Thursday, August 18, 2011

Haifa Demands Justice, Eilat Suffers Shock

Today TCN visited a protest camp in the Hadar neighboorhood of Haifa, in Israel's north. The camp is a bit smaller than the one in Beer Sheva.

Haifa is known for coexistence between Jews and Muslim Arabs, and the protest signs reflect this reality.

There were 5 or so protesters at the camp around 10:30 in the morning. While the camp in Beer Sheva had a clear student influence, the atmosphere in Haifa was a bit more serious. In both camps, it is not just youth who are participating. Noone at the camp in Haifa appeared under the age of 30.

One of the protesters at the camp mentioned the poverty in Hadar, noting that there were many religious and immigrant populations in the area, and that children were out on the streets at 2 or 3 in the morning. The poverty issue is particularly sensitive for the Hadar protest camp, one of three camps in Haifa.

Blogging plans have changed slightly in the wake of the attacks in Eilat earlier today. What were planned as protests have now become a vigil. TCN will still cover the protest camps, but not the Saturday night demonstrations which have been cancelled in the wake of the attacks.

The attacks, are a clear escalation of violence as of late, designed to make the evening news in Israel and around the world. In responding to the attacks, Israel will need to be careful to demonstrate strength without the overreaction for which those who perpetrated the attacks are hoping.

The United States has roundly condemned the attacks, saying it stands with Israel against terror. White House spokesman Jay Carney also said the administration hopes the perpetrators will be brought to justice quickly. This statement is a clear indication of the balancing act required by the US. On the one hand, the US needs to avoid giving Israel a blank check to maintain credibility with the Arab world. On the other hand, reassuring Israelis can come only by validating an Israeli right of response. The administration's statement achieves both these aims by allowing for a decisive response, but one which is focused only on those responsible for the attack.

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