UPDATES 6 am Israel time, Friday, July 11 2014:
**Due to the overwhelming number of volleys of Palestinian terrorist missiles last night around 8 pm which targeted virtually all of the central and southern country, it is difficult to give a precise number of missiles that struck Israel yesterday.
The most conservative numbers we have are that there were 75 separate missile attacks from Gaza involving 283 missiles. These numbers are bound to increase as different communities report in today.
The hardest hit areas all day were again Sha’ar Hanegev and Sderot. However, the burst of some 50 missiles at the Beersheva area between 7 pm and 8 pm was notable as were the volleys fired here at Ashdod thereafter. (To see a video shot by your humble servant over our house here in Ashdod last night, click here: what you will see are the Iron Dome interceptors going up to intercept the incoming missiles from Gaza–be sure to watch the video until the end–the last 10 seconds are quite extraordinary).
What was also notable was the fact that all of Israel is now vulnerable. Haifa, Zichron Yaacov, Hadera, Tel Aviv, Arad, Dimona, Mitzpe Ramon, Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh–the list goes on and on. All in all, it was a bad day for Israel.
Large numbers of Israelis have been treated by MADA for post traumatic stress. Fewer than 20 have been physically wounded–the most serious of which have involved elderly people trying to run to bomb shelters.
**There were extremely dangerous “non-missile” incidents yesterday. In one at a checkpoint on Trans-Samaria Highway 5, alert soldiers spotted a suspicious vehicle. Upon inspection, they found it was loaded with a fuel bomb; the Palestinian driver admitted during interrogation that he was on his way to blow up the car in Israel.
Also there were reports of attempted kidnappings of Israeli soldiers from several areas. Fortunately, they were all thwarted.
**There are no reports at this hour of Israeli actions in Gaza overnight though we heard continuous planes headed that way all night long.
**Where do we stand this morning? Numerous “do-gooders” from Vladimir Putin to Barack Obama are attempting to mediate a truce. Publicly at least, neither Israel nor Hamas seems to by buying the idea.
As the massive missile onslaught continues, it seems somewhat more likely that Israel will have to launch a ground campaign–not to retake Gaza, but to ferret out the rocket launchers.
TODAY’S BLOG (11 am Friday):
Thus far we have had a slow morning with “only” twelve missile attacks against Israel by the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. The hardest hit location so far today is right here in Ashdod with 7 missiles being fired in a volley at 8 am.
The Iron Dome seems to have intercepted at least 6 of those, but the one that got through hit a parked gasoline truck at a gasoline station in town. In the ensuing blast, from which black smoke is still billowing across the city, 3 people were wounded–1 seriously.
This follows the attack we had last night for which I provided the link to the video I shot while it was beginning. The sequence of events was that as we stood on our rooftop the sirens went off; then I scanned the sky for missiles; following a few seconds you will then see the first and then the second interceptor missile from the Iron Dome.
I had expected the first interceptor to fly over the house, but instead it stopped directly over the house and began to spiral downward at which time my wife and I decided we needed to run downstairs to our bomb shelter. You will note that the screen goes black, but wait until the last 10 seconds of the video at which time you see all of the other interceptor missiles proceeding in a line overhead.
Before we could get to the bomb shelter, the explosive intercepts were thunderously shaking the house. We got into the shelter just as the last huge concussive explosion sounded. That explosion blew up three cars parked about three blocks here–turning them into a fireball.
Your humble servant believes that all of the missile strikes of the last two days have had a profound impact on the psychology of everyday Israelis.
Even though there has been relatively little damage and few wounded, Hamas has succeeded in showing that:
—it can accurately hit any Israeli community south of Haifa
—it can fire massive salvos of missiles at one time, more than sufficient to overcome the Iron Dome system
The net result is that we all now feel completely exposed and vulnerable. It’s bad enough that we all have to run to our bomb shelters (one elderly woman in Haifa died on the way to hers this morning), but the thought that we will live the rest of our lives at the caprice of terrorists in Gaza is unacceptable.
We all feel that the Hamas capability to fire missiles in Gaza must be eliminated.
To this end, your humble servant would like to propose a three point plan for beginning to accomplish this:
1. Israel must immediately stop supplying the enemy. It is remarkably insane that Israel is actually supplying the electrical power that is operating the huge hydraulic missile launchers in Gaza that are firing volleys at us. It is remarkably insane that Israel is supplying 200,000 liters of gasoline per day to the terrorists. It is remarkably insane that Israel is facilitating the money supply of Hamas.
All of this insanity must stop immediately. We don’t win any “brownie points” in international community for doing this, and we call into question the very existence of our country.
2. Israel must close the border crossings with Gaza permanently for so-called “humanitarian” activities–which are nothing more than activities normally funded and carried out by European NGOs to build up the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas. If there are medical reasons that would a necessitate a Palestinian being treated at a medical facility in Israel fine. But no other cross-border activity should be permitted.
Israel must divorce itself from Gaza immediately.
3. Israel must change its military tactics vis a vis the rocket launchers. If Israel knows that rockets are being fired from a building or house, that building or house must be destroyed. If the people in the building or house–who also obviously know that their residences are being used to commit war crimes against Israel–refuse to leave their residences to walk across the street after being warned by Israeli phone calls and flyers, then they deserve whatever they get.
Israel will be roundly condemned in the international community for hitting these buildings and houses, but so what? We are roundly condemned everyday in the international anyway for everything for blowing our noses to eating humous.
The point is that not one Israeli soldier should enter Gaza in a ground operation until the rocket launchers have been wiped out from the air.
It is now 10:48 am Friday morning here on a brightly sunny day in Ashdod. We have just had our 3rd missile attack of the morning–with 4 missiles intercepted over Ashdod.