Sunday, July 30, 2006

posted by Ofer

The Bear

A man was walking in a forest and came across a sleeping bear. The bear was laying on its back with its feet in the air and its head tilted backwards. The bear looked cute and clumsy and harmless, so the man took a feather and started tickling the bear's nose. The bear awoke and tore the man's arms out of their sockets. So the man, bleeding heavily and in agonizing pain, asked the bear "Why did you rip my arms out?". The bear replied "Well, because I'm a bear".

I have a question for my neighbors to the north: You knew that Israel is a bear. You saw how we handled the Palestinians when they abducted our soldier. You saw how quickly we violated Syrian airspace and flew over Assad's palace. You knew that in '67 and in '73 we didn't fight-off 4 different armies, attacking us simultaniously, by being gentle. You knew that we bombed the Iraqi reactor. You've heard what our generals have to say about civilian casualties in Palestine. You knew perfectly well that Israel is a bear. For one minute put aside the question of why we are this way and answer me this: Why, in gods name, did you let Nasrallah tickle our nose ?


Blogger Maddy said...


thank you for posting a calm explanation on Zena's web site. Thank you for not adding to her pain. She is living in Beirut under fire and I imagine is very vulnerable at this moment.

It is Israeli's like you, who can explain in clear english why Israel feels the way it does, that can only help.

Thank you Ofer, I will be back.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Elon said...

Ofer, I trust you ment gentle, not gentile.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...


Your story of the Bear reminds me of a cartoon I saw following 911. It was a drawing of a very large dragon curled up asleep. Standing beside the dragon’s head was a tiny Arab figure holding a large club. The comment under the cartoon said "in the name of Allah".

What would the comment under the man with no arms say?

2:11 AM  
Blogger Ofer said...

Hi Maddy,

A dragon often takes the role of the villain. A dragon is usually evil. A bear, on the other hand, is just a bear. A bear is not evil and has no evil in him. Its just his natural instinct to respond aggressively and to overreact to provocation. The reason why Israel overreacts this way is a question for historians, and is irrelevant at this point in time. The thing I am protesting against is the false Lebanese "surprise" at the disproportionate response of Israel. What surprise ? We always react this way. The Lebanese had every clue to anticipate Israel's reaction, and nevertheless let Hizballah arm itself to its teeth and provoke Israel as they did. Yet, the Lebanese don't take any responsibility for their carelessness.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Ofer, you seem very unaware of the wider agenda to what is going on.

The soldiers were captured within Lebanon, not within Israel. It was deliberate provocation, designed to provoke a war that actually has nothing to do with the capture of the soldiers and everything to do with an American/Israeli plan that has been hatching for years, involving the expansion of Israel and the eradication of any regimes hostile to that idea.

The CIA oppose the plans but have been effectively neutered in favour of a small cabal of neo-cons who are now directing US foreign policy.

Do you agree with the aim of establishing a greater Israel, at the cost of countless civilian lives in Lebanon, Syria and Iran?

Or do you think there could have been some better way forward?

Are you even aware that this has been the plan all along?

12:23 PM  
Blogger Ofer said...

My dear Sarah,

You have no idea what you are talking about. You have bought into an outrageous conspiracy theory which has nothing to do with reality. You might have well said that this war was started by aliens from mars. Please, let me tell you the facts as they are:

1. The CIA and US foreign policy are irrelevant. Israel is not a puppet in the hands of the Americans. The Americans have an enormous influence, but not a total control, over Israel. The decision to retaliate was pure Israeli.

2. There is no desire for a greater Israel. The policy of settling the Palestinian territories was an empirialistic mistake, which is currently backed only by a small minority within Israel. Israel has no desire to expand its boarders. The currently occupied territories (Golan, West Bank) are merely kept for leverage in a future peace negotiation, and will hopefully be returned.

3. The soldiers were certainly not abducted from Lebanese soil. It was a peaceful boarder patrol on an Israeli road, inside the boarders of Israel. The terrorists cut a hole in the fence to get through - what more proof do you need ?

