Arab Perspectives: Operation Pillar of Defense (part 1)

In this video, that I originally filmed for Feenjan (please see below for more info), in Arabic (with English subtitles) I talk about the way Arabs view Israel’s motivation to launch Operation Pillar of Defense.

In this video I discuss the real reason that motivated Israel to launch the operation that was not mentioned in the any analysis made by Arab writers, commentators or politicians and what can we learn from that.  Along with the different Arab reasons I present (some of which by the way are quite groundless…) I also share with you a most exceptional and rare perspective of a Kuwaiti columnist.

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with my initiative FeenjanFeenjan – Israel speaks Arabic is a non-profit initiative which I founded and support that presents contemporary Israeli society and culture to the Arab world in Arabic, and serves as an on-line platform for Israelis and Arabs to discover and discuss issues of common interest. 

6 Comments on “Arab Perspectives: Operation Pillar of Defense (part 1)”

  1. Moshik says:

    What about emptying the threatening arsenal of Hamas as a prelude to an operation in Iran?


  2. commart says:

    Reblogged this on Communicating Arts – The Journal and commented:
    I would not want to live in a world that spoke only English or whose sole cause was humanism, and yet the language and the way provide a way toward an unheralded common insight into humanity and peace. Such may make its way back into many languages.


  3. mitchel brownstein says:

    thanks avi for speaking to the arab world in arabic.
    re: your last post, i hope you are right and the egyptian people can come to a consensus without more bloodshed and a consensus that protects the rights of the minorities. one thing that many people in the arab world forget is that the palestinians who live in israel enjoy more rights and privileges than many citizens of other arab countries.


    • Avi Melamed says:

      Thanks. As I said Egypt – like all the Arab world – is entering a long and bumpy era. I’m afraid that given different characterstics of Arab society (the lack of checks and balances, the spread of violence, the lack of a strong civil society, structure and norms, etc.) the process of building a consesnus will be – as it is already – rough, long and not smooth. As for Israeli Arabs your’re absolutely right. Some people in the Arab world simply are not aware of that. Many others are aware of that but choose to present it differently.


  4. J says:

    You ask a simple question and give a confounded answer which distorts your original question:

    You ask: WHY did Israel launch Operation Pillar of Defense?
    You Answer: Because they have a right to defend themselves and thats what any country would do. (paraphrasing).

    That in no way answers the questions and seeks to find additional supporters for the cause.

    Rockets were launched in Sept & Oct but there was no offensive.

    So why now? Theres is a specific answer to that question. Maybe to test the Iron Dome system, maybe to project support in the region.

    BUT, the answer is not: We also have a right to self defense.

    The argument is not, does Israel have the right to defend – the question is specific: Why Pillar of Defense? Your answer to this question is the same answer as in 2008’s Gaza offensive which was clearly motivated by different reasons.

    I would be happy to see a response to this.


    • Avi Melamed says:

      Thak you for your comment.
      Please note what I said in the video: Arab commentators come up with different explanations as to why Israel launched the operation yet none of them came up with the specific reason. And that is that it is the responsibility of every government to protect its citizens. That is the meaning of self-defense.
      You’re right when you say that the rocket attacks didn’t start in October. They started more than 10 years ago. Yet, Israeli governments have conducted only two operations – Operation Cast Lead (January 2009) and the recent one. Why only these two times? Because the reality of life in Israel during the period of time prior to these operations became totally unbearable. The Israeli government in both cases simply had no other choice but to launch a military operation and in both cases the purpose was not even to stop the shooting completely, but rather to create a more bearable day to day reality for Israeli citizens. As long as the unspoken understanding between Israel and Hamas regarding the “legitimate” ground rules and boundaries were kept Israel didn’t launch a wide-scale military operation. Thus the reality along Israel Gaza order was characterized mostly by “small scale mutual punching.” At the end of the day, the responsibility of a government to protect the citizens is not black and white; governments sometimes can decide – for various reasons – that the means they use to meet their responsibility could be different. The fact citizens are attacked doesn’t necessarily mean that the government has to launch a war or a wide scale operation every time. It is subject to different calculations that have to be taken into consideration by that government.


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