Thursday, January 29, 2009

Open Letter to A Citizen Of Gaza

There is a well known saying of Golda Me'ir, a former Prime Minister of Israel who said of our Palestinian neighbors " we can forgive you for killing our children but we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children". There is a major untold story in the world media which they either know about and don't want to print or haven't taken the time to really understand the Israeli military philosophy.

Below is a letter which I received from a reserve soldier who served in Gaza. I think it shows something of our soldiers feelings which are so foreign to Hamas.


While the world watches the ruins in Gaza, you return to your home which remains standing. However, I am sure that it is clear to you that someone was in your home while you were away.
I am that someone.

I spent long hours imagining how you would react when you walked into your home. How you would feel when you understood that IDF soldiers had slept on your mattresses and used your blankets to keep warm.

I knew that it would make you angry and sad and that you would feel this violation of the most intimate areas of your life by those defined as your enemies, with stinging humiliation. I am convinced that you hate me with unbridled hatred, and you do not have even the tiniest desire to hear what I have to say. At the same time, it is important for me to say the following in the hope that there is even the minutest chance that you will hear me.

I spent many days in your home. You and your family’s presence was felt in every corner. I saw your family portraits on the wall, and I thought of my family. I saw your wife’s perfume bottles on the bureau, and I thought of my wife. I saw your children’s toys and their English language schoolbooks. I saw your personal computer and how you set up the modem and wireless phone next to the screen, just as I do.

I wanted you to know that despite the immense disorder you found in your house that was created during a search for explosives and tunnels (which were indeed found in other homes), we did our best to treat your possessions with respect. When I moved the computer table, I disconnected the cables and lay them down neatly on the floor, as I would do with my own computer. I even covered the computer from dust with a piece of cloth. I tried to put back the clothes that fell when we moved the closet although not the same as you would have done, but at least in such a way that nothing would get lost.

I know that the devastation, the bullet holes in your walls and the destruction of those homes near you place my descriptions in a ridiculous light. Still, I need you to understand me, us, and hope that you will channel your anger and criticism to the right places.

I decided to write you this letter specifically because I stayed in your home.

I can surmise that you are intelligent and educated and there are those in your household that are university students. Your children learn English, and you are connected to the Internet. You are not ignorant; you know what is going on around you.

Therefore, I am sure you know that Qassam rockets were launched from your neighborhood into Israeli towns and cities.

How could you see these weekly launches and not think that one day we would say “enough”?! Did you ever consider that it is perhaps wrong to launch rockets at innocent civilians trying to lead a normal life, much like you? How long did you think we would sit back without reacting?

I can hear you saying “it’s not me, it’s Hamas”. My intuition tells me you are not their most avid supporter. If you look closely at the sad reality in which your people live, and you do not try to deceive yourself or make excuses about “occupation”, you must certainly reach the conclusion that the Hamas is your real enemy.

The reality is so simple, even a seven year old can understand: Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, removing military bases and its citizens from Gush Katif. Nonetheless, we continued to provide you with electricity, water, and goods (and this I know very well as during my reserve duty I guarded the border crossings more than once, and witnessed hundreds of trucks full of goods entering a blockade-free Gaza every day).

Despite all this, for reasons that cannot be understood and with a lack of any rational logic, Hamas launched missiles on Israeli towns. For three years we clenched our teeth and restrained ourselves. In the end, we could not take it anymore and entered the Gaza strip, into your neighborhood, in order to remove those who want to kill us. A reality that is painful but very easy to explain.
As soon as you agree with me that Hamas is your enemy and because of them, your people are miserable, you will also understand that the change must come from within. I am acutely aware of the fact that what I say is easier to write than to do, but I do not see any other way. You, who are connected to the world and concerned about your children’s education, must lead, together with your friends, a civil uprising against Hamas.

I swear to you, that if the citizens of Gaza were busy paving roads, building schools, opening factories and cultural institutions instead of dwelling in self pity, arms smuggling and nurturing a hatred to your Israeli neighbors, your homes would not be in ruins right now. If your leaders were not corrupt and motivated by hatred, your home would not have been harmed. If someone would have stood up and shouted that there is no point in launching missiles on innocent civilians, I would not have to stand in your kitchen as a soldier.

You don’t have money, you tell me? You have more than you can imagine.

Even before Hamas took control of Gaza, during the time of Yasser Arafat, millions if not billions of dollars donated by the world community to the Palestinians was used for purchasing arms or taken directly to your leaders bank accounts. Gulf States, the emirates - your brothers, your flesh and blood, are some of the richest nations in the world. If there was even a small feeling of solidarity between Arab nations, if these nations had but the smallest interest in reconstructing the Palestinian people – your situation would be very different.

You must be familiar with Singapore. The land mass there is not much larger than the Gaza strip and it is considered to be the second most populated country in the world. Yet, Singapore is a successful, prospering, and well managed country. Why not the same for you?