4. Israel is the only country in the world which other countries want "erased form the map". Therefore, we have an honest need to protect ourselves. We can argue about the effectiveness and the morality of our techniques, but not about our motives, which are 100% pure.

5. Israel's army indeed planned for a war with Lebanon, just as the French army has contingency plans to invade Belgium. That's what a responsible army does when not at war: it plans and it trains, preparing for the day when the plans will be put into effect. This certainly does not mean that we were going to attack Lebanon anyway. Do not get confused: the reason that Israel went to war was because it was provoked. If Israel were not attacked, it would not have invaded Lebanon as it did.

6. You probably get your information from unreliable sources, and this confuses you and clouds your judgement. Personally, I am an officer in the IDF reserves, I am an insider, I have first hand knowledge. And I'm telling you that your facts are dead wrong. Either you accuse me personally of being a liar (and then, what's the point in reading my blog) or you take my word for it.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Maddy said...

G'day Ofer,

Wouldn't the comment under the Bear be a statement made by the man about to have his arms ripped off?

I was interested to know what you thought the man could possibly be thinking as he was about to annoy the sleeping bear.

I know why the Bear ripped the man’s arms off, he was annoyed.

Thank you, once again, for your educated answer to Sarah's misinformed statement.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Ofer said...

Hi Maddy,

Sorry, I can't think of a short one-liner which adequately summarizes the reason Hizbullah had for provoking us, as they did.

I'd probably make a poor cartoonist.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...


1. The neo-cons all have close ties with Israel. They have enormous influence over US foreign policy right now. Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen - look them up yourself. Also, without US financial help to the tune of billions of dollars yearly, Israel would simply not be able to afford what it is doing right now.

Retaliation? I don't think so:

More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign: The first week concentrated on destroying Hezbollah's heavier long-range missiles, bombing its command-and-control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries. In the second week, the focus shifted to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores. In the third week, ground forces in large numbers would be introduced, but only in order to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions as the campaign unfolded. There was no plan, according to this scenario, to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.'-

Matthew Kalman, July 21st.

And this:

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

...He said it with reproach--with disbelief, almost--at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. ...I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."

Of course, this wholly consistent with the US Neocons' master plan, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," published in August 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).. -

General Wesley Clark.

The question of a greater Israel:

Tom Paine wrote on May 31st 2006:

'Last week Olmert spoke to a joint session of Congress during his U.S. visit, and the transcript shows that he was interrupted no less than 39 times by applause. According to one report, he received fully 16 standing ovations.

Olmert praised the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, rammed through Congress by a bi-partisan coalition with only 37 nay votes earlier this month. That’s the measure that not only condemns Hamas, but would impose draconian sanctions on the Palestinians and even bar Abbas from visiting the United States.

Olmert quoted the Bible (2 Samuel) to justify Israel’s policies, pitching that appeal to the Christian-Zionist right that sees Israel as the harbinger of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. Claiming that the Palestinians apparently don’t want to talk peace, Israel will impose its own peace on them, he said. “Israel will seek other alternatives to promote our future and the prospects of hope in the Middle East,” warned Olmert.

If implemented, Olmert’s “convergence” plan will realize the Israeli right’s fondest wish: the formal establishment of a Greater Israel and the neutering of Palestinian statehood. By denying the Palestinians any part of Jerusalem, by creating a patchwork of Bantustans in Gaza and the West Bank, by preempting any Palestinian claim to their refugees’ “right of return,” Israel will plant the seeds for future conflicts, as no Palestinians will accept such a solution.'

The soldiers were kidnapped on Lebanese soil in a place called Aitaa al-Chaab, about 15 km within the Lebanese border. This was reported on July 7th by at least 9 different news agencies including Yahoo News, the Jerusalem Post itself on July 12th:

the Hindustan Times, Forbes, msnbc news...

