Prime Minister of Israel

I have been thinking of you. As I was just listening to music, I even changed this song’s meaning, it was suddenly about you.
No one
no one
no one
can get in the way of what I’m feeling for you

So what am I feeling for you? I feel disbelief. When I search for reasons to consciously take the risk of having hundreds of children killed, without there being anything good weighing up for the bad, I cannot find them. You have tried this before; killing children did not protect your children.

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What am I feeling for you? Only you can get in the way of what I am feeling for you. I feel afraid. Afraid of a human being so cold that he does not hesitate in continuing attacks that so far have killed around 1000 civilians. Afraid of a human being who inflicts fear and hatred, who dehumanises others in order to legitimise his own immoral decisions. I am feeling that what I see resembles a machine that repeats itself over and over again without being touched by the most horrible details imaginable. I know you are not made of stone, where is that part of you which is not? I am not used to seeing and listening to people who do not blink when hearing about a whole family being bombed to pieces, a little boy losing all of his siblings, his despair so huge there is no way anyone can even get a glimpse of what he is feeling. The boy was a Palestinian, and was not worth a blink. Had you blinked, you could have saved the next one. Had you blinked, you would have said; enough now. We have to stop now.

Do you know, Mr. Prime Minister, that trauma like that will damage all these children for life? Those who did not die, those who did not get physically hurt, also heard and saw unspeakable things.
I hear you, I read your tweets about Hamas. Yes, Israelis too have felt and feel unsafe. The attacks on Israel have to stop. There must be peace.
Do you think you will achieve peace now? Israeli bombs have killed more children than it has militants. Israeli bombs have hit hospitals, a UN school, entire neighbourhoods, they have annihilated entire families. They killed four children playing on the beach. I will not tell you what NGOs like Amnesty International, Save the Children, Norwegian Church Aid, Unicef, Norwegian Refugee Council have uttered on your war on children; you know very well yourself that in Gaza no one is safe. Still, they are kept there, as in prison, with nowhere to go. Still, you order the bombs to fall.

No one
no one
no one
can get in the way of what I’m feeling for you

Please stop now. Please stop. Every second counts. One more second might result in one more dead child.
Have you lost your humanity, is there only stone?
The Palestinians love their children too.

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Forvirrende av Ottosen om Israel

“Det blir ikke fred selv om Israel avslutter okkupasjonen», skriver informasjonsleder i Misjonssambandet, Espen Ottosen, i Aftenposten den 17. juli.

Nei, veien til fred er lang. Langvarige konflikter er spesielt vanskelige å løse, og denne bærer med seg så mye lidelse, sorg og hat at knapt skyggen av lyset i enden av tunnelen kan skimtes. Derfor er det verste som kan skje for framtidig fred at Israel igjen angriper fullstendig uproporsjonalt på en smal, tettbefolket stripe der innbyggerne ikke slipper ut.

Menneskene på Gazastripen er i Israels makt. Gazas folk, med alle sine tapte familiemedlemmer, sine skadde, etter at hele nabolag er bombet sønder og sammen, står igjen enda mer traumatisert enn før, noe som skaper grobunn for nytt hat, mer vold. Spørsmålene vi alle burde stille oss er: Hvilke handlinger fremmer fred? Hvilke handlinger motarbeider fred? Ottosen omgår disse ved å fastslå at det ikke kunne blitt fred her og nå om Israel avsluttet okkupasjonen. Her begynner min forvirring. Betyr det at Israels eneste alternativ her og nå er bomber som først og fremst treffer sivile? Ottosen spør, når jeg fordømmer angrepene: «(..) hva er svaret? Når rakettene regner?»

Israels svar er å bryte internasjonal humanitær lov gang på gang. FN har vedtatt en gjennomgang, det snakkes om folkemord. «Det kan virke som Israel overdriver sin reaksjonsform (..)», medgår selv Ottosen i Aftenposten.
«Det kan virke som». Over 200 barn er drept. Ottosen skriver også at enkelthistorier om overtramp ikke gir sikre svar. Mener han for eksempel enkelthistorien om Fathi (4), som mistet sine tre søsken i angrepet på en FN-skole? Eller kanskje historien om fire barn som ble bombet til døde mens de lekte på stranda? Ottosen syns det kan «virke som» Israel overdriver, men han er usikker på mye. Han “vet ikke sikkert” om Israel har gått for langt, som Sidsel Wold påpekte på twitter 22.07. Noe må gjøres for stanse økende raketter (mot Israel) som blir bedre og bedre, svarer han meg, også på twitter. Ottosens budskap framstår utydelig og forvirrende. Han hevder at han ikke forsvarer Israels angrep, men bruker likevel mye tid på å forsvare Israel og få fram at dødsfallene i Gaza ikke kun er Israels ansvar.

