by Anav Silverman Over 50 Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel since the unilateral ceasefire began between Hamas and Israel on January 18. This is the third Hamas-Israel ceasefire held since November 2006. Two Qassam rockets were fired at the Eshkol region early Thursday morning, on February 19. Around 7:18 am, the Tzeva Adom sounded, followed by the rocket attacks. A third rocket had exploded earlier on the Gaza side. At 6:00 in the evening, the Tzeva Adom set off again--this time in Sderot. A loud explosion followed, with the rocket slamming in the Sderot cemetery. On Wednesday, February 18, western Negev residents woke up to the sound of the Tzeva Adom, Color Red alert siren blaring at 7:40 am in the morning. A Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza slammed into the Sha'ar HaNegev kibbutz causing no reported damages or injuries. Late Wednesday night, a mortar rocket from Gaza was fired at Sdot Negev region as well. No physical injuries or damages were reported in any of the terror incidents. There have been at least five Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israel in the past six days. On Friday, February 13, Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets at Israel, striking the Sderot area. A week before on Friday, February 6, a Palestinian rocket fired from northern Gaza struck Ashkelon at 9: 30 am morning. Another Qassam rocket hit the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council area earlier in the morning the same day. Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated after the Ashkelon attack that Israel is not gearing up for a second offensive in the Gaza Strip. According to YNET News, (February 6, 2009) Barak stated that: "We have no intention of embarking on Operation Cast Lead number two. We said there would be a response (to the rocket fire) and we responded," he said, "Our deterrence is intact. Hamas is barely picking up the pieces and is looking for a lull. If we play our cards right and prevent further escalation than we have a good chance of some peace and quiet." The IDF has responded to the attacks on Wednesday, February 18, by striking seven smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border and a Hamas security base near Khan Yunis. Previous ceasefires with Hamas have fraught with rocket fire violations. During the first ceasefire held with Hamas from November 11, 2006 to May 15, 2007, over 315 rockets struck Israel throughout the six-month ceasefire. During the second ceasefire, held between June 19 to December 19, 2008, over 538 Qassam and mortar rockets slammed into Israel. *Jerusalem Post and YNET News contributed to this report.In a cease-fire both sides stop fighting not just one. That is unless you are Israel. Then you are the only side to stop all attacks and allow your civilian population to be terrorized by thugs.
by Anav Silverman As US President Barack Obama makes historic overtures in attempting to foster open dialogue with Iran, the rest of world watches in optimistic anticipation. The UK's Guardian recently reported that Obama's administration drafted a letter to Iran "aimed at unfreezing US-Iranian relations and opening the way for face-to-face talks." Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has welcomed US overtures saying that: "The new U.S. administration announced that it's willing to bring about a number of changes and is now taking the course for dialogue. It's quite clear that the real change should be fundamental, not just tactical change, and it is quite clear that the Iranian nation will greet real changes." (CNN, February 10) Change or no change, residents of southern and northern Israel have reason to be wary of Iran, a country that continues to fund Hamas and Hezbullah terrorism operations. Thanks to Iranian-produced respectively, along with Grad missiles and technology, Hamas now holds rockets that place close to 1 million Israelis within target range. During Operation Cast Lead, Hamas was able to strike Israel's fifth and sixth largest cities, Ashdod and BeershebaNetivot, Ofakim, Qiryat Gat, Yavneh, and Kiryat Malachi. Hamas now has aspirations to target other Israeli cities, particularly Tel Aviv. Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV recently proclaimed on a program: "Tel Aviv, all our options are open." (Al Aqsa TV, January 10, 2009) But it is not only the rockets which are worrying. Although the Obama administration is keen on turning a new leaf with Iran, the fact remains that Iran is the "central banker" for Middle East terrorism, as former US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice aptly put when she spoke to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Iran's role in supporting Islamic terror in 2006. The Iranian nation is a leading financial supporter of three terror networks; Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. Iran transfers several hundreds of million of dollars a year to Hamas, financing the movement and its military wing, Iz Al-Din-al Qassam Brigades. When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006, Iran awarded the regime with a $50 million bonus (BBC report April 16, 2006). The Hamas website reported on December 11, 2006 that the Iranians had given $250 million to top Hamas official and fundraiser, Ismail Haniya, of which $100 million was used to cover the salaries of Hamas employees in the social, labor and cultural ministries for a six-month period in 2007. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report ) According to the IICC, Iran regards Hezbollah and Hamas as two important sources of power which Iran uses to promote its strategic goals, that of regional hegemony. “Using Hezbollah, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Iranian-Syrian axis can increase its influence in the Arab and Muslim world, pose a serious challenge to Mahmoud Abbas, harm the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and export the Iranian brand of radical Islam to other Sunni countries, especially Egypt. From the Iranian point of view, its sponsorship of Hamas is considered as a means of establishing an Iranian foothold in the heart of the Sunni world.” Iranians themselves fully identify with Hamas’s goals to destroy Israel, as most recently indicated when more than 70,000 Iranian student volunteers registered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel to support Hamas during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. (AP January 5) The rush of volunteers transpired when Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a religious decree stating that anyone who carried out an attack against Israel would be considered a martyr. Iranian schools, like Hamas, contain children’s textbooks which teach Iranian schoolchildren to hate and fear Israel. IMPACT recently published a short volume on The War Curriculum in Iran, which exposes the way in which Iranian textbooks connect the Islamic Revolution in Iran to the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Children as young as eight years of age learn in Iranian history textbooks that “God willing, the day will come when all Muslims will be united, liberate Palestine and save Jerusalem from the hands of the enemies of Islam.” Social Studies, Grade 3 (2004) p. 56 And finally, Iran’s perception of the West is just as hostile. Iranian school books equal the United States with “the Great Satan.” Westernization receives a special label in Persian, known as Gharbzadegi, which literally means being smitten with the West in a way that corrupts the soul. “Westernization is treated as an ominous danger targeting Islamic identity.” (The War Curriculum in Iranian Schoolbooks p.162) Is it any wonder that Iran and most of its population of 74 million residents determinedly supports the Hamas regim? After all the Iranian national education system and religious institutions for the past thirty years has indoctrinated a hate education against Israel and the West. The question is-- what will President Obama be willing to believe of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should he engage in direct talks, as Iranian financial aid and rockets continue to strengthen Hamas and Hezbollah. And will Israel be pressured to talk to Hamas in the same fashion?Obama is trying to emulate both FDR and Abraham Lincoln, but in reality he is emulating Neville Chamberlain. Obama has gone down a path that will not bring peace to the region, but I do invision him stepping down from Air Force One in the future, waving a piece of paper, and shouting: "We now have peace in our lifetime." The word for that is appeasement and surrender. And neither one is an option. Like always I ask my readers to say a prayer or Psalm 130 for the people of Sderot, to subscribe to the Code Red alerts, contact your Representatives in Congress and the President, and if they can to send a donation to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post and follow the instructions there. But don't stand idly by.