Blogging a war


If there was ever a subject for which there’s no upside for a news blogger, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is it. People have, naturally, strong beliefs on the issue and will detect sympathy for the other side’s cause if things aren’t written exactly as they expect.

Israel’s attacks on Gaza over the weekend have again sparked the reactions on both sides of the issue that surprise no one and from the safety of the News Cut cubicle, I’m in no position to say what version of the truth is closest to the truth. (Programming note: Talk of the Nation to delve into the issue in today’s first hour.)

Instead, I’m reading blogs, trying to get a better feel for what life is like for people in the region.

Mona El-Farra, a Red Crescent physician, for example, wrote a piece on Christmas Eve, on the blog From Gaza, With Love. El-Farra wrote from the UK, where El-Farra’s daughter is marooned after leaving to visit the UK and was not allowed to return to Gaza. But even a hopeful Christmas Eve post became a forum for accusations of insults past and present.

Laila El-Haddad, a journalist who writes the blog Raising Yousuf and Noor: diary of a Palestinian mother, is trying to keep in touch with her family back home from her home in North Carolina.

A little later I called my mother, only to hear her crying on the phone. “The planes are overhead” she cried “the planes are overhead”. I tried to calm her down- planes overhead mean the “target” is further away. But in such moments of intense fear, there is no room for rationality and logic.

Sameh A. Habeeb, who describes himself as a photojournalist & peace activist, writes the blog, Gaza Strip – The Untold Story. He wrote yesterday that his news updates have been sporadic because of limited access to the Internet. A commenter points out that in all of his writing, Habeeb did not mention rocket attacks on Israel.

David Bogner, author of treppenwitz picks up the theme:

Unlike Hamas, which has been perpetrating ongoing war crimes against Israel by deliberately targeting civilian population centers with kassams, ketyushas and mortars (even as recently as ten minutes ago!), Israel has made an Herculean effort to make sure that only military targets are hit. Heck, we’re even taking their wounded over the border and treating them in Israeli hospitals! Try that in the other direction and see if anyone comes back alive!

Chayyei Sarah, described as “an Orthodox Jewish thirty-something is living,playing, writing, and dating in Jerusalem,” said it had to be.

Yesterday I was at the home of my friends C and M, and we heard planes overhead. M went to the window and said “looks like we’re about to attack somebody. Those were military planes, and they weren’t doing training.” There was a pause, and C pointed out “you know things are very bad when even Meretz [a far-left political party that is very into making peace with the Palestinians] say that we have to take military action.”

The blog Israelicool is live-blogging the war, saying 60 rockets have been fired into Israel today.

All in all, a glance at the blogs reveals what most people already knew — there’s no hope of any solution to the conflict anytime soon.

(Photo: Getty Images)