UPDATE (12:30 am Thursday): The ceasefire continues . . . at least on Israel’s side. Since the last update there has been a report of a Qassam fired at Sderot. The latest absurd pronouncement from the IDF/government: “At this time Israel will not respond to the rockets launched at Israel’s south since the ceasefire took effect . . . after each round of escalations we see what is known as a ‘tail’ – a few hours during which there is still some fire, as if to show that they have the last word.” As always, the IDF will use any excuse to do nothing.
UPDATE: (10:00 pm Wednesday): The ceasefire continues. Three Grad rockets were fired at Beersheva by terrorists an hour and a half ago. Two were shot down by the Iron Dome system. One got through. Prior to that, terrorists attemped to shoot mortars at communities across the border–but they misfired, hitting Gazan territory instead.
UPDATE (5:00 pm Wednesday): The ceasefire continues. An incoming missile warning for Sha’ar Hanegev 1 minute ago. Another incoming missile alarm for the Negev Regional Council at 4:33 pm. “Huge explosions” reported in Ashdod at 3:49. Incoming rockets for Sderot at 1:13.
Speaking in the Knesset this afternoon, PM Netanyahu had this to say: “Israel has the right to defend itself against all threats… but there is no such thing as hermetic protection against rockets.”
Let me repeat that again: “There is no such thing as hermetic protection against rockets.”
Your humble servant would like to briefly explore today what this statement of Netanyahu actually means and just how ridiculous it actually is.
On the face of it, the statement is a stark admission that Israel cannot protect its own citizens. Netanyahu’s words are clear: the citizens of southern Israel, who have been the continuing victims of missile attacks for almost a decade, had better get used to it. There is nothing that Israel can do to stop the rockets.
Those citizens must now constantly live with the full knowledge that at any time of their day their lives can be disrupted by blaring incoming rocket sirens announcing that terrorists in Gaza have launched a missile to try to kill them. Those citizens can never get a full night’s sleep, can never be sure that their children are safe in their school, can never celebrate a wedding or bar mitzvah–without worrying that at any second the sirens can go off again.
Put simply, Netanyahu is telling the citizens of the South that they can never relax and live a normal life.
It is a patently false, disingenuous, and absurd statement–and everyone here in Israel knows it.
The day, the hour, the minute, the second that the terrorists in Gaza fire a missile that hits Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, there will be an all-out assault on Gaza. Israelis know it, and the terrorists know it. Why do you think that the Hamas/Islamic Jihad/PRC/Fatah-PLO-PA/Al-Aksa terrorist groups did not fire any of their Iranian Fajr missiles at Tel Aviv or Jerusalem in the latest spike in missile fire this weekend?
Because they knew and know that Israel would respond with devastating force (or at least with as much devastating force as it can muster these days under the pusillanimous leadership of Ehud Barak and Benny Gantz).
The truly sad element of Netanyahu’s statement is that it reinforces the growing schism between the citizens of southern Israel and the citizens of the rest of the country. Yesterday, the following petition appeared online:
אנו, תושבי הדרום מוחים על הפקרת הביטחון שלנו על ידי הממשלה. לצערנו הממשלה הנוכחית כמו קודמתה לא השכילה לפתור את בעיית שיגורי הרקטות/פצמ”רים על יישובי הדרום, ולאחרונה אף הגדילו לעשות נבחרי העם היושבים בי-ם (וחלקם בקריה) והחליטו בעצם לא לעשות כלום. לאחרונה ההתעלמות ממצב הביטחון בדרום מרקיעה שחקים, ואם כבר נזכרים להגיב (וזה כמעט לא קורה) אנו תושבי הדרום איננו קונים את אחיזת העיניים בתגובות עקרות וחסרות משמעות בדמות הפצצת מנהרות נטושות ובתים נטושים, גם אם קוראים להם מוקד לייצור אמצעי לחימה ומנהרת הברחה.
אנו, תושבי הדרום, קוראים לכם כמנהיגי הדרום בעיריות ובמושבים לגלות אחריות כלפי התושבים שאותם אתם מייצגים ולהחרים את שרי וחברי הכנסת כאות מחאה על התעלמותם. לא להזמינם לטכסים, לאירועים, לשבתות תרבות ולאירועים פומביים אלה ואחרים. אנו, התושבים, מאסנו בהצהרות חסרות הכוונה שלהם ואיננו רוצים לשמש תפאורה לפוליטיקה הזולה שלהם. אם תרצו לדון איתם בנושא זה או אחר עשו זאת בלישכותיכם, אל תיתנו להם כר לפרוס את המצע שלהם לשימוש הפוליטי והתקשורתי שלהם בפנינו.
תושבי הדרום החתומים
(גם תושבי שאר מדינת ישראל הרוצים להביע תמיכה וסולידריות בתושבי יישובי הדרום מוזמנים לחתום על עצומה זו)
Your humble servant’s poor translation:
We, the residents of the south, are protesting the abandonment of our security by the government, a government, like its predecessor, that has unfortunately failed to solve the problem of rocket and mortar attacks on southern communities.
More recently, our leaders consist of elected representatives and IDF leaders who sit in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and do nothing. Ignoring the out of control security situation in South as much as possible, and almost never responding, these leaders should know that we people of the South are not buying their trickery and empty responses such as bombing tunnels and abandoned buildings (even if the IDF calls them “centers of weapons production” and “smuggling tunnels”).
We, the people of the South, urge you as leaders of the Southern Municipalities responsible for the people you represent to boycott the ministers and Knesset members in protest of their disregard.
Do not invite them to ceremonies, events, or any public events—which could become the setting for their cheap politics. If you want to discuss with them about what is going on in the South, do so in their offices; again, do not give them a comfortable pillow to rest on here in the South where they can deploy their disingenuous political and media platform.
The citizens of southern Israel and those wishing to show solidarity.
Please help us spread the petition.
Your humble servant is doing just that today–spreading the petition.
Click on this link: http://www.atzuma.co.il/southunderrackets1. I encourage you to sign the petition whether you are from southern Israel or not.
When you click on the link, you will note that the form on the right has four lines: line 1 name, line 2 age, line 3 address, box 4 comment. (Of course you are not required to fill out your full name or age).
What have you done for Israel today?