My friend, I would like to call you by name, but I will not do so publicly. I want you to know that I am 100% at peace with what my country did, what my army did, and what I did. However, I feel your pain. I am sorry for the destruction you are finding in your neighborhood at this moment. On a personal level, I did what I could to minimize the damage to your home as much as possible.

In my opinion, we have a lot more in common than you might imagine. I am a civilian, not a soldier, and in my private life I have nothing to do with the military. However, I have an obligation to leave my home, put on a uniform, and protect my family every time we are attacked. I have no desire to be in your home wearing a uniform again and I would be more than happy to sit with you as a guest on your beautiful balcony, drinking sweet tea seasoned with the sage growing in your garden.

The only person who could make that dream a reality is you. Take responsibility for yourself, your family, your people, and start to take control of your destiny. How? I do not know. Maybe there is something to be learned from the Jewish people who rose up from the most destructive human tragedy of the 20th century, and instead of sinking into self-pity, built a flourishing and prospering country. It is possible, and it is in your hands. I am ready to be there to provide a shoulder of support and help to you.

But only you can move the wheels of history.”
Yishai, (Reserve Soldier)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is The EU Coming to its Senses?

In Jabaliya,Gaza, yesterday a senior EU official blasted the "abominable" destruction in the enclave and said that "the terrorist Hamas rulers bear overwhelming responsibility for the war."

"It is abominable, indescribable," said Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, after touring some of the worst-hit places in the territory.

"I intentionally say this here -- Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such. Blasting the scale of destruction in Gaza, Michel said the European Union, the main donor to the Palestinians, was sick of paying for the same infrastructure that's destroyed over and over again.

Just when will the European taxpayers realize how much of their money is going to waste. Hamas is insisting that all funds are channeled through them - how absurd to accept such a demand. but will the EU really stand by their commisioner? Let's wait and see.

As with Lebanon, the Iranians and Hizbollah rushed to "show" the population that they really cared and started handing over money very soon after the cease fire came into effect. Now Iran and Hamas are trying to do the same thing.

I believe the amount of video evidence of the cynical use of Gazans by Hamas will have some effect on the Gazans but whether they will be able to express themselves remains to be seen.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) has issued a report expressing its deep concern following verified information documented by its Gaza Program on attacks committed against citizens in the Gaza Strip by Hamas. ICHR demands that the deposed government in the Gaza Strip put an end to extra-judicial killings and assaults against citizens and their personal freedoms. ICHR also urges the deposed government to investigate these attacks and take expedite measures to prosecute perpetrators.

The report demands that
a) immediate measures be taken to put an end to extra-judicial killings and assailment on citizens.
b) an investigation be launched into all incidents of extra-judicial killings and assaults against citizens in the Gaza Strip. Offenders should be duly prosecuted and held accountable in accordance with the law.
c) rights of Palestinian citizens be safeguarded and the rule of law established and promoted.
d) the deposed government bear its assigned responsibility of providing security and safety to citizens.

Just how many Fatah supporters have been killed extra judicially? How many of the civilian death toll is the responsibility of Hamas?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The acusations against Israel are now coming in thick and fast. from "war crimes" to "illegal use of phosphorous bombs, "indiscriminately attacking civilians" ad nauseum.

Allan Dershowitz, the eminent internationally renowned lawyer writes "Every time Israel seeks to defend its civilians against terrorist attacks, it is accused of war crimes by various United Nations agencies, hard left academics and some in the media. It is a totally phony charge concocted as part of Hamas' strategy --supported by many on the hard left -- to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state."

"Israel is the only democracy in the world ever accused of war crimes when it fights a defensive war to protect its civilians. This is remarkable, especially in light of the fact that Israel has killed far fewer civilians than any other country in the world that has faced comparable threats. In the most recent war in Gaza fewer than a thousand civilians -- even by Hamas' skewed count -- have been killed. This, despite the fact that no one can now deny that Hamas had employed a deliberate policy of using children, schools, mosques, apartment buildings and other civilian areas as shields from behind which to launch its deadly anti-personnel rockets. "

"Just to take one comparison, consider the recent wars waged by Russia against Chechnya . In these wars Russian troops have killed tens of thousands of Chechnyan civilians, some of them willfully, at close range and in cold blood. Yet those radical academics who scream bloody murder against Israel (particularly in England) have never called for war crime tribunals to be convened against Russia. Nor have they called for war crime charges to be filed against any other of the many countries that routinely kill civilians, not in an effort to stop enemy terrorists, but just because it is part of their policy."

The full article can be read at The punch is in the last statement that should worry every citizen of the world. Dershowitz writes "If the laws of war in particular, and international human rights in general, are to endure, they must be applied to nations in order of the seriousness of theviolations, not in order of the political unpopularity of the nations. If the law of war were applied in this manner, Israel would be among the last, andcertainly not the first, charged".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Son Came Home

I received this letter from one of my correspondents this week and she gave me permission to print it. The stories of the war in Gaza are numerous but of course behind every soldier is a Mum who often has difficulty in containing her emotions.

