collateral damage is a bit too expensive, you see. At 5-10 killed every day the operation could last good couple months and eventually lead to Fatah taking over Gaza – as a peace keeping force or something.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Alice

      You can under no circumstances condone any violence against any population. But as a former resident of Beirut, I say that this is probably a welcome wake-up call to some Israeli citizens who have the luxury of being oblivious to the suffering inflicted on innocent citizens during Israeli offences elsewhere. No one deserves to be terrified like this, so as the old saying goes, “Do to no one what you yourself dislike.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Alice, since vast numbers of New Year’s resolutions people know it is almost impossible to not do what doesn’t work, I suggest a far more viable saying, “do unto others as you would like them to do to you”.

        Reply to Comment
    3. The Trespasser

      “Don’t”‘s are pointless without “do”‘s

      Tel Aviv bubble will remain pretty much untouched until EVERYONE realizes that it takes at least two for both tango and peace process.

      As of that lousy history teacher – he really needs to study more on his subject, and not necessarily Israel’s history, for there is no known examples of Muslims making lasting peace with Infidels based on something other than military superiority of the latter.

      I truly wonder – the Left is supposed to consist of the finest people – with good education and everything.
      Strangely it’s not the case here – every single Leftist I’ve spoken to has literally no idea about anything which lies outside the scope of their daily job, be it causes and consequences of World Wars, reasons behind the defeat of IDF during the first days of Yom Kippur war or issue of preteen marriage in Islam.

      Problem with the education system, which lets uneducated to teach others?
      Or it’s just communal degradation where a part of society reaches the top thus losing the need to improve?

      Reply to Comment
      • History

        The ignorance of your remark shocks me. “there is no known examples of Muslims making lasting peace with Infidels” — The rule of the Muslim caliphs a millennium ago is the only period in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived peacefully and tolerated each other.
        It does indeed take two for the peace process, which is why the leftists have the right idea.
        You insult the Leftists, but this is your only defense of your opinion. Calling them ignorant does not make their point any less valid.
        Violence is still the problem, not the solution, and right wing extremists who continue to call for blood are not only inhumane but illogical, as this will not end the conflict.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          History,

          Jews and Christians were dhimmis, as you probably should know. Semi-protected class B citizens.

          Tolerated each other? Nicely put.
          Jews and Christians had any choice and could not live by the dhimma if they would choose?

          Given that there were class C citizens (if I remember well Zoroastrians and other pagans) which were hardly tolerated and came to extinct by means of conversion and genocide….

          However I don’t see how being “class B tolerated citizen” could be equal to “lasting peace”

          There is some countries/areas where Jews were never/hardly persecuted or submissed to class B during the entire history, such as China, India, Japan, USA, and few smaller ones, like .
          However there is no Arab Muslim country in which Jews were not persecuted and massacred every once a while.

          As of Leftists – who exactly they want to make peace with and on what conditions?
          Two main problems:
          1 – There is no singular Palestinian body to make peace with.
          2 – Right of Return. It will never be granted, it won’t ever be forsaken.
          People who insist on Israel making peace process/ceasing fire/whatever apparently are not understanding that until Palestinians come to nation-wide understanding that Israel is here to stay within adjusted 1967 borders there is no-one to make any agreements with.

          Violence is apparently necessary. You see, it’s very simple – all Hamas has to do to stop violence is stop violence. Completely. Including mortar fire and attempts to kidnap soldiers.
          Until than – violence could only be countered with greater violence. Your nick assumes that you should’ve known that and not claiming such nonsense.

          There is only one way to resolve this conflict – accept Israel’s right to exist within adjusted 1967 borders.
          The day Arabs will accept that there will be the peace.

          Reply to Comment
          • ‘However I don’t see how being “class B tolerated citizen” could be equal to “lasting peace”’ : Can you say West Bank occupation? Oh, you can’t–there is no occupation. And, in any case, if people would just do what you say everything would be wonderful!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Greg,

            There is no peace also. Probably due to the same reason – it takes two for tango, peace and occupation.

            Yeah, if people would do what I say that would be really wonderful. But not for all.

            Reply to Comment
      • LS

        I read the article by the person whom you describe as that “lousy history teacher” and she was writing from the perspective of someone who lives on a kibbutz in southern Israel, whose children have all done military service and who, by living on a kibbutz (and presumably through her work as a teacher) is closely connected to many young children.
        How about you? Is your daily life affected by missile attacks (or do you live elsewhere maybe not even in Israel.) If not, maybe you could try and understand why someone whose life is may think that the answer does not lie in endless rounds of tit-for-tat violence but through using non-violent means to finding a resolution. Ending Israel’s illegal occupation would be a good place to start!