Later mysteriously morphed into an account that told of the snatch as taking place in Israel.

Make of that what you will.

Check thoroughly your sources for your no doubt sincerely held belief that the Arab countries all 'want to wipe Israel off the map'. Israeli children are brainwashed with this belief from birth. Even the Ahmadinejad's words were twisted from 'wanting the collapse of the Israeli regime' to wanting the end of Israel - two very different concepts. He likened the end of the regime to the end of Soviet rule - strange analogy to use as Russia is still there - just under a different regime.

The vast majority of Arabs accept Israel as a fait accompli - they would just like to see a Palestinian homeland with its own secure borders.

You still persist with the ridiculous belief that Israel is now decimating southern Lebanon and parts of Beirut, killing up to 600 citizens - because 2 of their soldiers were kidnapped, citing 'sleeping bears' and other such nonsense. You think America and the UK didn't know this was going to happen? Really? And you don't believe it's part of a wider plan to change the regimes of Syria and Iran by force no matter how many have to die in the process?

I'm not calling you a liar - you are telling what you know, so as far as you are concerned you are telling the truth. But you're not being told the whole truth, because this plan is being activated by stealth. I wish it weren't so, but I'm afraid it is, and unless anybody is successful in stopping them, a wider war is on the cards, with tragic, unforseeable consequences.

And the more people who know this, the better.

I see you, like everybody across the world, are sad about the deaths this morning of all those innocent women and children. But the other day you said this:

'...Our government is faced with an almost impossible choice: either stop our attacks and allow Hizbullah to continue terrorizing us, or continue fighting Hizbullah at the expense of more innocent Lebanese casualties. Its a very difficult choice to make, both alternatives are bad, and the only thing to do is to choose the lesser of the two evils. The government of Israel is forced to choose the alternative which favors Israelis over Lebanese.'

And this, Ofer, is what happens. I'm telling you no good can come out of this horrendous violence - it will only breed more - and so it goes on. It has to stop, and both sides have to talk.

You didn't comment on the report that a meeting to try and implement a peace initiative by Palestinian and Israeli leaders was disrupted at the last minute by the Shin Bet security service - just before this war was launched.

Surely any avenue leading to peace should be explored?

But no, the extreme right in Israeli doesn't want any peace with the Palestinians. Peace is an idea whose time has come and by god you all need it. So why prevent that meeting?


11:36 PM  
Blogger howie said...

Wow Sarah-

You are into conspiracy theories ain't you.

There is a joke about Freud. He was giving a lecture and made many references to phallic symobols and phallic jealousy.

One wiseguy in the audience says "hey Sigmeud...if all this stuff is phallic jealousy..what is that cigar in your mouth then".

Freud took out the stoogie and say" my friend...sometimes a cigar is just a cigar".

To the people of Lebanon (all three of you who read this blog.) there is NO Greater Israel plan and only a nutty few support the idea (yes the Bible talks of an Israel from the Euphrates to the "Sea" but also talks of one from Dan to Beersheva).
I don't know one Israel that wants to hurt any Lebanese, aside from those that desire to hurt us.
We would GRANDLY prefer peace. Ofer would know better than me since I am married to an Israel and only lived there for a time, but I recall many songs that idolize and romantize the idea of visiting (not conquering) Damascus etc.
If people didn't constantly threaten, betray, kidnap and murder us...there would be NO WAR. But THINK...12,000 katusyahs. Do you think these are military or defense weapons. They are only good for what they are being used for TERROR.

Terror stops...we leave you alone. You want peace...come make peace...come and be brave enough to try to make peace...or are you afraid of what became of Sadat?

5:30 AM  
Blogger Ofer said...


I don't know where you get your information, but what makes you think that I am in the dark whereas you know everything ? I live here, I talk to people, I have Palestinian friends, I had Lebanese friends when I was younger, and I'm probably more familiar with the history of the middle east than you are. What makes you believe that you know so much better ?