I hope you appreciate the Mother's feelings

My son came home from Gaza just a few minutes ago. He came home as we had sent him off, only more tired, worn and dirty. Thank you Lord forbringing him home. To his wife, his brothers and sisters and his lovingbrood of nieces and nephews. All of us have been waiting patiently these past three weeks to hold him in our arms. Barely able to wait to embrace him, I ran across the highway where his ride had dropped him off. I grabbed him in the middle of the road and cars driving into my yishuv (village) had to veer around this sight of me standing on tiptoes reaching for my tall, handsome son's face. The drivers waved at us. A few rolled down heir windows to say "todah -- thank you" to my son. I whispered Todah again to the Lord.

I helped him toss his heavy bags into the trunk of the car. The heaviest among them being the one weighted down with foodstuffs that Israel's citizens sent to our soldiers. Tens of thousands of kilograms of foodpoured into the bases in the south. Cartons upon cartons of instantsoups, nuts, pretzels, cookies and nosh of every kind. All sent by individuals, families, schools and businesses from throughout the country. We could barely lift his 'booty' and we both shared a laugh as we flung it on to the back seat. The words that had been in my heart for so long melted on my tongue. My eyes drank him in, tall, bearded now and his face and soul, a bit darker than before he left us that Sunday morning. He reached his hand to his head and apologized for the fact that he was bareheaded. In the midst ofeverything his kippa had fallen off. "No matter -- easy enough to replace," I said as his hand slipped into mine.

I reached up to grab his neck and felt his lips touch my cheek, and I knew that his presence,like this, was all that I had prayed for each day since he packed his bags and left before the sun even rose that cold morning. I pulled in front of his apartment, a few kilometers from my home, and as we descended the steps I heard him speak gently and lovingly with his wife at work, telling her how anxious he was to see her.

He turned on the boiler and laughingly told me "I'm not getting out of this shower for the next hour." The bags fell to the floor and he leaned against the kitchen counter to untie his boots swiftly flinging them aside and letting his bare feet rest on the tile floor. He was exhausted and I hesitated to start with the barrage of questions that had been streaming through my head every day, every hour for these past few weeks. He smiled as he opened the bag of goodies and told me about the elementary school children from Mevasseret Zion who had attached notes with their gifts. He spoke with three of them to thank them personally. One child wrote a three page letter and the soldiers in my son's unit were grateful to learn more of this 8-year old's daily life, his favorites ubjects and his fondness for playstation. When they called to speak with him, he was overwhelmed and kept calling them "gibborim" heroes.

"Ima" he said, "I'm tired now, but I have to tell you how extraordinary this nation is. The children who wrote to us, the people who sent their good wishes with their packages of food, the businesses that sent truckloads of goods. The soldiers I served with, each one caring deeply about the other one. Zahal (the army) who made sure that we were well trained and well equipped for our mission. But mostly. Mostly. This was a war that was guided by the Hand of G'd. Everyday we felt His presence -- whether deciding to enter a building by smashing down the back wall rather than entering through the front door, only to discover that the front door had been booby trapped, or searching rooms in a house and uncovering a tunnel under a bed we had lifted where tens of Hamas terrorists were hiding in the hopes of kidnapping one of us, or dozens more stories."

I looked at this child's face and saw the extraordinary young man he had become. Filled with faith. Feeling a passion for those values that have held this nation together for thousands of years. And, his very presence. His very modesty. His deep felt pride at being part of this nation. All of this wrapped around my heart and left me humbled. Humbled and grateful. "And I will lift up my eyes unto the mountains, from where my strengthwill come."

Monday, January 19, 2009

A View from the Border with Gaza

The Israel army is now in a state of "Holding Fire". Everyone here has their opinions on whether this will become a long term status or not. The statements made by Hamas and their "success" does not auger well for the future. But then why should Hamas change? The world is preparing to pump millions of the taxpayers money into Gaza for "reconstruction", the question is how can they avoid their monies being used for the resconstruction of the supply of arms for a future battle?

And what about the residents on the border of Gaza? One of my correspondents writes

What do I think about this cease fire,i t sounds good and like I said it is quiet,I even slept all night from 11:00 PM till this morning at 9:30, first time I slept during the whole night since the war started.

There is a "but" to this so. I want to add in what I call "the media rape of Israel"

I have watched on the world news and on Internet and have seen so many untrue facts being thrown out that damage Israel's reputation, here are a couple just to get the picture:

Schools,religious sites, private homes were targeted by Israel because of weapons or Hammas fighters being in these places and shooting at Israeli targets and Israeli soldiers. Booby traps were found by IDF ground troops in these places and weapons stored also.

