UPDATE: 10:13 pm: Missile that hit Ashkelon at 5:05 pm was a “phosphorous” Grad.
UPDATE 8:19 pm: Iron Dome intercepts incoming Grad terrorist missiles over Beersheva. Qassam hits near Sderot.
UPDATE: 5:35 PM: SOUTHERN ISRAEL UNDER ATTACK AGAIN. ESHKOL REGION AND NAHAL OZ CURRENTLY BEING HIT BY TERRORIST ROCKET FIRE FROM GAZA. ASHKELON HIT AGAIN AT 5:05 PM.
UPDATE 3:36 PM: Incoming terrorist rockets in south Ashkelon Beach Area. Two rocket explosions reported in Gan Yavne at 3:31 pm.
UPDATE 9:45 am: Apparent ceasefire in effect. However, loud explosions in northern Gaza 7 minutes ago.
Nearly 90 Palestinian rockets have slammed into the communities of southern Israel since Saturday evening. They have killed one Israeli in Ashkelon, physically wounded at least 75, and exacted an emotional toll on the 1,000,000 of us who live here in the South.
Yet another meaningless ceasefire, the third in 24 hours, is currently in effect–the last rocket being fired at about 12:30 am this morning. Our Israeli Army, ironically called the Israel “Defense” Force, has told us that our children can return to their kindergartens and that our weddings can take place again. Our hollow leaders including Netanyahu, Peres, Barak, and Gantz are all out with new hollow threats this morning against Hamas–warning them “if you do this again, just see what will happen next time!”
Your humble servant can tell you, dear readers, what will happen next time: absolutely, positively nothing.
What have we learned here in southern Israel over the weekend?
1. The IDF General Staff is terrified of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The only Israeli military force that is allowed to attack Gaza is the Israeli Air Force–and then only in very limited attacks on missile launchers in the process of launching their missiles. Even though our individual IDF soldiers are as brave and ready to fight as ever to defend this country, the IDF has lost all semblance of being a deterrent force because of its pusillanimous General Staff.
By yesterday, IDF spokesmen were even excusing the Grad rocket that struck Ashdod last Wednesday starting everything by saying that “the IDF now understands” that rocket was part of an Islamic Jihad anniversary celebration of its founder’s death 16 years ago. Why is the IDF endlessly looking for reasons why missiles are launched? What difference does it possibly make? The point is that the Islamic terrorist bad guys want to kill us.
2. The Israeli government, beginning with Benjamin Netanyahu, is paralyzed by an irrational belief that Israel can do nothing in Gaza without gaining Egyptian approval. The weekend scenes of Israelis flying to Cairo to beg the Egyptians to mediate a ceasefire, and the subsequent declarations of the Egyptians that they had ordered Israel not to attack Gaza were nauseating.
Everything must be sacrificed on the altar of possible good relations with an as yet unelected new Egyptian government (which almost certainly will be even more stridently anti-Israel than the current temporary one)–including the lives of all of us in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Gan Yavne, Ofakim, Kiryat Malachi, Yad Mordechai and a hundred other communities in the South.
3. The Iron Dome is nothing more than a piece of technology: sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Unfortunately for us in the South, it didn’t work on Saturday because of a “malfunction in its radar”. For every missile it shot down on Saturday and Sunday, 15 got through.
You may not remember, but back when the Iron Dome system was being developed, critics pointed out that all Hamas and Hezbollah had to do to overwhelm the system was fire large numbers of rockets. Saturday and Sunday proved those critics correct. Imagine what would have happened if 10 times that many rockets had been fired.
4. Gradually, without anyone paying attention and due to IDF inaction, all of Israel has come into missile range. When sirens sounded in Rishon and Rehovot, Israelis were shocked. When Hamas and Islamic Jihad say that the next round of missile fire will strike deeper into Israel, and when Hezbollah says that the next round of missile attacks from them will begin in Tel Aviv, they are not kidding.
5. Any illusion of the solidarity of Israeli citizens in the face of an imminent and ongoing threat was shattered on Saturday night in Tel Aviv. As important as the social protests are, the protestors should have called them off when 1,000,000 of their fellow citizens were under fire. Instead, we had the narcissistic and absurd spectacle of protestors actually suggesting that somehow Israel, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas were all acting in collusion to deny them airtime on Israeli television.
If there is any bright spot about the weekend, it is the solidarity of the citizens here in the South. As your humble servant walked around his neighborhood last night, everyone was more closely bonded than ever–and unanimous in the opinion that Israel must do something to stop this from continuing to happen over and over and over and . . .