To the point:

Planning - Of course this attack was planned ahead of time. Israel has contingency plans to attack Syria, Iran and even Egypt and Jordan. The American army has plans to attack Mexico and Canada. The french army has plans to invade Belgium. That's what an army does, it plans and it trains and it prepares for war. There is no secret here. Another thing that an army does is it hopes and prays that it will never need to put its plans into effect. Israel would not have gone to war if it had not been for Hizballah's provocation.

Your Theories about Greater Israel: forget the extreme right-wing. Every country has its crazies. They are irrelevant. You are also confusing two very different issues: with the Palestinians there is indeed a debate within Israel regarding the permanent boarder. There are no well-defined boarders with Palestine, only cease-fire lines, and that's why there is a legitimate discussion. With Lebanon there is no such discussion, since the French and the British already closed this issue in the 1916 Sykes-Pico treaty. Israel does not want to turn Lebanon into a part of Israel.

The Soldiers were Abducted 15km Inside Lebanon. That's just absurd. Two Israeli Jeeps with reserves soldiers do not venture by themselves into Lebanon. If a secret commando mission were taking place inside Lebanon, the IDF would use its elite units, not reservists. They would have air support, which this patrol did not have (it took the IDF a whole hour to realize that soldiers were abducted). It was clearly a routine boarder patrol on the road adjacent to the electronic fence.

Honestly, where do you get your information ?

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

the Jerusalem Post itself on July 12th:

You say the idea the soldiers were snatched inside Lebanon is absurd - but not absurd enough for the Jerusalem Post to report it.

I certainly don't think don't think I know everything and you know nothing, and I'm sorry if this is how I come across. But to have an idea of a wider picture to all this, you do need to check out Richard Perle, David Wurmser, Michael Ledeen and co. Read them, check out what they're up to. They are not insignificant figures - in fact they wield enormous influence and power.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

And if anyone is still in doubt that figures in the US administration are directing current events:

in the Jerusalem Post:

'Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.'

This isn't 'conspiracy theory' - it's out in the open.

I found an interview with Richard Perle from just before the Iraq war. His predictions of how it would all go were so way out it's a total mystery why anyone would want to carry on taking his advice. But they do.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Elad said...

Sarah, if you need another voice to tell you: you're crazy.
It's darn annoying to hear such nonsense when my relatives are being bombarded in Naharia by Hezbollah missiles sent to kill, and millions of people like yourself think Israel manuevered for this stupid situation.

Here's another conspiracy for you: Iran didn't want the G8 convention to decide on sanctions due to its nuclear arms race (meant to "wipe israel off the map"). So it ordered its friends in Lebanon to provoke Israel and divert the attention. Guess what, it worked.

10:50 PM  
Blogger ran said...

elad and ofer,
I actually generally agree with sarah. I would maybe drop the conspiracy tone... (I must admit I can understand where that is coming from after Bush's administration lied to the public about the purpose and justification of the war in Iraq). Israel planned this operation. The army had everything ready (BTW ofer, I'm not sure france has contingency plans against belgium, but this is hard to tell). And it was not something they planned because they had too much time to waist. I believe it was a plan they really wanted to act upon because they concieved hizbullah as a real threat (they were right). And they have a lot of weight in Israeli policy making. You know that. Anyway, even if you don't agree it would have been carried out anyway, you surely agree that the operation was not a response to the abduction incident. This was only an excuse (a good one generally). The operation is meant to change the strategic situation in the region - to weaken hizbullaha as a military organization with legitimacy.
I think many of the operations of the IDF in the last years came about when the army and the government had joint interests: the army, who mainly looks at things militarily, feels that there are operations needed but waits for the right time, and the government who has to show the public (mainly the center and right wing) that it is active and strong. when olmert needed to show he is not a whimp, halutz was more than happy to propose the operation.
I don't think this is a wise way to determine your actions and policy. It sounds very similiar to what happens on the palestinian side. They could have had a state long ago. We could have had peace.

1:27 PM  

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