Then there is a sad story of a Palestinian doctor that works in a Israel hospital, some of his family members and children etc. were killed by Israeli soldiers. (
This gives a wonderful heartbreaking story to the international media, it has all the elements required. Why am I cynical? Pallywood films continued unabated during the war and ...)

Today I hear that doctors found that in a son of his that was seriously injured, the bullet in him was a type not used by the IDF. I have no idea who shot them, only one story will make the main media headlines or articles, and you can guess who it will be.

Israel is not an angel,yes sometimes there are bad apples but which nation is not guilty of this! But also many reporters are not honest in their stories, or do not check out their source of information.. Too many times their reports are so biased, they are willing to believe everything they hear from the terrorists, and question Israelis version of the story.

I wrote a letter to you all yesterday but after I reread it, I saw I was very upset and mad and was ashamed at what I wrote,so I deleted it. Today I am still mad but am more settled down.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

War Crimes?

As, in my opinion, the operation in Gaza is approaching a cease fire issues of human rights and war crimes are coming more to the fore.

From a friend living on the border of Gaza, he writes "I saw on the news last night and I was boiling over with anger and was afraid to check my blood pressure, when I heard "Israeli groups call for IDF 'war crimes' probe" and then later " forum of Israeli human rights organizations on Wednesday called on the country's political and military leadership to launch a domestic probe into "suspected war crimes" committed during Operation Cast Lead.


I immediately wrote a response to the Jerusalem Post:-

I as a resident of a community on the Gaza border,Kibbutz Nahal Oz,want to know why do you (the human rights organisations) keep silent when Israel is being attacked and yet raise all hell when Israel defends herself.Why do you have your press conference in Jerusalem and not Sederot,Ashkelon,Ashdod,Beersheva or even my Kibbutz. I consider all of you Israelis and Jews at this conference traitors to your country and to your people.

If common sense is to prevail and we want to talk in legal terms about war crimes, then surely the following incidents clearly come under the category of "War Crimes":-

a) Shooting rockets and grenades purposely on civilian targets in Israel.
b) Shooting these rockets from within Palestinian civilian compounds such as schools or in close proximity of hospitals or residential buildings.
c) Storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and buildings and the sort.· Regularly using their own civilians as human shield; particularly children, often forced to be in the most dangerous spots.
d) During fighting with the Israeli forces the Hamas fighters, who wore uniforms at the beginning, changed to civilian clothing or IDF uniforms and continued to fight.
e) Hamas fighters have routinely hid among civilians in hospitals.
f) To the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, Hamas did not provide the most elementary rights of war prisoners, such as information given to the other side and Red Cross visits, rights Israel grants even to convicted Hamas terrorists.
g) Children and minors were routinely used by Hamas for military tasks, both battle and auxiliary. The Hamas regime has also educated, indoctrinated and trained children and minors to murderous hatred, to will and techniques to kill.
h) The Hamas leadership embezzled aid money received for the peaceful needs of Gaza’s population and used these extensive funds for war efforts; weaponry, military equipment and constructions, and an enormous military build-up.

Will common sense prevail, maybe I am being naive??

Monday, January 12, 2009

Is the End Near?

If it is true that Israel is nearing the fulfillment of its objectives in Gaza as has been suggested,then maybe the residents of the south of the country will have some peace and an opportunity to reshape their lives and those of theri children finally.

It is said that Hamas has sustained an unprecedented blow, however the issue of the weapons smuggling is critically important, and although UN Security Council resolution 1860 is weak and ineffective, it did recognize that there should be a stop to weapons smuggling. Thus, Israel is continuing its talks with Egypt regarding this matter.

After all the hype of Hamas leader Haniya, it appears that in the field, Hamas terrorists are fleeing from contact with Israeli troops, hiding in hospitals, some of them disguised as medical staff. Further, Hamas is concealing the extent of the damage it has sustained and is not burying its dead, so as not to lower the morale of its cadre.

More worrying for the residents of Gaza is the fact that Hamas terrorists are plundering the humanitarian aid provided by the world and placing the good of their followers above the good of the general public. Hamas is also exploiting the situation to murder Fatah supporters for political reasons. Intelligence indicates that about a tenth of those killed in the Gaza Strip are Fatah members killed by Hamas.

In parallel, Iran is doing everything in its power to support Hamas, including attempting to smuggle weapons and ammunition into the Gaza Strip. However threats have been made by Teheran that aid will cease if Hamas accepts an Egyptian brokered cease fire.

It has to be emphasized time and time again that the IDF is operating against Hamas and its personnel, and not the residents of the Gaza Strip.

While the IDF is acting against Hamas, Israel is making every effort to accelerate and improve the transfer of humanitarian aid to the civilian population but difficulties are created by Hamas, who are waging war in the midst of densely populated areas, while exploiting civilians as human shields.

Israel is continuing with its humanitarian efforts, which include a respite in operations each day for several hours, despite the fact that Hamas is exploiting these lulls to continue shooting at Israel cities and troops, as well as to re-arm and re-equip.

