Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bomb Shelter Capital of the World

Too bad about people whose daily lives are stressed through the constant anticipation that they will involuntarily host another one, two or three deadly rockets - lethal, should they reach their target, as has happened - lobbed over the border by their inconsiderate neighbours.

It was just such constant bombardments, numbering close to a thousand over the space of years counted by the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlements from Gaza, that resulted in the IDF's reactive assault on Gaza against Hamas terrorists in 2008. World public opinion succeeded in startling the Government of Israel out of its intention to uproot Hamas terrorists along with others like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade well before the job was completed.

The horrified denunciations of the Israeli intention to make the geography safe for its population certainly saved the day for militant Hamas, and ensured that it felt gratified by the support it received through concern for civilian Palestinians by the world at large. Israel's response to the constant bombardments was slammed as being 'disproportionate' in nature.

While Hamas's standard techniques of sheltering militants behind civilians was simply seen as, well, meeting expectations.

Back to square one. Residents of the small city of Sderot existing one kilometre from the northeastern tip of Gaza found relief from constant bombardment brief and rather unsatisfactory. Given that a year after Israel's three-week-long military intervention, Sderot along with other Israeli communities in the Negev Desert are once again being targeted.

A sum total of three hundred rockets were propelled in or near Sderot since the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza offensive. And while this is still, relatively speaking, modest compared to previous years' rocket launches, these near-daily attacks continue to traumatize the vulnerable people living there. Where is world opinion on this little subject of deadly intimidation?

The greater majority of the town's four thousand school children suffer from post-traumatic stress. "You have two- or three- or five-year-olds who are being brought up with tranquilizers as part of their daily diets", said Noam Bedein, director of the Sderot Media Centre. Residents of those Israeli border communities have a scant 15 seconds to respond to sirens warning of impending attacks.

"We are the bomb-shelter capital of the world", said Mr. Bedein. "It is so fragile. It's just a matter of time before this entire region is under rocket fire", he said. "You know the first lesson of criminology is silence. Everyone knows when there is silence the other side is getting prepared, getting ready for the next escalation."

Hello, out there. Anyone listening?

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