The war was a very dramatic event. Its deadly cost was terrible. In Israel, more than 150 people were killed during the conflict. In Lebanon, the numbers pass the 1000 mark. In addition, lots of people were severely wounded, and their lives are destroyed. Also the economic damage is devestating, and it will probably take a long time to estimate it. I doubt that the Israelis that were damaged will be compensated. And the Lebanese refugees? The chance is lower.
The ceasefire that began Monday morning seems to hold. 3 and half days after it was declared, the dispopulated north of Israel came back to life. Even the more militant people of the north cannot hide their sigh of relief. In Lebanon, refugees jammed the roads heading south, wanting to get back home, even if it is only a pile of rubble.
What’s next? Where do we go from here?
Yesterday, I’ve been at a meeting in the Peace Now offices. As I previously wrote, I’ve been just one week ago to a demonstration against the war, that was organized by Peace Now. There, someone walked around and collected details from possible activists. I wrote mine, so I soon got an invitation to this meeting.
The meeting was a discussion about what the organization should do. Peace Now is an ideological movement, but is always connected to actual affairs. Of course, it is much easier to react to something that is going on now, than to push your own agenda. It was easier taking a stand against the war (well, only in its last days) or supporting Sharon’s disengagement plan last summer. Currently, there is a vacuum or blackout. Nobody knows what exactly happened. There are different explanations of what happened, and should have been done. Talks about the future aren’t really heard. There were 7 participants and about 8 or 9 opinions. That’s how it is with Jews. Some said that the Palestinian problem should be brought back to life, some said that peace with Syria should head the agenda, some said both. I still don’t know what Peace Now should do. I guess the events will dictate the agenda.
An interesting idea was raised by a veteran Israeli blogger Ofernicus. I like reading his posts and especially his jokes (In Hebrew). Ofernicus, aka Ofer Lando, is a right wing voter, quite far from my left wing stand. A few days ago, he wrote a letter to Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, calling her to start a peace initiative with Lebanon. I commented doubtful thoughts to his (Hebrew)Â post, but wished him luck.
I don’t want to write these doubts again in English. I haven’t changed my mind completely. I still think that there would be lots of problems on the Lebanese side. On the other hand, I became enthusiastic about the initiative.Â Making the initiative itself is great. Its nice that people promote what they think, and not just think or whine about it. Its also for a very good cause.
Ofer and his friend Eliram, took an extra step. They opened the Peace between Lebanon and Israel blog in English. This is somewhat similar to Ingrid’s Blogger Round Table which I read regularily with great interest. The difference is that the new blog focuses on one issue: bringing peace between Israel and Lebanon. The blog’s writers are currently only Ofer and Eliram. They are trying to recruit Lebanese bloggers, as well as other, Â to contribute their as well.
I’m putting my skeptical thoughts away, and changing them with optimistic and hopeful ones. It might be naive, but I don’t mind.
I wish them luck and success.