Let us hope for everyone’s sake, a speedy end to this chapter of conflict

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just How Does a Resident of Sderot Feel?

Although longer than a normal blog, I think this letter from a resident in Sderot deserves some publicity. we went through katyusha attacks in Haifa but I don't think that this compares in any way to what is happening in the South.

Am I safe? Well in terms of life in NZ or the UK NO I am not safe and in truth I haven't been safe since I arrived here, if I measure safety by UK or NZ standards. How do I explain that whilst I am highly unlikely to get mugged on the street, or shot or knifed as I might be in some UK cities here I am part of a mass target for Hamas to lob missiles indiscriminately at. I suppose I can also be targeted by bull dozer drivers, the streets that those attacks happened on I used to walk down every Tuesday when I was studying in Jerusalem.

The events of the past week and e mails from friends have pushed me into sitting here and typing a letter which even if I have to stay up all night, I am going to finish because I want you all to have a glimpse of what life is like here. Plus with the noise from outside the chances of my actually sleeping are zero. In past letters I have made light of the the kassams that fall but it's not really a joking matter.

We have just had another Tzevah Adom however it's hard to tell if anything has fallen because of the noise.

The Kassams land in our fields in doing so they make a huge hole, when they land my house shakes, the windows move and plaster falls from the ceiling and walls. These are not Guy Fawkes rockets, these are not toys, nor are they the little mortars that people may have seen in the clip where the whole thing blows up as the masked man fires them. These things take two men to lift them off the ground and then they can't carry them far. The noise is ear aching. If I don't take control of my imagination the fear that it might land near me opening up the earth or that one might come through the roof as I stand at the sink can take control and make me feel sick to the stomach and start shaking. This is how it has been for the last two years.

Over the last week the noise from air strikes, artillery gun fire etc has been horrendous here I cannot begin to imagine what it is like over there. My heart bleeds for the women, children and the elderly. I find myself crying at the drop of a hat.

Here are some figures to toy with, for more that 8 years rockets have been fired at the North Western Negev and mainly at the town of Sderot. An estimated 9000 plus missiles have been fired in that time. Since Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 (I was here getting engaged at the time) more than 6300 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel.

In this last year alone, and remember there has supposedly been a cease fire for 6 months of the year, more than 3000 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel. During the "Ceasefire" there were more than a 1000 missiles. The cease fire ended December 19 and at first there was a sort of business as usual, a few Tzevah Adom (colour red in hebrew) alarms on our kibbutz every day and then it came to a head on 24 December (my birthday as it happens) with a barrage of 80 missiles on that one day, more on this later.

On the day that the Foreign Minister went to Egypt to try and get Hamas to agree to an extension, even the Egyptian foreign minister felt moved to make the comment that it was foolish and aggressive of Hamas to fire 60 rockets that morning.

Perhaps I can describe for you what the alarm is like, we have up to 15 seconds to take cover, more often than not we don't have that much leeway. Some houses, the newer ones and those that have been enlarged and renovated, have a safe room, with solid concrete walls and ceiling, a blast and fireproof door and a window with a heavy steel shutter. We live as do most of the people in Israel in a house without such a feature, whilst ours has concrete walls, we have a corrugated asbestos fibre roof and a plaster ceiling. So our safe area consists of a patch of our hallway 75 X 65 cms that is not directly facing a window. Unfortunately this only offers minimal protection from shrapnel if the rocket falls out side, because if it falls inside the house there is nothing to protect us and it is also situated under the air conditioning grill that opens directly into the roof space so we don't even have the benefit of a piece of plaster.

All that aside at least as we run to stand there we feel we are doing something. If it sounds at night we pull the covers over our head and pray. We have an air raid shelter nearby but it takes more than 15 seconds to get there. It was designed for bombing raids in the bad old days when Israel was attacked by Egypt and Jordan and the members might spend hours down there, not for rocket attacks. When I first came here it took a while to distinguish between our alarm and that of our nearest neighbour Nahal Oz and I was running to the safe area at the drop of a hat.

If you are outside you run to a building or lie down on the ground with your hands over your head. Yeah right, it's winter here, it's rained, it's rural and there is mud everywhere, if you think I am lying down in it you can think again, I run like hell.

The problem with tzevah adom is that just before it sounds properly, there is a sort of crackle of static, the kind you get when a radio or audio device comes to life, if I hear that kind of noise my stomach cramps and my throat tightens. It even happened to me when I was in the UK , Stansted airport, the railway and underground stations were a bit of a nightmare.

One other problem is that whilst it sounds for kassams, mortars do not set it off and the first you know about one of them is the noise and then the thump as it hits the ground.

Here we don't need an alarm clock most days because the alarm system usually starts to activate from about 5.30 onwards in summer and 6.30 to 7.00 in winter, depending on first light. This for them is the optimum firing time.

