A political post for a change. You won’t get many of these from me. Ever.
I am sitting on my balcony in the mountains, drinking my morning coffee. The sky is blue, the weather is lovely, the birds are flying over and the butterflies flap around. A drooling dog at my feet, a cat yapping at the birds. All very idyllic.
In the distance, I hear the soft rumble of commercial flights, crossing over Lebanese airspace to some exotic destination.
You can hear that in Holland too on quiet summer evenings. With the difference that in Holland you can follow their tracks, since their engines leave a white trail in the sky. Those white streaks planes leave behind are actually artificial clouds. They’re called “contrails,” which is a shortened version of “condensation trail, ” or “vapor trail.” (source ) For some reasons, they do not do that in the Lebanese sky. It’s related to humidity. When the plane is in wet air, it makes a contrail. In dry air it does not. (Bet you didn’t know that, huh? Me neither, I had to look it up)
“Duh,” hubbie says. “They’re not commercial planes. They’re Israelis. You don’t have commercial planes here.”
And sure enough, I spot them. They always fly in pairs. They’ve been breaching Lebanese airspace more than usual these past few days. Usually you just see them; you do not really hear them. Hearing them, means they’re flying lower than usual. “In 2006, this was what you heard all night, their planes circling above Beirut, coming and going,” he adds.
The Israelis have been busy lately. They bombed something in Syria yesterday. Assad is in no position to do anything about that right now, the rebels have no air force, and so they just bomb.
I have a lot of readers from Holland. Some 20% come from there, according to my Google.statistics. And although there are quite a few groups in Holland that draw attention to the Palestinian cause, I think it is safe to say that Holland in general is more receptive to the Israeli side of matters than it is to the Lebanese side. We even had - for a short while - a minister of foreign affairs named Uriël "Uri" Rosenthal, married to an Israeli and whose sister was living in Israel. I do believe that being jewish is no indication whatsoever of someone’s partiality in political decisions, but I doubt that with an Israeli wife and a sister in Ashkelon, we’re going to have many favorable discussions about Arabs at the dinner table at night. I understand why in Holland people tend to understand the Israeli side more than the Arab side. The Israelis are like us. The Arabs are not. Looking at images of an Arab funeral in Gaza is for Dutch people quite shocking; we tend to be demure, quiet and private. We don’t pluck at bodies of dead sons and cry in public.
Yet I wonder if in Holland you have any idea of what it is like to be circled by war planes. You can hear them while you have your morning coffee. They’re not supposed to be there, they’re violating Lebanese air space, but they can, and so they do; there is no one to do anything about it. They’re out there, you can hear them, but not see them. They can see you though. They’re surveilling Lebanese territory, and communicating with their base back in Israel.
Maybe they’re zooming in on my morning coffee. “Two terrorists on the balcony? You see them?” “Nah. She’s Dutch. No worries there.”
You know they are armed; they could conduct an airstrike any minute. So maybe they won’t. But then again, who knows? They haven’t done so in a while. Imagine this happening in Holland. German war planes above Dutch territory. You can hear and see them. They won’t do anything. We’re not at war with Germany. But just imagine.
These planes going overhead all morning, their soft rumbling in the distance. It isn’t disconcerting. It isn’t scary either. You know chances are slim that they’ll actually bomb, And if they do, chances that it will be me, are even slimmer; I don’t live in a high-risk region, I don’t hang around with people that instigate Israeli wrath.
Yet it is insulting. You feel violated, infringed upon. Who are they, that they believe they have the right to do this? With such total disregard to peoples’ rights. Insulting indeed.