Video Reports – Gaza

I’ll try to keep this updated on a daily basis until I return from the war.

January 20, 2009

Inauguration in Eilat

It just ended.  I had the pleasure of watching Barak Obama sworn in as President from the town I still love the most.  Eilat is about as far from DC as one can get.  Both in terms of the actual distance as well as the “head”.  But the internet brought the whole ceremony to me and the few off duty soldiers with whom I shared food, drink, music and hope for the future.

The six hour time difference made it nighttime as we watched.  All of us felt the emotion and the hope that rolled across the face of our planet like a beneficent tsunami.  All days should be like this from now on.  As the poet said, “What if the most powerful word was love…”

90,000,000,000

Cubic meters of natural gas.  That’s right, ninety billion!  The discovery off the coast of Israel was announced the same day the cease fire went into effect.  This discovery will change the shape of the Middle East conflict for good.  My optimism feels justified for once.

January 17, 2009y

Rocket Kids

It’s not the kind of place to raise your kids.

In fact they’re scared as hell.

And there’s no one there to raise them, if you did.

Filmed one week ago on my trip to Ashkelon, this video got held up while I figured out how to put in a track for translation.  (Sorry about that, I am new at this…)

These were the only kids I managed to find in the whole city that day.  As I mentioned in my earlier report, the place was abandoned for the most part.  The kids that were there were being kept indoors by their mothers.

The first group of kids I spoke with were not allowed more than 50 meters from the house in case an alarm was sounded.  They were miserable and complaining.

The next kid I found was at the scene of the second rocket attack that day.  His name is Ben and he’s 9 years old.  His house is about half a block from where it fell.  Though clearly shaken, he showed a defiant determination in the face of the attacks.

January 16, 2009

Tragedy in Be’er Sheva

Yesterday three Grad rockets dropped on the city of Be’er Sheva in the Negev.  Two of them dropped on crowded streets and a number of people were wounded, including two who were gravely wounded.   One of the two was a seven year old boy.  When the sirens went off, his Mom did what we are told to do in such an event.  She pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car and lay on the ground.  In her case she lay on top of her son to protect him as best she could.

It wasn’t enough.

The rocket fell close by where they were laying, and a piece of shrapnel was blown past her into the side of her son’s head.  He was rushed to the hospital where they performed emergency surgery.  As of this afternoon his condition was still listed as critical.

I decided to drive to Be’er Sheva today to show solidarity with the people there and to report on the location of this tragedy.  Israel has been incredibly lucky up until now with very few deaths and serious injuries from the rocket attacks on their civillians.  The luck ran out yesterday.

January 15, 2009

Simon of Sderot


Filmed a few days ago, this vid chronicles my trip from Jerusalem to Sderot, a town I’ve never visited before.  It is famous now for having been the main target of the Hamas missiles over the last 8 years.

I found it a glum slum, with nary a smile in view.

No rockets now, though.  The Israeli operation has made it impossible for Hamas to use its short range rockets anymore, so they’re not bothering with Sderot.  Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva are preferred targets for their longer range grad rockets.

Nobody there spoke English, but when I went into a little electronic store to purchase an adapter for my US plug, I met a seventy year old man named “Simon” whose smiles were so broad and whose spirit was so high that he made my trip to that sad place a pleasure in the end.

I hope you enjoy him as I did.

January 14, 2009

This war is not a war between Israel and the Palestinians. 

It is a war between Israel and Iran.

So was the Lebanon war two years ago.

For some reason, this fact is continuously overlooked by the mainstream media.

January 14, 2009

What has happened to the Israeli offensive against Hamas?  It seems to have stalled out…

Politics.  There’s actually going to be an election here in three weeks.  As always, politicians put their own personal interests above those of the country.  Some things never change.  Not from generation to generation, and not from country to country.

January 12, 2009

This video begins with my entrance into Jerusalem in order to visit my old friend Dr. Dore Gold. He is the ex ambassador to UN from Israel, a PHD in Middle Eastern Studies, and he knows more about the Arab Israeli conflict than anyone else I know.

As soon as the sabbath ended he got a call from the Prime Minister’s office asking him to go appear on the BBC. Though he’s been out of government for years and now runs a think tank called “The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs” the government continues to rely on him for “hasbarah” (explaining Israel’s position) to the world.

I went with him to the BBC and you can see the appearance he made. As we were walking out, he got another call asking him to appear on Reuters a half hour later.

His website is http://www.jcpa.org/

I highly recommend this amazing document produced by his center entitled, “Iran’s Race for Regional Supremacy:
Strategic Implications for the Middle East ” which can be downloaded as a PDF file at:

http://www.jcpa.org/text/iran2-june08.pdf

In this 50 minute interview, Gold and I discuss what has been going on in the Middle East over the last few years.

Think you already know about it? Think again.

After you watch this interview, it will become readily apparent to you that the reality of the Middle East Conflict compared to that offered by the mainstream press, is like comparing the schematics of a Boeing 747 to Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.”

January 11, 2008

Yesterday I finally got to work. I drove down to Ashkelon from my friend’s house north of Tel Aviv. As I entered the city the first sirens sounded and I had to pull over and dive for cover. I could hear the blast that wasn’t far from me. Over the next 30 minutes another two rockets landed, one close and one too far away for me to hear.

I managed to find where two of the rockets fell. One had landed next to a four story apartment building, the other hit the roof of a similar building.

