Monday, January 26, 2009

Israel's Lonesome Doves

This is a video I produced for TIME, about the small group of people in Israel who opposed the war in Gaza. It was refreshing for me to do this story and see that not everybody here is part of the monolithic consensus that wanted to steamroll Gaza.

The question I would like to pose is: Are these "doves" wise or naive?

Watch Video Here: Israel's Lonesome Doves


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ramallah Protest Story

On the last Friday of the Gaza War, I attended a protest in Ramallah. Despite agreeing that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza, the Palestinians cannot agree on much anything else. The factions are as divided as ever and need some real reconciliation. The next step is a Palestinian unity government that represents all Palestinians. Then some reconciliation with Israel. Once they do that, Israel will have no excuse but to begin real negotiations.

To get even farther ahead of ourselves, check out this op-ed by Thomas Friedman: This is Not a Test

This is the piece I made for Time.com with Tim McGirk on the demonstration: Protesting Gaza, Carefully, in the West Bank


One thing that I didn't catch on camera was a scene that reminded me of the first and second intifadahs. As we were leaving through Qalandia Checkpoint, a mob of about a hundred Palestinian kids were throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. I saw a flipped over garbage bin that had been set on fire. Tear gas streaked through the air and shots rang out from the direction of the soldiers, quickly dispersing the young boys.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rocket Free Day in Sderot

It was a surreal day in Sderot the other day. No red alerts, no rockets, no hysteria. The place now just feels like a ghost town. It will take these traumatized people a long time before they feel brave enough to crawl out of their turtle shells. Of course this ceasefire is like a band aid covering up a gunshot wound, and it is only a matter of time before the blood spills again.

Sorry to ruin the mood after Obama's big day, but maybe he can help Israel and Hamas unclench their fists :)

Here's the video I shot about Sderot after the ceasefire

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama




Dear President Obama,

I will keep this short and sweet, because you've got a long to-do-list. You should know that last night I had a small get-together to mark the occasion of your inauguration. I think this was the only such event of its kind in the city of Jerusalem. An Israeli Army radio journalist came to document the event and interview us afterwords. We drank a cheap Israeli beer called Goldstar, ate Doritos, and had a nice evening overall. (Next time you're in town look me up, and I'll take you out for a Goldstar on me.)

The speech didn't matter to me as much as the pictures. To see a you, a black man take the oath of office as President of the United States was not something I expected to see in my lifetime. You are proof that cynics are sometimes wrong. You are also proof that Martin Luther King was probably right when he said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice."

In a long list of failed policies, I think that Bush's ostracism of the Muslim world was the most devastating. That Tuesday in September of 2001 initiated America's greatest challenge since WWII. Bush's presidency, our first chance at meeting that challenge, went awfully wrong. We took the world's sympathy for granted by invading a Muslim country without any international support or moral conviction. And then after destroying the country and killing thousands of people, there was no plan on how to stabilize it. Confusion was created as to who was the bigger terrorist, our President Bush or Osama Bin Laden.

My favorite line from your speech referred to how you will try and correct this particular failure:

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” you said. “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history — but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

I am part of the small minority of Americans in Israel who voted for you. I didn't vote for you because you are black. I voted for you because you were the most exceptional candidate for the world's most exceptional job. The fact that you were elected despite your skin color has restored my faith in the idea of America and inspired billions. But now the love-in is over. It is Day 1. Time to get to work. Be fair, be tough, be bold, and you will change the horrid reality here in the Middle East. More than anything I beg you to please end the world's addiction to oil. Not only does it fuel cars and planes but it fuels most of the wars in this region. Think clean, renewable energy. It will make the planet cooler (temperature-wise), and also stimulate jobs and forge a shining new industry in America. We created this global recession, but we can also lead the world out of it. I believe that clean energy is the key to continued American hegemony. More importantly, it will make American values enviable and emulated once again.

Good Luck Mr. President.

Genuinely,

Jaron

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Check out this Half-Hour Special on Current TV

A couple of my pieces from Southern Israel (Sderot) are shown in this Gaza special which aired on Current TV Sunday night. They also showed the work of my Gazan colleague, Zouheir Al-Najjar. Zouheir gets incredible access to the underground tunnels near Rafah, as well as the blindfold treatment as he gets to see how Qassam rockets are made.

Here's the link

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Qassam Hunter

My report on the Qassam Hunter of Shaar Hanegev is now viewable online on Time.com.

Here's a link: Rocket Hunter

Check it out and let me know what you think.




PS. His real name is Yoav Peled

Friday, January 02, 2009

Sorry Blog

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry for neglecting you my sweet little blog. I have been in a warzone for the past 4 days and have just now returned to a place of relative safety. I assure you my next post will be awesome and make you feel all warm and tingly. I'm just exhausted and have two stories to edit. I hope you can understand.

Genuinely,

Jaron

PS. War sucks