UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Friday, August 15 2014:
**The events of yesterday morning are a perfect example of how the Israeli government and the IDF are once again colluding to obscure the truth of what is happening in the South.
At 10:03 am, incoming missile sirens went off in the Gaza border communities, focused in Kerem Shalom, Netsarim, and Shlomit. About 5 minutes later, local police reported that missiles had struck “open areas” near those communities. About 5 minutes after that, the IDF spokesman said that the sirens were “false alarms”. About 5 minutes after that, the local police changed their story and said that the sirens were indeed false alarms and that no explosions had taken place.
The only problem was that numerous local residents heard and saw the explosions.
Even worse, at 10:05 am, there was another missile attack on the Gedera area, focused on a military installation that will remain nameless here. In this case, there were no alarms whatsoever, and we would not even know it happened were it not for the reportage of local residents who heard the two missile impact explosions.
This is what the coming days, weeks, and months will be like. There will be an endless parade of “false alarms” which of course are not really false at all. They are false because the Netanyahu government and the IDF General Command do not want the people of Israel to know what is really going on.
It is an old game that Netanyahu and Gantz have reverted to again.
**By now, you undoubtedly know, dear reader, that the fiasco concerning the sale of Hellfire missiles to Israel by the U.S. is even worse than reported yesterday.
Despite idiotic State Department protestations to the contrary, the decision of the White House and State Department to halt the sale was unprecedented because it occurred in the middle of the Israel-Hamas war. At the very moment when Israeli soldiers were in Gaza poised to strike at the heart of Hamas, the sale of the missiles for Israel’s combat helicopters was halted.
As a points of comparison, consider:
Three weeks ago, President Obama and John Kerry sold 11 billion dollars worth of military weapons to Hamas sponsor Qatar. The weapons included: 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems, 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles (of the type used against IDF forces in Gaza), and 24 Apache helicopters.
Two weeks ago, President Obama and John Kerry sold 4 billion dollars worth of military weapons to Hamas sponsor Turkey–home of the violently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Turkish PM Taycip Erdogan.
Also two weeks ago, President Obama and John Kerry decided to sell 5000 Hellfire missiles to the deteriorating government in Iraq.
One week ago, President Obama and John Kerry decided to sell 12 Black Hawk helicopters to Tunisia.
President Obama and John Kerry–arming Israel’s adversaries to the teeth while denying weapon sales to Israel in the midst of a war: what better friends could Israel possibly have?
It was a great night in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Plaza with about 25,000 fellow residents of the South and other parts of the country showing solidarity with Israelis who live on the border with Gaza. We chanted our messages, waved our banners, and listened to speeches from some of our local political leaders.
Did we have any impact? Yes and no.
Your humble servant would have to say that perhaps the reality of the new situation in the South in which we are no longer willing to sit idly by while Hamas missiles and mortars hit us every day was brought home to the rest of the country.
On the other hand, none of us is delusional enough to think that Netanyahu and his Security Cabinet will ever give more than lip service to the unending warfare on the Gaza border communities. Nothing will ever change in the government until we vote Netanyahu out and representatives from the South in.
Even yesterday, in advance of the rally, we had Netanyahu blathering once again that “Israel will respond forcefully to every rocket and missile that Hamas sends.” Do you have any idea, dear reader, how many times Netanyahu has said that before? Does Netanyahu have any idea just how hollow his words have become?
The mood of the crowd last night was defiant and best reflected by the remarks of Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi:
“This is not a political issue. This is not right and lefts It is elementary. We want to live in quiet and safety. We are tired of promises and statements, and fear political agreements which again will end in a compromise on our lives and our future.
14 years of shooting rockets at us. Over time, it has become government policy for “a drizzle” of missiles and mortars to be acceptable. We will no longer accept the situation. Our blood is not for the taking, and we are not willing to be subject to endless attempts to kill us by the terrorist organizations from Gaza.
Tonight we stand here together and say “No more!”
It was a great feeling that we in the South were finally being heard.
The sign below addresses the division that has come to exist between the southern part of the country and its center. The large sign reads: Alarm in Sderot = Alarm in Tel Aviv:
It was especially wonderful to see so many children in Rabin Plaza:.
A similar sentiment was expressed on this sign:
The following signs again stress that the South is our home:
But my personal favorite of the night, which happened to be in English, was:
Again, let’s hope that some of the amazing energy on display in Tel Aviv last night is translated into a recognition by the government that “things will never be the same.” The residents of the South will remain quiet no longer.