Monday, May 25, 2009

Before pressing Israel, world must address continued rocket attacks

By Findalis From the Sderot Media Center

by Jacob Shrybman A few days ago I was relaxing in my first-floor apartment in Sderot when there was a loud knock on my door. The government contractor tasked with building private bomb shelters attached to each unit in the building came to check my apartment. All across the city, private bomb shelters are popping up like spring flowers and are being utilized as the Color Red alarms continue to sound. As Netanyahu gears up for his monumental visit to discuss the Middle East peace process with US President Barack Obama, are international leaders aware that terrorist rocket fire against Israeli civilians has not stopped? As southern Israel prepares for the next barrage of rockets, the international media and leaders hype this visit to be of vital importance to a peace agreement. On May 4th The New York Times ran an article titled “Addressing US, Hamas Says it Grounded Rockets,” noting that only six rockets were fired at Israel in April. On May 5th Ynetnews ran an article titled “Dramatic Drop in Qassam Fire,” reporting that only 8 rockets were fired in April. However, with a simple phone call to the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson, the only in-the-field source, I was given the official military count of 23 rockets and 3 mortar shells for the month of April, significantly more than what was reported in the media. The world is being led to believe that the rockets have stopped when in fact there have been over 200 rockets since the ceasefire began on January 18th. Working in Sderot for the Sderot Media Center, I knew that there were more than eight rockets last month. I began to track down the statistics and their sources. The reporter at Ynetnews cited the Shin Bet as its source. So why is there is such a discrepancy between what I and the army see on the ground and report day-to-day, and what some Israeli officials and the news media are reporting to the world? Are Israeli and international politicians suggesting that Operation Cast Lead completely thwarted the threat from Hamas and Iran in the Gaza Strip? Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the so-called moderate Fatah, which proudly paint their rockets yellow to distinguish them from Hamas’ red and green, announced in the last week of April that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. With such a definitive proclamation against a peaceful solution, with whom are Israeli and international leaders pushing the Jewish State to come to an agreement? The rockets fired at Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip by the Iranian-funded terrorist organization Hamas have not stopped. International leaders and the news media need to stop presenting statistics that foment this fallacy in the effort to force an agreement that will not bring shalom or salaam, but rather, be a mere piece of paper. All one needs to do is come to my first floor apartment in Sderot to be awakened to this continued reality of rockets.
Only a few rockets, as if that makes it better. Perhaps the editors of the New York Times, Huffington Post or Daily Kos wouldn't mind a few rockets being fired into their homes on a daily basis. How long would it be before they raised their voices in protest against such action? A day? A week? A month? A year? 5 years? 8 years? Especially if the local authorities did nothing to stop the rocket attacks. Then they would understand the fustration that the citizens of Sderot feel.

by Anav Silverman A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza slammed between two Sderot homes around 5:30 pm on Tuesday, May 19. The Tzeva Adom, Color Red siren blared twice in the city sending residents fleeing to area bomb shelters. After the second Color Red siren, an unusually loud explosion sounded throughout the city. The sound of the rocket explosion shocked no one more than Ilan Dahan. Ilan was sleeping when the Qassam rocket crashed into his backyard right outside his bedroom.
Shula Dahan, owner of damaged home, on the phone. Photo: Noam Bedein
“I slept right through the Color Red siren,” said Ilan. Ilan, dazed and shocked, guides us to his bedroom. His bed is full of broken glass, from a window right above the bed, which had shattered all over his back. "I felt the glass implode all over me," he said. “It’s a miracle that all I got was this small scratch,” Ilan told Sderot Media Center. A piece of broken glass struck Ilan’s back, leaving behind a red mark. Both Ilan’s parents were home when the rocket struck. His father raced into Ilan’s bedroom after the rocket struck, picked his son up and carried him outside to safety. “At that point, I didn’t even realize that the rocket hit right outside our home,” said Ilan, who is 18 and getting ready to enter the army. View the video here. Shula, Ilan’s mother, looks at her son tearfully. “I never expected this to happen to us during a ceasefire,” she said. The family was sitting outside in the front of the home to cool off from the heat of the evening when the siren sounded. “We didn’t react quickly enough to the siren,” said Shula. “If we had reacted, we would have raced to the back of the home where our new shelter is located. Most likely one of us would have been injured because the rocket exploded right outside the shelter.” The back of the Dahan’s home suffered severe damage from the rocket blast. Broken glass and debris litters the floor, while holes from rocket shrapnel rocket mark the ceiling and walls. Outside, the Dahan’s shelter is also covered with shrapnel marks.
Align CenterSderot home damaged in Qassam attack on Tuesday, May 19. Photo: Noam Bedein
The rocket explosion also damaged the home next to the Dahans. Family members from both sides suffered shock, as did neighbors further along the street. Several people were treated for trauma on the scene. The rocket attack comes around the same time that the Sderot Mental Health Center is shutting down. Dr. Adrianne Katz, the head of Sderot Mental Health told Sderot Media Center that the mental health center is closing due to budget cuts. The Sderot Mental Health Center has provided therapy treatments to thousands of Sderot trauma victims and has 5, 500 patients on file. The Gaza rocket attacks on Sderot come after the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday. During a White House press conference after the meeting, President Obama stated, that "there is a recognition that the Palestinians are going to have to do a better job providing the kinds of security assurances that Israelis would need to achieve a two-state solution, [and] gain additional legitimacy and credibility with their own people, and delivering services." Obama also added “that the situation in Sderot was unacceptable, and that he'd seen the situation there himself.” Indeed, when Obama visited Sderot last year, he stated in a Sderot press conference "I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope." He also stated that, "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." Tuesday marked the fifth month since the Hamas-Israel ceasefire in mid-January. During that time, over 210 rockets have been fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza at Israel.
Security officer digging for the Qassam with Sderot mayor, David Bouskilla upfront. Photo: Noam Bedein
Promises from then candidate Obama. Promises to secure the Jewish vote. But in reality Obama is anything but sympathetic to the plight of the people of Sderot and Israel. He is more concerned with his image and prestige in the Muslim world than any thing else. It is accepted in the Muslim world that there is only one solution to the problem, the total destruction of Israel, Western civilization, and the death to each Jew worldwide. That is the true goal of the OIC, Arab League, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Hizbollah. Yet President Obama ignores these facts and is committed to the fiction of a 2-State Solution. To achieve this aim President Obama has been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into making more concessions to the Arabs. Including giving away control of the most holiest sites in Judaism, The Temple Mount and The Kotel:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem Thursday night that the Israeli flag will continue to fly over the Western Wall (Kotel). The first prime minister in years to appear at the venerable yeshiva on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), he ignored U.S. President Barack Obama’s apparent trial balloon that he wants to see the United Nations flag fly over the Old City holy sites.
This is a proposal that will never be accepted by the Jewish Nation! Either President Obama is a dim-witted idiot or he is stupidly naive. You choose. Don't be silent on this. Do something. Write a letter to your local paper, call Congress in protest, call the President in disgust, or sign up for SMS Alerts. And please find it in your heart to donate to the Sderot Media Center. Without them, the people of Sderot would have no voice. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post.
And remember to keep the people of Sderot and Israel in your prayers.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton