Operation Defensive Pillar- Day 7- November 20th

A few minutes ago (16:00), a barrage of rockets hit Ashdod. Initial reports say that people were hurt.

Update- seven people were injured in this attack.

Update 18:23- Four civilians were injured when a rocket hit a residential building in the city of Rishon Letzion.

Last night, a rocket demolished an eighth-grade classroom in a school in Ashkelon. The school was empty at the time. Another school in Ashkelon was also hit earlier yesterday.

A rocket hits a classroom in Ashkelon, November 19th. Photo: screenshot, ynet.co.il

A rocket hits a classroom in Ashkelon, November 19th. Photo: screenshot, ynet.co.il

This morning, a rocket hit Be’er Sheva. The rocket destroyed a car and shrapnel hit a bus, carrying passengers.

A rocket hits Be’er Sheva, November 20th. Photo: Screenshot, ynet.co.il

Damage to a bus in a rocket attack in Be’er Sheva, November 20th. Photo: screenshot, ynet.co.il

For the past three hours (13:00-16:00) I have again written down all the alarms sounded, as they were reported on the radio. During that time, I myself had to grab my dog and run down to the shelter when a siren sounded here in Jerusalem. A barrage of three rockets was fired in the direction of Jerusalem during the UN’s General Secretary, Ban Ki-Mun, was meeting with Israeli FM, Avigdor Lieberman. According to reports, the rockets fell between two Palestinian villages in the vicinity of Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem.

List of alarms reported on Galgalatz radio station between 13:00-16:00, November 20th:

13:16- Siren in Kisufim

13:25- Siren in Ofakim, Maslul, Pduyim, Ranen, Eshel Hanasi, Bitkha, Gilat, Tifrach and Urim

13:26- Siren in Kfar Aza, Sa’ad, Zimrat, Shuva, Kfar Maimon, Shokeda and Tushiya

13:33- Siren in Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara

13:47- Siren in Eshel Hansi, Bitkha, Gilat and Tifrach

13:48- Siren in Ofakim, Maslul, Pduyim and Ranen

13:50- Siren in Holit, Nir Yitzhak and Sufa

14:11- Siren in Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara

14:11- Siren in Kerem Shalom

14:14- Siren in Jerusalem area

(spent 10 minutes in the shelter, missed whatever sirens that were reported during that time)

14:28- Siren in Zikim and Karmia

14:38- Siren in Ofakim, Eshel Hanasi and Tifrach

14:38- Siren in Urim and Patish

14:38- Second siren in Ofakim

14:45- Siren in Sufa and Nir Yitzhak

14:48- Siren in Ashkelon

14:48- Siren Geha, Mavkiim, Talmei Yafe, Zikim

14:49- Siren in Yad mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara

14:50- Siren in Sufa, Nir Yitzhak, Kerem Shalom and Eshkol regional council

15:15- Siren in Holit, Sufa and Kerem Shalom

15:17- Siren in Be’eri

15:23- Siren in Sufa and Eshkol regional council

15:27- Siren in Ad Halom industrial zone, Ashdod, Bnei Darom, Ashdodim, Be’er Tuvia and Hof Ashkelon regional council

15:28- Siren in Kvutzat Yavne, Beit Elazari and Gedera

15:48- Siren in Nirim, Nir Am and Sderot

15:55- Siren in Ashdod, Ad Halom industrial zone and Be’er Tuvia regional council

15:56- Siren in Nitzan

15:57- Siren in Nitzanim

Update (19:26)- over the past minutes the frequency of siren reports has gone up dramatically. This may be due to two considerations made by Hamas: 1. Television prime time and the evening news at 20:00. 2. Reports of an impending cease fire which may go into effect tonight. If they have to stop firing for a few days, they want to give us a grande finale.

***

  Israel’s leaders are standing before a decision, whether to accept an offer of cease fire brokered by Egypt or to deepen Operation Defensive Pillar and to enter Gaza with ground forces. 75,000 reserve troops have been mobilized and are standing by for their orders.

 If Israel accepts the cease fire, we have to ask whether it will be honored. Past experience says it won’t be. Hamas will once again regroup and rearm (already a fresh shipment of Fajr 5 missiles is on its way from Iran) and continue the rocket fire in a few weeks time. Then Netanyahu’s government will be faced with the dilemma: how long do we wait before starting a new operation?

 The answer should be obvious: one rocket is reason enough to restart the operation. But sadly, this answer is not obvious. This one rocket will most likely fall close to the Israeli elections. The government will not want to risk throwing the whole country into turmoil again right before an election by responding, and one rocket will go unanswered. When the second rocket falls, the government won’t want to respond, because “what will the world say?”, and the IDF will make do with bombing the terrorist squad who launched the missile. Before long, we will be back to “business as usual” as we have been time and time again. Rockets will be falling on a daily basis, but only on towns such as Sderot or Netiv Ha’asara. When a rocket hits one of the larger cities, such as Ashkelon or Be’er Sheva, there will be public outcry, but by then it will be too late. At that point, only a full fledged operation will be enough to change anything, and the cycle will begin again.

 The 17th century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, wrote in his book “The Leviathan” about the need for a ruler which would rein in people’s natural tendencies to do harm to one another in order to benefit themselves.

