What Takes Fifteen to Thirty Seconds?
Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if a group of young girls skipping rope will live long enough to sleep in their own bed tonight.
Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if the grandmother’s bridge club has as many members at the meeting next week.
Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if a mother carrying her two children under three years of age will make their breakfast this morning.
Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if any Israeli Jew, Israeli Christian, Israeli Muslim, Israeli Druze or Israeli Bedouin living within twenty miles of the Gaza Strip will live any longer than today.
This is the determination made every second of every minute of every hour twenty four hours a day, seven day a week, fifty-two weeks a year for all the people no matter their race, religion, or whether they are a resident or simply a visitor or passing through the southern half of Israel. There is one other small fact that could make any trip through this shooting gallery safer, the rockets and mortars are fired in groups most often to coincide with the start and end of the school day as that is when the largest number of children are turned into targets. Over the past week over two hundred rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli citizens at all hours, day or night. You pray that you can take a quick shower, long luxurious showers are far too risky to even consider, or will you be grabbing the emergency clothes and running naked to the shelter dressing if and when you are safely out of harm’s way. School classes can be interrupted at any point in the day so when you take that math test you also listen for the alert sirens instead of fully concentrating on the numbers before you.
This has been life during what is presumably peace times in Sderot and the other communities within the ever increasing range of the terror rockets fired from Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu held a meeting inviting the Ambassadors or their representatives of every country which has an embassy in Israel today in Ashkelon. Netanyahu informed the attendees that should the alarm sound where they met, then they would all have about thirty seconds to find shelter from a rocket attack. But Netanyahu’s words were likely the least important. The children from Sderot and other target communities were the ones whose words were likely the most intensely tragic and hopefully heeded. One such child can be heard in the video attached to this Arutz Sheva article and I beseech that you go hear this young woman speak. I refer to this young woman as a woman because she really does not get to live the life of a child as she lives every day with the Sword of Damocles over her every second of life. She lives the life very different from what almost any normal person would call an average child’s life, knowing that if she stumbles and does not reach the shelter, that stumble may be the last action she ever performs.
In any other country in this world such a condition would be preposterous to even consider unless your country was actually in a war. In any normal country such a situation would result in a massive assault to put such a situation permanently to rest. Throughout the world such a threat would be considered casus belli for war. But this is Israel where if Israel responds too forcefully to such attacks the United Nations and all of its ancillary organizations would all go into a furious frenzied fit. That was the purpose of the meeting with the ambassadors today, to put the world on notice that this will not go unanswered nor be allowed to continue and that Israel will soon choose to take remedial actions to quiet the barrage of her citizens. The world was told that the children of Israel and their parents and families will not be targets for terrorists and not defended. The world was informed that no matter what they think, the answer will be proportional in the eyes of the Israelis and especially in the eyes of these children whose only desire is to grow up in a world that is normal and not a shooting gallery.
And this meeting had an effect on those who launch these rockets as well today. Apparently they wish not to be targets of any return fire from the IDF. The leadership of Hamas agreed and sent their message through Egypt that they will “stop” firing rockets if and only if Israel promises not to take any actions for past attacks. They are hoping that the world, and especially those countries ambassadors who were at the meeting today, will lean on Israel and claim there is no reason to attack as the terrorists have promised to stop. In Israel, even the youngest of the children living within the range of these rockets realize that they have been here before. They have faced similar intense barrages where for days, even weeks, the numbers of rockets greatly increases and when Israel appears to be at their wit’s end, the promise of a cease-fire comes through Egypt from Hamas. They know, even though the world may not, that Hamas agreeing to stop firing rockets is not much of a guarantee as Hamas does not speak for Islamic Jihad, Hamas does not speak for al-Qaeda in Gaza, Hamas does not speak for the PRC (Popular Resistance Committees), and Hamas often does not even speak for all of Hamas. Yes, the numbers of rockets will decrease, well, for now. Soon they will begin to increase as they always have and within a few weeks, months if the children are lucky, the rockets will rain down their terrifying storm where the thunder is the thunder of high explosives. This cease-fire will only last long enough for everybody’s attention to go elsewhere as it always has. This is not the end of the terrifying nights and dangerous walks to and from school each day; it is simply a lull for a short while.