Each time Tzevah Adom sounds we get a txt message that tells us where the kassam fell. On my Birthday at about 9.00am my phone started beeping and it carried on throughout the day, we had 12 kassams fall near the kibbutz including one just outside the perimeter fence of the housing area (150m from my house) and one on the chicken sheds. I don't know what is worse being here and having them fall or being at work and not knowing exactly what is going on. From then on it was just downhill.

Thursday we got the news that we had been allocated space in a long term shelter. I didn't even know where it was and I am still a bit hazy on the details of how to access the entrance, bearing in mind that it's at least a 7-10 minute run away from where we live. From this date onwards I don't lie in bed in the morning I get up early and get dressed as quickly as possible in case I have to run. From tonight I shall be sleeping in my clothes.

On Saturday 27th I was on duty in the dining room, we were busy in the kitchen getting ready to serve the main courses when there were huge booms, I thought it was sonic booms which the air force sometimes does over Gaza when the kassam fire had been particularly bad by way of warning. It was strange in that we had heard no aircraft. When we wheeled our trolley out into the dining room, it was very obvious that this was not the case, not only were the windows bulging in and out as they do with sonic booms, but the earth was shaking. We then though it might have been one of their ammunition dumps going up as they have been know to do from time to time. But the blasts carried on for about 10 minutes and then an announcement was made that the noise was our air force actually attacking Gaza. We were told to stay in the dining room rather than go home as they expected incoming missiles would start up in response once they got organised over there. If we wanted to go home it was best to stay in or near the secure room. I had to stay in the dining room and clear up and of course my dear husband went home.

One night I was on my way home from Beer Sheva when as I drove past Ofaquim, a town south of us, I heard their air raid sirens start wailing. I pulled into a bus stop and phoned Eric to ask if he thought I should get out of the car and lie down on the ground or was I far enough away to ignore it. No he shouted if you can hear it get out of the car. Now call me fussy, call me pernickety but I know what the area round that bus stop is like, it is littered with rubbish and cigarette ends never mind the mud ! Yeugh. Other cars were driving past hell for leather and I joined them putting my foot down and roaring off. I have a Hyundai Getz, it gets you from A to B , it's not built for speed, it's built to move like treacle on a cool day but when it gets up to speed it rackets along like a crazy thing, bouncing along the road. Thank goodness I had the steering wheel to hold on to.

I phoned Eric to tell him what I was doing and as I did so I happened to glance up at the sky to see 5 incoming rockets arcing out of Gaza. I started screaming down the phone at Eric " Oh my god the sky is full of them, what am I going to do" I was crying and I was so scared I thought I might wet myself. I slammed down the phone and put my foot down even further. Now I was going at 125Kph and I was hanging on to that steering wheel like a drowning man with a life belt. I opened the window so I could hear if the alarms were sounding in the towns and kibbutzim I passed. I drove with my eyes on the sky rather than the road. I drove through red lights and I got home to a welcoming Tzevah adom. Now I did jump out of the car and lie down with my hands over my head.

It's Saturday night and the IDF have entered Gaza. I have just received a txt message to tell me that we should not leave our homes, we can drive along the roads for the time being if we want to. I'm scared enough in my house the thought of having to drive in the dark, watch the road and watch the sky is too much.

The so called ceasefire with it's 1000 rockets over 6 months, you know what? I would have been able to cope with that at Alumim if they would have renewed the cease fire but they didn't want that for some reason that only Hamas leaders know. I even got up enough courage to go to Sderot, only during the middle of the day of course.

I'd even become used to driving along "bomb alley" between Sderot and the Gaza if we wanted to go to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, I went once a week for study. It's nerve wracking especially after you've see fields of straw on fire from a kassam or a restaurant at a kibbutz get hit and catch fire.

I really doubt if there is any other country that would sit by and let a neighbour fire missiles into it's territory, never mind fire them at it's citizens for years without doing anything. Why is Israel expected to do so?

I'm glad it's happening we wasted so much time in trying to negotiate with them that in the end we withdrew from Gaza with no demands and left them to their own devices. We have tried sonic booms to scare them, we have closed the border to all but essential aid but still the rockets come. We have targeted their military installations and Hamas infrastructures and still they keep on firing missiles and not just Kassams but Grads and Katyushas too.

Aiming for our cities not just rural areas, aiming for the power station at Ashqelon that was actually supplying nearly all their electricity. There are store houses on their side of the border full of supplies but Hamas will not allow it to be distributed. When the IDF target a building they drop leaflets and phone people telling them to get out that an attack is coming. Hamas send us text messages threatening us with all sorts of horrors that they will inflict on us when they "take over Israel".

I am listening to a man being interviewed on Sky television and I hope that the politicians of Europe are listening to him because he is stating how many millions of Muslims live there and threatening Europe with attacks if they don't support Hamas. Nice.

