The view from my veranda

090111 Gaza Update 8

January 9th 2009

Shevua Tov

When faced with United Nations Resolution 1860 which calls for an immediate ceasefire the Prime Minister responded by saying that Israel will continue to everything necessary to defend her citizens. When one considers that Israel, not Hamas, is deemed accountable to the UN resolution I believe his statement is highly responsible.

The war against Hamas continues, and the IDF has had some major successes in rooting out both arsenals and gun-running tunnels along the Gaza Egypt border, known as the Philadelphi Route. Residents close to the Philadelphi Route have made an estimated $650,000,000 – yes I do have the right number of zeroes – by allowing the tunnels to be built under their homes toward the Egyptian border where the Iranian donated armaments and explosives are smuggled into Gaza. Apparently the relative riches are more important than the safety of ones family. On the other hand I doubt that anyone had a choice. Please read this article by Jerusalem Post Editor in Chief David Horovitz

Jerusalem responded to the residents of Sderot by inviting their children for days out in the City and for Sderots traders to come to sell their goods in Jerusalem. On my last visit to the Jerusalem Mall there were stalls of every possible variety and the shoppers were enthusiastically browsing their wares. Suddenly, someone dropped a plank and it made a load bang – the Jerusalemites turned curiously to see what happened, the Sderot residents visibly flinched and ducked until they realise it was a plank. Yet again it brought back the constant trauma of a 15 second warning “Tseva Adom” red alert, before the missiles hit and the meaning of a loud bang in Sderot.

We were all horrified to see this video of a Hamas operative dragging a child into a position of danger to protect himself and provide greater numbers of civilian “victims”
and Hamas map with rocket launchers and arsenals pinpointed in densely populated areas

Dana Bar-on from Kibbutz Nir-Am, a wonderful pastoral village whose only disadvantage is that it is adjacent to the Gaza border, decided to express her feelings about the unpredictability of life under the barrage of rockets from Hamas onto Israeli civilians. Unable to suppress her emotions Dana helps us to go beyond sympathy and feel deep empathy for those who have bravely withstood this inhuman barrage and to understand why we have to end it.

The supermarket chain “Mega” decided to support the people of Israel who are in the line of fire and their stores in Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba and now Yavneh will sell all fruit and vegetables for a mere 95 agurot a kilo (about 30 cents for 2.2 pounds) and will provide free delivery so people do not need to leave the safety of their homes or workplace to come to the stores. What a marvellous idea!

I added Yavneh to the list of towns being terrorised. The Grad rockets (missiles) are reaching further and further and it is becoming evident that the intended target is the Israeli Nuclear Research Station in Dimona. My machetainista (a wonderful Yiddish word which means ones child’s in laws) Galia is the very level-headed Headmistress of a High School in Yavneh. On Shabbat she took her dogs for a walk and suddenly there was a “Tseva Adom” the 15 second warning of a rocket; terrified she didn’t know what to do when suddenly she saw a synagogue. Of course she dived in and followed the community to their bomb shelter underneath, talk about finding solace in a place of worship!I promised her that next Shabbat she and all the family are having Shabbat lunch with us and staying over if they wish!

Thanks to Mark Katz for this snippet which amazed me…. a good news item from the Beeb (BBC) about the major Rally held in Trafalgar Square in London. I guess this shows the difference more than any violent outburst by pro-Hamas demonstrators.
Yet another surprise from the BBC came on their famous radio panel debate which included representatives of the Liberal Democrats (left), New Labour, Conservative and prolific writer and critic AN Wilson, normally very anti-Israel. The debate was Israel’s action in Gaza against Hamas. Teh Lib-dem was predictably anti and the Labour and Conservative predictably supportive of Israel – then came the chance of AN Wilson to speak and he did – IN FAVOUR OF ISRAEL’S FIGHT AGAINST HAMAS! Thanks Gideon for telling me about it!

Israelis are resilient, we do not cave in under pressure and we do not avoid our enemies hoping they will go away – they don’t. We still visited friends over the weekend and friends came to visit us. Conversations range from “Should the elections be deferred”? to “You cannot tell me in all honesty that you watch the reality show Big Brother”! I don’t know about where you live but here the reality shows have become a huge hit with 40% of Israelis watching the last series of Big Brother. The anti-hero star was a simple opinionated man called Bubli who showed his deep distaste for Ashkenazis – to a shocking extent. Last night we had two businessmen, a serious journalist, a physician and other supposedly intelligent people (me included) discussing how much we didn’t watch the programme!!!! So you see, we do talk of normal things and argue about Bubli. In fact, our lives would be supremely normal if we were allowed to be. Nothing would please us more than a little bit of ennui.

So let’s pray for boredom and an Israel where teenage girls do not sob in fear of yet another rocket attack and tradesmen don’t duck for cover when a plank drops.
with love