 “For the laws of nature, as justice, equity, modesty, mercy, and, in sum, doing to others as we would be done to, of themselves, without the terror of some power to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our natural passions, that carry us to partiality, pride, revenge, and the like. And covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.” (Leviathan, Ch. XXVII)

Hobbes prescribes giving our private sovereignty over to a strong leader, who is capable of dealing out punishment severe enough to make it not worthwhile for people to harm others. The punishment must be greater than the gain from the crime.

Hobbes was talking about a leader and his kingdom, but the basic principle is relevant here: Does Hamas know that the punishment it will receive for breaking a cease fire agreement is greater than the gains? If we take into account the fact that Hamas’s founding charter expressly says that Hamas’s main objective is the destruction of Israel, is the threat of a few air strikes great enough to deter them? If we take into account that Hamas terrorists are more than willing to give up their own lives as well as their neighbors’ children’s lives in their fight to achieve their goal, is the threat of Israel shooting back great enough to deter them? Probably not.

***

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the survey conducted among Israelis which gained worldwide attention for exposing “racist tendencies” and “support of apartheid”. I wrote then that Israel has been at war with the Palestinians for over 60 years, and that I would find it highly surprising if there weren’t any bad feelings towards them. The Arabs living in Israel are part of the “Palestinian people” and quite often identify with them. Is it surprising that many Israelis do not trust Arabs living in Israel?

Yesterday (November 19th), a friend sent me a photo of a pamphlet that his friend in Jerusalem received in the mail. It was in Arabic and he wanted me to translate it for him. My Arabic isn’t perfect and I needed a dictionary for a lot of it, but this is what the pamphlet said:

Strike at the face of the war machine

            To our dear students,

Our Palestinian nation in the Gaza strip has been subjected over the past few days to Israeli war-mongering hostilities, which has targeted our strong standing before the siege and the strong standing of the heroic resistance. When it stands before the Israeli war and killing machine, before the treachery of the world’s formal stance, as well as the Arab and Palestinian stance.

Our brothers in Gaza did not end the war in 2009. On the contrary, the Occupation continues with its military operations, targeting civilians and turning the Gaza strip into a giant prison. Over the past few days, the hostile and fascist policies have […?] and the government headed by the triumvirate of Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman has begun assassinating the commanders of the resistance and butchering civilians, as well as destroying homes, schools and medical training facilities.

The Israeli hostilities escalate day by day as they try to regain control and deterrence through bloodshed and sowing anarchy and destruction in Gaza. It desecrates all the laws and international conventions. It disregards all the human laws of life with dignity and freedom.

The youth, and especially students, are the basis of any popular movement, and therefore we must act swiftly to fight beside our people being killed and exiled through no fault of their own, and at this time the number of martyrs has reached 100, with hundreds of wounded, and the Occupation threatens more.

The Occupation has sunk to this hostility while using the false claim of protecting human life and depicts its hostilities as a war between two sides. But of course it is impossible to compare the victim with the executioner, or to compare the resistance which is risking its life in order to defend its people with an army which is committing heinous crimes of slaughter and [?] and waging war on an unarmed people.

Dear students,

In light of the heinous escalation, we invite you to take part in a demonstration of solidarity in order to strengthen the strong standing of our brothers in the Gaza Strip and to strengthen the heroic resistance, resisting the cruel Israeli hostility. The [demonstration] will take place on Tuesday, 20.11.2012, at 14:00 in front of the entrance to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Long live the resistance and eternal life to our righteous martyrs

The student bodies and organizations

The Hebrew University- Occupied Jerusalem

19.11.2012″

Photo of the letter distributed by Arab student organizations in Jerusalem

 

I may point out that all three campuses of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem are on land held by Israel before 1967. But that’s beside the point. The Arab students studying in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are protesting against the state that gave them their education and for the armed “resistance” firing rockets at Israeli civilians. If you were an Israeli, would you accept this? Would you be open and accepting of your Arab neighbors, who are calling on their brothers in Gaza to continue killing you?

When I studied in the Hebrew University a few years ago, I was on friendly terms with a number of the Arab students. I have no personal bad feelings toward them, but there are some things that are unacceptable.

***

Today on the Internet:

1.

An old acquaintance, who lives in the south now, came with a group of toddlers to Ra’anana in order to get some respite from the rockets and sirens. She filmed the children playing in the playground. The children play at “color red”, and run for shelter. This is all they know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmMgTJYMaOc&list=UUChNZjLmWytBnooWtibfwAQ

2.

A photo taken in Ofakim of a mother protecting her daughter during a rocket attack.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=250485508411532&set=a.171914952935255.35036.160286167431467&type=1&theater

3.

A photo taken in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Be’er Tuvia. The staff ran for shelter, and the ice cream ended up on the floor. If this isn’t a war crime, I don’t know what is.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=389993334410873&set=a.270022616407946.61972.269844029759138&type=1

4.

The reason Palestinian children are getting hurt. It may also be the reason why they keep missing Jerusalem.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151237060779780&set=a.81314604779.75456.736274779&type=1&theater

___________________________________________

Read all the updates on Operation Defensive Pillar:

Israel and Gaza- Operation Pillar of Defense- What is it all about?

Update- November 15th

Update- November 17th: Living under fire- I’m in range!

Operation Defensive Pillar- Update November 18th

Israel and Gaza, Day 6, November 19th

One game of scrabble, five rocket attacks (guest post)

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