        Reply to Comment
    4. Aaron Gross

      When attacks against Israeli civilians rise, Israelis usually choose what they believe to be security, not “risks for peace.” Israelis believe that responding to waves of rocket attacks with violence is good for security. They may be insane for thinking that, but that’s what they believe, and there’s no sign of their giving up that belief. After all, there will surely be a cease-fire after this operation, and a return to security.

      Leftists should acknowledge reality, for their own sake.

      Reply to Comment
      • Unless “waves of rocket attacks” are a response to zionist terror, have you never thought about that?

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          What a stupid question. Of course I’ve thought about that, quite a bit actually. But whether or not the Israeli attacks are a response to Israeli terrorism is beside the point of what Israelis ACTUALLY THINK AND BELIEVE ABOUT THE SITUATION.

          Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Nope, because it is nonsense.

          Reply to Comment
      • RichardL

        Their beliefs might indeed be described as “insane” or one might alternatively say “cruel” or even “sadistic”. But I would certainly call the following opinions psychopathic:”I think we should speak to the Israeli Arabs in the language they understand and admire – the language of force. If we act with strength on any crime they act, they will understand we show no forgiveness. Had we used this language from the start, they would have been more careful.”
        And ““There are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”

        The words are from Benzion Netanyahu of course. What chance for peace when such concepts of fanatical terror has been a formative influence on Israel’s Prime Minister? That’s a pretty nasty reality to face up to.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Of course there are no “Palestinians”.
          Although there is Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Druze, Palestinian Circassians and some others.

          Pretty much like there is no Egyptians or Marrokans but there is Egyptian Arabs, Jews and Copts or Morrocan Arabs, Jews and Berbers.

          By the way, Palestinians had chance to declare state at any given moment since 1948 it yet never were done until 1988.

          Can you coherently explain what took a nation 40 years to declare own state?

          Reply to Comment
          • History

            The answer to that is very simple: Do you realize how difficult it is to understand that your state has been taken from you? Palestinians took so long to declare statehood because they never accepted that their land had been stolen, that the holocaust refugees who they had welcomed with open arms had seized their land and massacred their citizens, and that above all their country was no longer a recognized state.

            No matter what your political alignment, you must have some empathy with that, for what can be more terrible than to lose your country?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            History,

            There never was an independent Palestinian State neither Palestinian People (until 1967 or so), so there is no way of claiming that a State (or part of it) was taken from Nation.

            Excuse that Palestinians never claimed state because some part of it was allegedly occupied is really laughable.

            There is no other known example in the history of human kind, where Nation REFUSES to declare Statehood because some part of it’s alleged territory is under enemy control.

            On the contrary – declaring state would make occupation de-jure, therefore making IDF presence in WB and Gaza illegal.

            I have no political alignment.

            All my empathy to the poor, displaced and oppressed almost everywhere Palestinian Arabs (and I’m not mocking) could not change the fact that no country was taken from a nation.

            It would be more correct to say that some of Arab Palestinians were forced to migrate to adjacent countries.

            Quiet a lot of things could be way more terrible than losing part of your county. I’d say when a host nation officially declares you class B or C citizen (like it was in Germany, Russia or Muslim countries) and you have nowhere else to go it is a bit more terrible.

            Still I am to have an explanation why Palestinian state was not declared for 40 years.

            Reply to Comment
          • History

            Your point about statehood stands, and nobody can deny the atrocities committed in the second world war.
            and yet.. if we are being completely frank, is it any better when the Israeli government claims equality an yet the Arabs are undeniably second class citizens (differentiated by army service)?

            As to forced migration, I argue that the term is too soft: these people lost their homes, their possessions. They were separated from their family, and they went to live in refugee camps (where, if you recall, they were massacred with Israel’s help).. Hardly “forced to migrate.”

            You claim to be politically neutral. So tell me, when the Palestinian authority pushes for peace, and hints that they might even be willing to compromise on the right of return, why is Israel’s response to launch a military offensive?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            History,

            Issue of Arab’s military service if way more complicated than you think.
            However it’s way beyond the scope of this topic.
            I’ll only notice that Arab Knesset Members STRONGLY oppose the very idea of such service – because it would lead to normalization.

