Saturday, November 17, 2012
Thoughts From The War
Where they live, on a kibbutz in Southern Israel is a place I've visited many times. Twice I've written about caught up in a rocket attack. Here with DD and here when I was pregnant. Since writing these posts the kibbutz has suffered a direct hit.
And on Wednesday, before Israel went into action, I posted a heartbreaking video clip of a children's party in the park that turns into horror and panic as the CODE RED is sounded. That clip was from four years ago so you can see that this is not something recent. Obviously it wasn't a recent video as parties in the park, or even a quick swing and a go in the slide, are a thing of the past for these children - far too risky as it involves being more than 15 seconds away from a bomb shelter.
Over 12000 missiles have been fired on Israeli civilians in the past 12 years. Seven years ago Israel left the whole area of Gaza. We have no military presence in Gaza. 21 communities left their homes, farms, green houses and factories to help the Gazans achieve a thriving economy. Israel continued supplying water, gas and electricity to the region and work permits for Gazans who have jobs in Israel. For their part they continued firing the rockets at Israeli civilians.
This week the rocket fire was escalated once again and the people in the south were at breaking point - which is why I published my post on Wednesday. On Wednesday evening we fought back. By Wednesday night I am reading and hearing on the BBC and CNN about Israeli aggression.
Our Prime Minister, who is accused of cynically starting a war to enhance his chances in the January general election, rather chose not to prolong the suffering of the southern residents until after the election that he pretty much had in the bag - but that may change if this all goes horribly wrong.
Bibi Netanyahu is quoted this week saying: If Israel lay down its arms it would be destroyed and its citizens murdered. If the Arab States lay down their arms there would be peace in the Middle East. I've heard this quote before but could anyone argue against it?
Last evening the siren went off for the first time in Jerusalem. I quickly turned off the oven, grabbed my front door keys and my 4yo daughter (who wasn't wearing any shoes or socks) and we rushed out to shelter under the stairs in the communal stairwell. There we met my neighbour with her 3yo and baby. Her husband and older son were in the shower. When the siren stopped after about 2 minutes we went back inside. Later she came down to tell me that instructions are to stay in the shelters for 10 minutes after the sirens.
Last night I told DD that she was sleeping with me. She insisted that we both sleep in her bed - my bed is better as my bedroom is largely internal and recessed except for the 5ft of wall with the window in it and her room has three external walls. But I gave in. She also wouldn't wear socks in bed so I slept in a big cardigan over my pyjamas (for a bit of modesty if were to meet the neighbours under the stairs again) and a pair of thick socks for DD in my pocket. I also hung the front door key on the front door handle for easy grabbing.
All evening I thought twice before going the the loo and I didn't dare shower. I also went a bit manic with 'sharing' information on fb and twitter. And I stuffed my face with all manner of unhealthy food. I may be a little stressed.
DD keeps asking me about that 'game' when we had to run outside. "But why did we play that game?" and "Are we doing it again? When?"
There are supporters of Israel who understand the situation. I ask myself what is the rest of the world thinking? Do they want us to take the slack so as not to inflame the situation in the Middle East and possibly drag in the rest of the world? Well we allowed our civilians to be fired on for 7 years after we pulled out of Gaza. Enough is enough.
I ask myself why we just don't turn off the water, electric and gas supply to Gaza until they stop firing missiles into Israel. But I know that we won't make the entire civilian population of Gaza suffer like that because of Hamas. At the moment we are targeting the enemy only.
There have been casualties and fatalities, on both sides, including children. There is no difference on either side to a mother who has lost a child. There is a difference between aggression and defense however. There is a difference between constant attack and retaliation delayed until it was just unbearable.
And if anyone is still unsure what it's all about, just watch this 5 minute course on the Middle East Conflict.