Hamas’ drap på sivile er Hamas’ ansvar. Når Hamas bruker menneskelige skjold, er dette også Hamas’ ansvar. Men når Israel bomber sykehus, tilfluktsrom eller et helt nabolag fordi det kanskje finnes Hamas-medlemmer eller –sympatisører der, er de døde sivile helt og fullt Israels ansvar. Når Israel bomber hvileløst til mer enn 200 barn dør, er det Israels ansvar.

Ottosens «Hva er svaret?» som om Israels bomber er eneste løsning, henger dårlig sammen med kristendommens budskap slik flertallet kristne forstår Det nye testamentet. Ottosen tilhører den konservative «bibeltro» gruppen, den som Tomm Kristiansen ganske riktig påpeker på NRK Ytring den 26.07, tilhører mindretallet kristne. Ottosen er ikke blant de mest bastante blant de «bibeltro», men hans uklare budskap skaper forvirring og kan i verste fall gi hans tilhengere en unnskyldning for likegyldighet overfor det som ikke lenger kan kalles noe annet enn en massakre. Både Gazas og Israels barn trenger Ottosens tydelighet, for disse angrepene resulterer kun i død, hat og dårligere utsikter for fred.

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Er det de mest konservative kristne som er mest bibeltro? I en tolkning av Jesu lignelse om den barmhjertige samaritan lever samaritanen, i følge Asbjørn Aarnes i Aftenposten den 19.10.11, seg inn i i sitt medmenneskes nød og hilser den nødstilte velkommen. Moralen i historien kan tolkes som den etiske fordringen om berørthet. Du skal ikke gå forbi din nestes død og forbli i din egen verden. Samaritanen var «den fremmede», den som ble sett ned på. Lignelsen er en historie om å bli berørt, en historie om nestekjærlighet fremfor hevngjerrighet, likeverdighet fremfor avhumanisering. Hvordan kan det ha seg at en del såkalt bibeltro kristne i denne verden ikke blir berørt, hvordan kan det ha seg at Israel går forbi sin nestes død og forblir i sin egen verden, uten å ense det som skjer med Gazas barn? Gazas døde og skadde barn er, skal en følge israelske myndigheters retorikk, bare en konsekvens av en nødvendighet, det må verden forstå. Denne retorikken tilsier at mer enn 200 palestinske barn må dø for at israelske barn skal beskyttes. I denne diskursen er palestinske barn implisitt mindre verdt, men i virkeligheten er det ingenting som tyder på at israelske barn blir tryggere.

I budskapet som ligger i lignelsen om den barmhjertige samaritan, blir den påståtte nødvendigheten av døde barn til en skamplett. Det er heller ingen tvil: Israels myndigheter vet hva de gjør, og bør i framtida be om tilgivelse heller enn aksept.

Open letter from Javier Bardem about the massacres in Gaza

I have translated this letter written by the Spanish actor Javier Bardem, published today in the Spanish newspaper http://www.eldiario.es
I am not an official translator at all, but I hope this important message comes out correctly (after this translation was made, http://www.eldiario.es has published one here):

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As horror is occurring in Gaza there is NO room for equidistance nor neutrality. It is a war of occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and alleged terrorists. Hard to understand and impossible to justify. And the international community’s stance is embarrassing, allowing such genocide to happen.
I do not understand this barbarism, the Jewish people’s horrible history makes it even more cruelly incomprehensible. Only geopolitical alliances, that hypocrite mask of business making- for instance arms trade- explain the shameful position of the USA, the European Union and Spain.
I know that the same people as always will delegitimize my personal right of opinion, because of that I would like to clarify the following:
Yes, my son was born in a Jewish hospital because I have dear people around me who are Jewish, and because being Jewish is not the same as supporting this massacre, just as being Hebrew is not the same as being a Zionist, and being a Palestinian does not mean being an Hamas terrorist. That would be as absurd as saying that being German links you to Nazism.
Yes, I work in the U.S., where I have friends and acquaintances who reject such interventions and aggressive policies. “One cannot invoke self defense while at the same time killing children”, one of them said to me on the phone just yesterday. And there are others with whom I discuss openly about our clashing points of view.
Yes, I am a European and I feel ashamed of a community that says it represents me with its silence and non existent shame.
Yes, I live in Spain, paying my taxes, and I do not want my money to finance policies that support this barbarism and arms trade with other countries that are enriching themselves killing innocent children.
Yes, I am outraged, ashamed and hurt because of all the injustice and killing of human beings. Those children are our children. It is horror itself. I hope there will be compassion within the hearts of those who are killing and that the murderous poison that only creates more hatred and violence will disappear. That those Israelis and Palestinians who only dream of peace and coexistence some day will be able to share their solution.
I encourage you to read the following links:
http://www.msf.es/noticia/2014/gaza-israel-debe-dejar-bombardear-civiles-atrapados
http://iniciativadebate.org/2014/07/21/santiago-auseron-juan-perro-radio-futura-el-horror-que-se-disfraza-de-creencia/