            Let’s call it (partial) ethnic cleansing than.
            As long as “Nation” which loses “State” is not mentioned I don’t mind.

            Palestinian Authority *never* pushed for peace. You won’t be able to produce one single fact which would prove that any of Palestinian leaders during last 4 decades made any effort which would bring lasting peace.

            Mahmoud Abbas hinted what?
            http://www.alarabiya.com/news/articles/70/Abbas-clarifies-have-not-relinquished-Right-of-Re.html

            Abbas has no real power behind him – besides Israel and USA.
            Also, Hamas is at least as important of a player – and they certainly are not going to give up the RoR.

            Israel launched offensive in response to constant rocket fire from Gaza. It has nothing to do with worthless innuendos.

            Reply to Comment
    5. thank you again Mairav!

      Reply to Comment
    6. rsgengland

      The bubble burst in Tel-Aviv years ago.
      1929-1936-1948 -1967 – Intafada 1 – Intafada 2 – Lebanon 2006 – Gulf War 1991 . Take your pick , the list and datas are endless .
      Hamas Charter calls for the Eradication of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants and its replacement with a Sharia led Islamic State , with no space for outsiders (anyone different to them and their ideology)
      No space for diversity in their Islamic Paradise .

      Reply to Comment
    7. XYZ

      Amir Oren and others seem to forget that Tel Aviv and Gush Dan were the targets of numerous suicide bombings during the Oslo war of a decade ago, in addition to large attacks shortly after the Oslo “peace” agreements. Most Tel Avivians are well aware of the Arab-Israel conflict and that the weapons the Arab side uses changes from time to time. There is no “bubble” for Tel Avivians, just the hallucinatory “bubble” the so-called “Peace Camp” has been propagating for years that “peace is just around the corner if only Israel would make a few more concessions”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian

        Concessions ? what concessions ? From a group of foreigners who owned less than 7% of the land to a powerful state that controls 100% of the land murdering and looting freely…

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Palestinian,

          You are lying again.
          Jews were never foreigners to this land.

          Reply to Comment
          • History

            Trespasser,
            I don’t think that I can change your mind or the minds of the extremist Rightists that have put this country and the name of the Jewish people to shame.

            However, I do note that you do not object to ‘murdering and looting freely.’

            It would seem that there is so much evidence for this (and I refer you to the continuous violence of the settlers) that even you have conceded this point.

            Having conceded this point, and I congratulate you for what realism lies behind that concession, you will no doubt realize that looting and murdering are what we would call Terrorism.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            History,

            I’m not denying obvious neither making fictional claims.
            Unlike Palestinian, who calls Jews – foreigners in Judaea, or you for that matter, with the “Palestinian State”

            Would you care to tell at what stage of human history “terrorism” became illegal and unacceptable practice?

            Reply to Comment
    8. History

      Terrorism, unacceptable? who would have thought…

      I assume you are not serious.
      Terrorism, which includes murder, bombings and assassinations (like the one that sparked recent events), has become the favorite word of many governments, notably the Israeli gov’t.
      It is what your enemies do. What you do is self defense. Similarly, while ‘Hamas murders civilians’, the IDF causes ‘collateral damage’.
      As far as that goes, Israel’s entire argument is based on the prerequisite that Hamas is a terror organization, and yet I find it increasingly difficult to find evidence that Israel’s actions can be interpreted any differently.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        “…and yet I find it increasingly difficult to find evidence that Israel’s actions can be interpreted any differently.”

        Oh, there is one tiny but significant detail.
        Israel claims that it is willing to coexist with Hamas – under certain conditions.
        Hamas however claims that is won’t coexist with Israel under no conditions – or at least so is written in their charter.

        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        A good insight

        In a region that is unable to solve the problem of Kirkuk and decide whether it is Arab, Kurdish, or Turkic, the return of Palestinians to the Palestine of 1948 is as diabolic as it is naïve since it would never lead to peace and will never put an end to the suffering of Palestinians.
        http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2012/11/06/247926.html

        Reply to Comment
    9. Nomi

      if only…we could gather a group of visionary Israeli and Palestinian women in one conference room and let them plan their vision for a fair and peaceful future.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        A lot of paper, pastries and coffee would be wasted with zero viable results.

        Not any cook is able to run the country.

        Reply to Comment
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