Shooting the laptop

She took it well — much better than I would have, to be perfectly honest.   Lily Sussman’s laptop was shot by Israeli security officials during an extended security inspection, while she was trying to enter Israel from Egypt, where she lives.  Her account is just below:

Lily Sussman's shot laptop - from her blog

“…Israeli security officers (most who looked around 18 years old) had completed around two hours of questioning and searching me. They had pressed every sock and scarf with a security device, ripped open soap and had me strip extra layers. They asked me tons of questions–where are you going?  Who do you know?  Do you have a boyfriend?  Is he Arab, Egyptian, Palestinian?  Why do you live in Egypt?  Why not Israel?  What do you know about the ‘conflict’ here?  What do you think?  They quized [sic – it should be “quizzed”] me on Judaism,which I know nothing about.

Then they asked me to wait. Since they had asked for friends and families phone numbers I assumed they might be calling to verify my answers to questions or confirm I really had extended family in Tel Aviv.  An announcement played over the sound system, interrupting my break in the sunshine. First in Hebrew, then Arabic, then in English. It was something along the lines of, ”’do not to be alarmed by gunshots because the Israeli security needs to blow up suspicious passanger luggage’.

I went inside to check on my bag. I had left it unattended, where they instructed. It was still there so I went back outside.

Moments later a man came outside and introduced himself as the manager on duty. And then, ‘I’m sorry but we had to blow up your laptop’.

What….all my client case notes and testimony, writing, pictures, music and applications.  Years of work.  NO!!!!  What?? Are you insane??  What were you thinking?  THAT’S ALL MY WORK!?

After much yelling, crying and frantic phone dialing (don’t be alarmed if I called you repeatedly this morning), he took me outside to see the wreckage. It turned out it hadn’t been quite blown up, but rather shot through with three bullets. We were able to extract the hard drive, seemingly unscaved [sic – it should read “unscathed”… but, after all, her laptop was shot, so let’s cut her some slack on the typos]. Thank goodness…

Security had never asked for my password…”

This account can be read in full here.

Lilly Sussman's laptop - three bullets through

Lilly Sussman's shot laptop - view from the other side

When she arrived in Jerusalem, Lily was relieved to discover that the hard drive was not damaged in this shooting, so she hopes to be able to recover her work.   She also is expecting to have her computer replaced by Israeli security (I am sceptical…)

Here is Lily herself — the photo taken from her blog “Izzayyik Lily” [meaning, in the Egyptian dialect of Arabic, “How are you Lily?”here:

Lily Sussman herself

On her blog, Lily describes herself this way: “A student of traveling, writing and observing, intent to understand the Middle East by living in Cairo for a span. An optimist who believes hostilities fade when people connect, communicate and learn about each other. An adventurer, happy in the midst of events with a pen, pad, camera, and always, background information”. [note: She didn’t mention her laptop…]

Thanks to Angry Arab for the tip from his blog here.

[UPDATE: Two Israeli news sites — Haaretz and YNet — have now picked up this story. Their articles are posted (Haaretz) here and (YNet) here.]

Israel has no intention of entering into a formal cease-fire agreement with Hamas

It is not really clear — at least not to me — what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is up to.

Yesterday, at a meeting he convened of Israel’s “security cabinet”, he got agreement to put at the top of the Israeli government’s priorities the release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was seized in a cross-border raid in June 2006 and is believed to be held, still, somewhere in Gaza.

Hamas has said over and over again that Shalit will be released only if Israel frees many of those on a list of about 1400 Palestinian prisoners Hamas has specified. It was recently reported (just around the time of the cease-fires after the recent 22-day IDF military operation in Gaza), that Israel might be ready to free about 1000 Palestinians — the most generous offer to date.

But, Hamas has always insisted not just on quantity, but on its own specifically-named choices.

On Wednesday, Olmert apparently blithely ignored this fact — and got the security cabinet to approve his own list.
Continue reading Israel has no intention of entering into a formal cease-fire agreement with Hamas

High UN Offical calls on Israel to open Gaza borders – Israeli human rights group says Israel is deliberately obstructing repairs to Gaza's electricity

Here are two more items — actually, three — which deserve attention and reflection:

I. More excerpts from a Statement to the United Nations Security Council in New York by John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, 27 January 2009:
“There are important principles at stake here too, as the Security Council itself clearly recognized in Resolution 1860, which paid particular attention to the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance. Free and full access for goods and humanitarian staff is something we have battled long and hard for in other contexts, such as Darfur and Myanmar … Moreover, Israel has a particular responsibility as the occupying power in this context, because of its control of Gaza ’s borders, to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law. It is therefore critical that new steps are taken immediately by the Israeli authorities to move quickly to the sustained re-opening of crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. Many countries support this. The crossings need to be opened up not because Hamas want it or might benefit from it, but because the Gazans need it“…
Continue reading High UN Offical calls on Israel to open Gaza borders – Israeli human rights group says Israel is deliberately obstructing repairs to Gaza's electricity