Soon we will hear that the terrorists in Gaza are fully justified to fire these rockets because of the occupation. Israel pulled up and destroyed every so-called settlement in Gaza and removed every last iota of IDF presence. There is no occupation and Hamas has complete autonomy in Gaza. What about the embargo? The embargo was only put in place to prevent even heavier weapons and rockets from easily being shipped into Gaza. Even despite the embargo the Palestinians now have anti-tank rockets that are guided and have started to use these deadly weapons as four seriously injured IDF soldiers who were patrolling on the Israeli side of the Gaza border can attest, one will need to regain consciousness first as he has been in a coma now for closing on a week. All other aid is allowed into Gaza along with the Israelis providing Gaza with much of their water and electricity. Israel has been treating residents from Gaza when Hamas allows them to leave and be treated by Israel for free. Israel ships in tons of food and petroleum daily. The most well-guarded truth is that life in Gaza, outside of the Gaza refugee camp, is very comfortable and the residents are some of the most well off people in the entire Middle East outside the oil sheikdoms. And if life is in such a desperate condition in Gaza, why does nobody ever care to mention the restrictions the Egyptians place on transactions over their border with Gaza? I must assume that there is some geophysical phenomenon which prevents anything from crossing into Gaza from Egypt leaving only the Israeli border as the sole supply point.
The truth is that as soon as the cease-fire has been agreed to by the Israelis the rockets will not fly across the border for possibly a day, or an hour, but if history is any guide, the rockets will return within minutes, possibly seconds of the cease-fire being imposed. Of course the world will insist that Israel ignore the occasional rocket attack and show restraint. How much restraint would these countries show under similar circumstances? I’m thinking about none. When the rockets continue to be fired into Israel, Hamas will quickly point out that they did not fire them and cannot be held responsible for the other terror groups and other actors and have taken all the proper and necessary steps to enforce the cease-fire. And the world will exclaim how wondrous these noble attempts at keeping the peace Hamas has demonstrated and that Israel had best keep their word and not respond to a few errant actions firing a rocket or two. Such a few rockets are nothing to get all worked up over. Israel really needs to be bigger than that. Somehow, I must disagree. Eventually Israel will need to start to take definitive actions to permanently put an end to the terrorizing of her children, not to mention everybody else. For all those who have ever claimed that something must be done “for the children”, certainly they will understand any actions Israel decides to take for her children, or are Israeli children of a different sort? One rocket or a hundred rockets, what difference would it make if your children were on the receiving end. No rockets must be the only acceptable condition. Anything else should mean targeted leadership of Hamas and every group that is beyond their so-called control. And if their leadership goes underground as they have before, then it is time to send in teams to dig them up and present them to Israeli courts.
Israel does not desire to take control over Gaza. Israel simply wants to live in peace and leave Gaza to live in peace. The peace has to be reciprocal or not at all. If the rockets were to stop tomorrow and remain stopped, within a day or two there would be peace and no violence would fly across the Gaza Israel border. If Israel should stop reprisals against the rockets, then there would be hundreds and eventually thousands of rockets flying from Gaza on to Israeli citizens every week, every day if such were achievable. Just because the media throughout the world and, sorry to say, even within Israel do not cover the rocket attacks and pretend they do not exist, that does not allow these children to live without being in constant fear for their lives. Peace for these children is the only acceptable result and that must be the result the whole world demands. Anything else is simply permitting the unthinkable to become acceptable simply because the victims are Israeli, are Jews. Hasn’t the world had enough of this behavior, this miserable excusing any action if it is intended to kill or harm Jews?
Update: Since the writing of this article, the cease-fire had been agreed to by Hamas produced calm, for six hours, until early this morning a rocket was fired into the Ashdod area. Fortunately, it exploded away from any populated or industrial areas. Midnight to 6 AM does not qualify as a crease-fire as it is more like a night’s sleep before returning to normal activities, which for the terrorists in Gaza means launching rockets into Israel. For those who still wish to claim that Hamas is unable to do anything about the rockets being rained down on Israeli children as well as everybody else, please view this video released by Hamas earlier this week depicting rockets being launched at Israel.
Beyond the Cusp