Ashkelon is a ghost town. Only a few cars. Practically nobody on the streets. A lot of the population has fled. The others are mostly staying indoors, close to their shelters. My quest to interview kids looked like it was going to fail, but in the end I found one group of 6-10 year old boys to talk to and at the site of the second rocket one sweet 9 year old named Ben. They didn’t speak English, of course, so it will take me a while longer to do a voice over translation.

In the meantime, I’m posting a segment of my trip to Ashkelon, the falling of the rockets and the damage at the first of the rocket sites I found.

January 8, 2008

Zurich

Five hour layover after an endless flight from LAX. Then another 4 hour flight and I arrive in Israel at 2 AM. I hope I’ll be able to recover in time to get to the front by Friday evening.

I’m planning on focusing on the kids.

What does it feel like to be a 7 year old and having to run to the shelter 10 times a day when those horrible sirens sound? Then waiting for the all clear signal listening for the “booms” when the rockets hit.

Kids never cease to amaze me, and maybe they’re all doing OK. I sure hope so. But it’s certainly not what I would want my children to have to endure.

Next post will be from home… Israel.

January 7, 2008

Just for laughs… When there aren’t many.

January 6, 2008

My last day before I leave for Israel.  I have to get my LDN’ from the pharmacy.  (Only $85 for a three month supply without insurance.)  I also need to pick up a bottle of Melatonin to try to combat the inevitable jet-lag that results from a 10 hour time difference.

Thought I would check out Israel’s instructions on what to do in a rocket attack.  Looks like fun, ehh?

Also, my 19 year old son, Barak, is coming to see me for the first time since his orientation at Columbia College in August.  He is truly the thing I am most proud of having had a hand in bringing to the world.  He combines my idealism and dedication with his mother’s sensitivity and gentleness.  He doesn’t know yet that I’m going to Israel and I hope he’ll be supportive and proud.

Before starting at Columbia he had become quite a film maker.  He made numerous clips for Current TV including the one I’ve attached below of an early rally for Barack Obama in Oakland.  You can visit his filmsite, http://www.infallibull.com/, or just Google Barak Wouk.


January 5, 2008

My second post today.  My insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross refused to fill my prescription for 100 LDN capsules that they have filled without any problems before since April.  Why?  Some epsilon working in their drug classification department reclassified Naltrexone as a narcotic ! If they even bothered to look on Wikipedia they would see it’s the opposite of a narcotic.

I was on the phone for two hours and got nowhere.  Nobody has the authority to do anything about it.  The best they could do was offer to call my doctor at UCSF to get a special exception for me.  I tried to make them understand that this was going to affect thousands of people that need the drug.  I doubt anything will change and I’m warning anyone who is on LDN and has that insurance company to expect similar problems.

I called the pharmacy and told them if the approval wasn’t received by tomorrow that I would pay for the pills myself.  I’m going on Wednesday, period.

You’ll have fun watching me go crazy talking to these fools on the telephone.  The video is a combination of cuts from the two hour debacle.

January 5, 2008

The Israel Radio Toolbar

I can’t help myself.  I’m a tech freak.

Except for a few years where my ADD kept me from handling it, I’ve always taken real pleasure in pushing available technology to its limits.

Today I bought a bunch of essentials which I’ll need to do a good job blogging.  The first was a digital camera that takes videos tailored to youtube.  Haven’t even opened the box yet, but I’m looking forwad to it.  I also bought presents and essentials like a car plug in for my Iphone.

I payed for 50 meg of data on the Iphone ($60!) so I’d be in touch even without WIFI.  I’ll see if I can set up a month to month Iphone account with an Israeli carrier once I get there.

The news is very good.  We’ve cut Gaza into three parts.  The rockets continue, however.  Forty today they are reporting.

I’ll be able to tell you if this official news has any bearing on reality once I get there.  I’ve not trusted the Israeli government’s pronouncements on wars since the war in Lebanon.  They announced on the second day of the war that the Bufor castle had been taken without casualties.  My soon to be wife’s brother was a member of the elite unit that had captured bufor and in fact six of them, including his commander who  he loved had been cut down.

This time, what I am hearing smells like the truth.  Ehud Barak and Tzipi livni inspire more confidence in me than any other recent Israeli leaders.  Even the waiting-for-the-indictment Olmert seems to be rising to the job and speaking with candor.  Boy, I hope I’m not in for a big disappointment when I arrive.

The way things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me if the fighting stops before I get there.  The earliest I can get to the war zone is on Friday.  Today is Sunday.

Nothing would please me more.  It would mean I could turn my focus back on my original purpose which was to inform Israelis about the amazing effects of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), the drug that saved my life, on all immune system related diseases.

In the meantime, all I can do is feel the pain in my heart thinking about the parents worrying about their children.  My oldest son, Barak is 19.  If we were living in Israel he’d be fighting now.  Instead he’s finishing his first year at Columbia.  I doubt he’ll want to, but if he does, he can do his part like I did.  I went and joined the Navy after finishing law school.

See you tomorrow….

Joe

2 Comments on “Video Reports – Gaza”

  1. Jan Buskell Says:

    “Cubic meters of natural gas”

    I am sooo delighted to hear this remarkable news, Joe, not something I’ve heard about here at home, USA.

    Warm wishes and keep safe, Joe.

  2. ingrafted Says:

    Joe,
    Thanks for the insight and real information on Israel. I am glad to hear your MS symptoms are under control. Appreciate your work.
    Ingrafted


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