I wrote to the BBC website after the disengagement from Gaza and asked that Hamas be allowed a chance to govern Gaza, to improve the lot of the people there. to take the aid money and use it for the people, not line their pockets and Swiss bank accounts as previous leaders have done, Sadly what they have done is use it to buy weaponry, smuggle it into Gaza, and site it in built up areas, they even built an entire department of their university for weapons development when their people don't even have a sewerage system that works (by the way they were given $75 million solely for that purpose).

Where were all the international voices calling for Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel, where were the demonstrators in the streets?

For what it's worth this is how one woman feels sitting here at her computer less than 4 Kms from Gaza.

One more thing, there is of course the myth that all the missiles are "home made" and therefore somehow harmless. The current version is up to 2 metres long, weighs 90 Kg, carries 10Kg of explosives and has a range of 8-10km. Now this is a lot bigger than most people realise. It can't really be aimed it is just pointed in the general direction and it can go off course regularly so it is totally indiscriminate. They have even been known to turn back and kill their own launch crew.

It doesn't destroy buildings completely but it will make a mess of your house, the shrapnel can kill or maim people and anything the shrapnel hits is torn and smashed, human bones and flesh, windows, cars, walls etc. They bury themselves into the road, path or open land so they can penetrate.

Katyushas these are missiles fired from a battery, these are not home made, they are smuggled in via the tunnels from Egypt.

Grads are the missiles that are hitting Beer Sheva, Ashqelon, Ashdod and Kiryat Gat amongst other places. They are manufactured weaponry the latest lot are from China, they have a long range and a heavier payload of explosives. These are smuggled in via the tunnels from Egypt.

Mortars these are about the size of a ten pin bowling pin but fatter, they have a short range and they don't set off our warning system because they are too small. The joy of these little darlings is that we only know they are coming in when they whistle on their way down and of course when they hit

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is The Media Conning Us Yet Again?

We are hearing non stop via the media of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I am sure there are problems but as with the Lebanon war reports coming out are being totally controlled by Hamas. The hearing in the High Court said that 8 foreign journalists should be allowed to enter Gaza. Now what difference is that going to make? As with Lebanon these journalists will not be allowed freedom to report. They will have to report what they are told to report.

Hamas has set up an independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its operatives wounded in fighting with the IDF - and, according to Israeli estimates, it is pilfering a significant portion of the medicine allowed into the Strip, senior defense officials reported. . Now I can just see some serious investigative journalism reporting the truth??!!

Despite this estimate, the Defense Ministry said Monday that it would continue facilitating the transfer of food and medical supplies into Gaza.

This morning on SKY News and, I understand it also appeared on the BBC, I saw an interview conducted with a Norwegian doctor treating the wounded at Shifa hospital, Dr Mads Gilbert. Gilbert painted an appalling picture. He said that “more and more patients were arriving; there were so many they were dying waiting for surgery”.

Gilbert was presented as just an ordinary doctor. But Gilbert appears not to be just an ordinary doctor. He is a political activist and member of the Norwegian Maoist ‘Red’ party. Not only is he viscerally hostile to Israel and a long-standing activist in the Palestinian ‘solidarity’ movement, but he even supported the 9/11 attacks.

Now would the presence of journalists make this clear? Certainly Jeremy Bowen of the BBC didn’t think it necessary to mention it.

Finally, according to reports on the PalPress website, Hamas continues sowing terror among the residents of the Gaza Strip and oppressing Fatah activists, even in the midst of Operation Cast Lead.

The Fatah-affiliated PalPress website reported that Hamas operatives sent orders to hundreds of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip confining them to their houses, only allowing them to leave to attend Friday prayers. According to the reports, Hamas operatives in the streets of Gaza shot the scores of Fatah activists who disobeyed the order in the legs, it is reported that 75 were killed.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hamas Attack Saudi Arabia and Fatah

An interesting series of reports are emerging with Hamas being blamed by Saudi Arabia.

Last Thursday, Saudi Arabia actually blamed Hamas for Israel's continuing offensive in the Gaza Strip and urged it to resolve bitter differences with the western-backed Palestinian Authority – even as divisions deepened with a new charge of treachery.Arab League foreign ministers meeting in emergency session in Cairo warned it was not possible to help until the Islamist movement in control of Gaza returned to national unity talks with its rival Fatah.

A furious Hamas attacked the Arab League stance as "pathetic". Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum also accused Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, of ordering members of Fatah in Gaza to gather intelligence on the whereabouts of Hamas leaders to passto Israel - a grave charge that underscores the deep rift between the factions.

Meantime the Hamas government has placed dozens of Fatah members under house arrest out of fear that they might exploit the current IDF operation to regain control of the Gaza Strip, reports Khaled Abu Tomeh in the Jerusalem Post.

Fatah officials in Ramallah are saying that Hamas militiamen had been assaulting many Fatah activists since the beginning of the operation last Saturday. They said at least 75 activists were shot in the legs while others had their hands broken.