Trapped on Utøya. Trapped on the Gaza Strip. July 22nd 2011 and 2014

The last few months, I have blogged a lot about kindergartens in Oslo. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration in all actions affecting children” (Article 3). When I saw that the best interests of the child were not the main concern of right wing Oslo politicians, I did everything I could to stop them in the attempt to privatize public kindergartens and hence push away valuable caregivers from small and vulnerable children in Oslo.

The best interests of the child are important Norway, in Syria and in Gaza. Today is the 22nd of July, and I think of the children and young people who lost their lives on the island of Utøya three years ago, killed by a single terrorist who despised their ideals. They were trapped, it was the darkest of all nightmares. A man born the same year as I was, in 1979, wanted them all dead. They ran, they swam, they held each other, they tried to protect one another. The one thing they had done wrong was belong to the youth wing of the Labour party. They embraced people from all over the world whereas the killer hated them for not hating muslims, as he did. His own race was superior in his eyes. Anyone who would support “multiculturalism”, as he called it, was the enemy.

Shortly after the 22nd of July 2011 I went with my own little family of four and my whole Spanish family in law to my parents’ summer house in Sweden. We were altogether 14 people, so my little family chose to sleep in a shed by the lake. The first night I heard something happening on the roof or outside the shed. I froze, could not move, I was certain there was another killer outside who would exterminate us. There was of course no one there, but the water, the little shed in the middle of no where must have brought to mind all the horrific scenes and stories of Utøya, and my head was not working rationally. I have never been as afraid in my whole life.

It did not happen to me again. Things went more or less back to normal. There were no more massacres in Norway, no more terrorist acts, I could sleep at night.

Most of the young people who were there on Utøya that day probably still have problems sleeping. The children of Gaza, small children have gone through the most horrific experiences one can imagine three times already. How can they sleep at night ever again? They have learned that they are never safe. A state called Israel can determine to bomb them, without their best interest ever being a primary consideration. I imagine how they hear the sound of the bombs falling, the sirens, the sound of war. Pictures of children crying and clinging to a caregiver, terrified, are burnt into my mind.

Israel’s actions affect children in an extremely harmful way. The young people of AUF, the youth wing of the Labour party, have condemned Israel’s actions for many years now, as can be seen at their webpage. The people of Gaza are also trapped. Solidarity is reaching from the young people at Utøya to those affected on the Gaza Strip.

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As the Norwegian terrorist, Israel made sure the people of Gaza could not run before attacking them.

Whereas Anders Behring Breivik saw the young AUF-ers as if they were bricks in a video game, dehumanizing them, and has shown no remorse, Israel is doing the same thing. The IDF on twitter posts cheap graphics ticking off an “Hamas to do list”, while taking no responsibility for Israel’s war crimes. It looks like something taken from a table game.

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I condemn Hamas, but I do not find it is fair to use Hamas as an excuse to oppress and kill civilians as if they were the bricks to be won in a game. If Israel is a moral country as its PM claims, then why has Israel not taken the child’s best interests into account? Had Israel cared the least about the children of Gaza, this immorality would have stopped long before ten children were dead. Israel would have had to acknowledge that its precision was not good enough and that the chances of killing many children were higher than not killing them. Instead, Israel is dehumanizing Palestinian parents claiming they bring the children to places where they will be killed so that they can harm Israel.

I want to honor the young AUFers by following their own ideals of peace, of us all being able to show that all people have the same value, that we can all, intead of clapping our hands while watching bombs falling down, embrace values of equality and non violence. We must learn from what happened during world war II, we must know that all people are worth the same, and that killing children can never be defended, ever.