22 June 2007

Down to Business

Before I move on to other, more or less important things, I wanted to post a link here to a very poignant Q&A session that I found on NY Times.com.

Although I know that it's very interesting coming here and reading my blog about life in Israel (when I get around to posting, of course), you may also wonder what in the world is going on in Iraq. Of course, you could flip on the TV or radio or thumb through a newspaper and read about the 60 or 85 or 130 people killed yesterday, last week, etc.

But what is daily life really like? What is it like having to run daily errands like buying milk and bread, while worrying about whether there will be a bombing or mortar attack at the exact moment that you decided to go to the market? How are normal, average Iraqis, who want what you and I want - to go to school/work, have a family and enjoy time with friends - adapting?

This article is an ongoing Q&A session with some NY Times reporters in Iraq - real people, involved and informed first-hand, answering real people's questions.

So...what's going on here?
I think most of the people who read this blog (my immediate family) know very well what I have been up to, but just in case someone outside of this well-worn circle of communication finds his or her way over here and is wondering what has become of me...I must entertain and keep them well-informed.

Almost a week ago, I moved out of my little, secluded, comfortable ulpan in Jerusalem, and moved into an apartment in Tel Aviv. I am working with a company called IDEX Online, an online diamond trading marketplace/news site/magazine within the Diamond Exchange. Very nice job, superbly nice people; I am learning more and more every day, which makes the job more and more interesting every day.
Because really, what do I care about diamonds? What do I care about gem and jewelry markets and trade shows? NOTHING. But seriously, now that I have a vested interest in learning more and becoming a well-read member of the team, this stuff matters a lot more to me.

Oh yeah. I forgot. I am working as a writer/journalist/copy editor, etc. etc. If you look on the website, you might find something I have written. Most of it has been edited by me, which I guess is unfortunate if you find any mistakes.

And that's all I will say about IDEX at the moment, since, apparently my wonderful coworkers got the word that I have a blog and just might read it. Hi guys!!

That's all I will say in general, for now. I am going to try and do some laundry at the self-service laundromat ten blocks down the street, go to the beach and enjoy my Friday.

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14 June 2007

Editorial Excerpt on Gaza

Hamas has completed its total takeover of Gaza. So, what? I pulled this from an editorial on YNet News (Yedioth Aharanot Online)

Fatah has collapsed in the Gaza Strip; it's gone completely under. Gaza has turned into a jungle. Everyone is fighting each other. The political conflict between Fatah and Hamas has turned into a clan war, a war between brothers. Scores have been opened that can't be settled, and vendettas are threatening to lead Gaza to terrible anarchy. The Palestinians are destroying their future with their own hands.

Within this chaos the state of Hamastan is being created upon the ruins of the Palestinian entity. Fatah is barely able to hold on to some key positions, yet it is clear that the new Hamas reality in Gaza has reached the point of no return. There is no one to stop it.

The US and Israel as well would be deluding themselves by thinking that Mahmoud Abbas and his government can be salvaged. That day has passed, and Abbas' leadership has nothing left to say. Abbas is detached from reality; he is living in the past, ignoring the present and incapable of planning the future. He is still entertaining the hope that he could mend the fences and therefore has still not ordered his forces in Gaza to fight back.

I also encourage you to check out this page: The Good Neighbors Blog, if not periodically, at least now. It's a consortium of bloggers (normal people putting their thoughts and observations on the page for you to see) from all over the region: Egypt, Jordan, West Bank, Lebanon, Iran and, of course, Israel. It's a very intriguing source of real, personal information, stuff that you would never find on the evening news.

Everyone here is wondering what's going to happen. Hamas controlling Gaza can't be a good thing - I can't think of anything good that can come of it, except maybe Egypt going in and 'taking care of things' (that way Israel wouldn't have to deal with the bad PR it receives every time it tries to protect its citizens and secure its borders). So, I will try to keep you updated as much as I can.
I'm going to get a pot and pan today from a Christian organization that gives basic stuff to new immigrants like me. This is how poor I am. I can't even buy a pot. Hmpf!

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Major Happenings

If you have been following the news lately or have even glanced at a newspaper, you've probably heard something about Hamas and Gaza.
You're right to sit up and pay close attention, but let me say now that there's no need to worry about me (at least not because of Hamas).
Today, Hamas consolidated its near complete control of Gaza. Until today, the political/military organization was involved in a unity government with Fatah, the remnant organization from the Yasser Arafat days (indeed, Arafat was the leader of the terrorist organization; today, they've moved closer to politics and not so much of terrorism, although this is debatable).
The unity government was formed between Fatah (of which Abbas is the head) and Hamas after Hamas was elected to head of the government.
Today, after Hamas seized Fatah's main seat of power in Gaza, the headquarters of the Preventative Security Forces and the intelligence services, killing dozens of people in the process, President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Prime Minister Haniyeh (the head of Hamas) and dissolved the government, calling for new elections.
There are some people, many of whom seem very well informed, who see this as a very clear sign of things to come. It is indeed momentous, and only time will tell what will actually be.
I don't know how much has been reported on this in the Western media, and I am not too aware of the Israeli media discussions and discourse, but apparently things are beginning to look a lot like they did before 1967.
It is being proposed that, instead of creating a 'Palestinian state' on the West Bank and Gaza, the area of the West Bank will be returned to Jordanian control, Gaza to Egyptian (if they want it or can handle it. I personally would say 'good riddance!').
Jordan has, after all a huge percentage of Palestinians and would probably do a much better job with health care and education. Maybe Queen Noor can do something; I don't know.
Keep an eye out for this....it has HUGE implications for the region, including life here in Israel.
All of that said, I am getting along quite nicely with my new job and my new apartment (more on that later). I am a real, authentic new immigrant - poor, penniless, destitute, but so happy that everything is working out...perfectly.

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