Wisam Abu Jalhoum, a Fatah activist from the Jabalya refugee camp, was shot in the legs by Hamas militiamen for allegedly expressing joy over the IDF air strikes on Hamas targets.

“Hamas is very nervous, because they feel that their end is nearing,” a senior Fatah official said. “They have been waging a brutal campaign against Fatah members in the Gaza Strip.”

Meanwhile, sources close to Hamas revealed over the weekend that the movement had “executed” more than 35 Palestinians who were suspected of collaborating with Israel and were being held in various Hamas security installations.

Since the war started last weekend 417 rockets and mortars landed in Israel including 61 Grad rockets.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Conversation with Egyptian via Internet

The following conversation was sent to me by a friend who communicates via the internet with a friend in Egypt.

(Lobby): can i ask you something
(Me): always
(Lobby): what do you think about what is going on in Gaza now?
(Me): unfortunate, but necessary so long as a terrorist organisation like Hamas is in control
(Lobby): do you think it is necessary even at the cost of lives in the hundreds half of them women and kids .. bombing houses civil offices and schoold by sea and air ??
(Me): ours is a defensive operation, let the Hamas come out in the open, and not hide behind the civilians. What have our civilains done do deserve daily rocket attacks ? Put yourself in our shoes and offer a different solution
(Lobby): i would certainly not think of bombing houses with F-16 ..
(Me): even if that is where the chief of operations has his headquarters, with arsenals of weapons in the buiding?
(Lobby): just jow many chief of operations are there ?? and in how many houses ?? mosques? schools ?? public buildings ?? still .. does it justify killing the civilians surrounding that ...
(Lobby): chief ?? in the hundreds .. wounded in the thousands ??
(Me): I saw the hadith that he issued to his followers, that wives and children must stay with the fighters. What type of instruction is that? Did the Egyptian army ever operate out of civialian centres? never !!!
(Lobby): i dont know why you call these instructions "hadith" .. but assuming that is the case it still does not justify all that cold blood murder going on for over a week now

(Me): it is not cold blooded murder in my eyes, it is self defense. We should be allowed to live in peace, and that is not happening. Hamas just doesn't want us there, no matter what we do
(Lobby): i can not sleep at nights .. knowing that children are left homeless in that cold living in terror .. hamas may be tagged as terrorist .. but the casaulities are people like you and me .. and they are in the hundreds and hundreds .. the stupid fools of hamas costed the lives of less then 10 israelies in the past 8 years ..
(Me): Israel has to destroy Hamas' capabilty to continue shooting rockets at our cities and traumatising millions of people. It's not a question of maths. Do you have a concrete suggestion?
(Lobby): yes .. destroy Hamas .. i am with you .. but spare the lives of innocent civilians
(Lobby): bye now .. i have to go

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wake Up World - Israel is Fighting for You

I met an Israeli journalist at a conference recently who writes letters to a Los Angeles community. His latest letter to my mind explains why this war in Gaza is part of a much wider campaign by Iran and their allies which will ultimately affect the whole world unless, together with world support of Israel's actions in Gaza, we ultimately destroy Hamas.

I therefore think it is worth spreading his message as widely as possible. I reproduce here part of his letter, if you want to read it all, go to

Over the last four days here in Israel, not everyone is participating or even feeling a war. Life proceeds on its tracks to those outside the ever expanding radii of the rockets and mortar. The line is currently drawn at a marathon distance of 26 miles. The opposition to Israel's attempt at sanity – defending its own citizens from an ongoing collective punishment – has been met with fierce [verbal] fighting the world over.

The Gaza War now involves the whole world – people are demonstrating, participating in online groups, writing letters to the editor, discussing articles. Soon, Jews, Israelis and Americans and Jewish, Israeli and American symbols will be targeted. We all take part in this war.

The Gaza War is not about the rockets precision-aimed toward Israeli towns and cities. Neither is it about a soldier who has been held in captivity in Gaza for 920 days. The Gaza War is a war on public opinion in the Public Diplomacy Front. It is a war of Islam against the West, and countries are taking sides.

The Gaza War is that of Iran against the West, with the first pawn – Hamas – being tested. Iran sits in the background and waits. Gazans object to the war. They are held hostage by Hamas which has no value for human lives and uses the Gazans as human shields, as elements in the soup it brews.

Hamas uses pictures of body parts, does not take the injured child to the hospital before the cameras arrive, places children in and around their headquarters, explosive labs and ammunition caches, talks about a siege and human sufferings and humanitarian crisis (any connection to reality may be ignored) and thus distorts the world. A false image is created and any arguments to the contrary fall on deaf ears. -[thus is the world media gullible and not objective]

For Israel to win the war, the world will have to realize it is not a single operation, the Palestinians are not the victims, the true target is the world itself.

Wake up world, Israel is fighting for you.