Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: This is Sderot Reality

Each and every resident has experienced it.
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:00 PM


"Over 250,000 Israelis now live under the threat of the Kassam missiles." - Head of Israeli military intelligence to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, January 1, 2008

Since the first day of January until January 20, over 430 Kassam missiles and mortars
In 2007, over 2,300 missiles and mortars were launched... from Gaza.
were launched towards Sderot, the Western Negev and Ashkelon, according to the IDF spokesman.

In 2007, over 2,300 missiles and mortars were launched towards Israel from Gaza.

How many thousands of Kassam missiles will be launched in the year 2008 towards Israel?

Living through 200 rockets in the past few days.... Hearing the screeching siren - "Color Red" - every time a rocket is launched.... Running for cover in the 15 seconds left.... Hearing the whistle and, a few seconds later, an enormous explosion.... And listening to that laconic newscast on the Voice of Israel: "No damage, no injuries, a few were treated for shock." This is Sderot reality.

Watching a five-year-old boy who was crying after he saw his mother blown away from the explosion of a Kassam that hit directly into his play room; where he was playing on his computer with his five-year-old neighbor.... Witnessing both boys evacuated to the ambulance, both shivering with shock.... This is Sderot reality.

190,000 are under the threat of these missiles today, including Ashkelon, Netivot and 20 kibbutzim and moshavim. 45,000 Israelis are daily bombarded by these missiles.

Officially, 20,000 residents, out of a normal population of close to 24,000, are left in Sderot, although there are those who say that it is probably less than 17,000 residents. Each and every resident has experienced an explosion of a rocket in the past few years.... This is Sderot reality.

The feeling of helplessness once the siren goes off.... Seeing young soldiers who were sent to "protect" Sderot running and covering the heads with their hands, their weapons useless.... Feeling that my only weapon is my video camera, to try and document this
My only weapon is my video camera, to try and document this weird reality.
weird reality so that some one would be willing to watch and listen.... This is Sderot reality.

Driving around Sderot with no seatbelt because the seconds spent unfastening it might cost me my life.... Hearing the siren go off, jumping out of the car and running for cover to the closest reinforced bus stop shelter.... Holding the hands of a grandmother and her grandchild until we reach the bus stop, which is already crowded with parents and their children on their way to school.... This is Sderot reality.

Trying not to panic in front of the children, thinking to myself that this bus stop would be a death trap if it suffered a direct hit.... Only two months ago there was an investigative report showing bus stop shelters do not qualify as bomb shelters, since they are built with only 20 centimeters thickness of cement, when 40 centimeters is required to withstand a direct hit. And now there are 52 lethal bus stop shelters like these scattered around the town, where dozens of people take cover from the missiles.... This is Sderot reality.

Ten missiles exploded in Sderot on Thursday morning, while children were on their way to school and kindergarten. My younger sister Liora, who moved to Sderot to work with the children, described their panic. As they ran to the shelter, she grabbed three young children, escorted them to the safe room and started to sing out loud so they wouldn't hear the missile exploding nearby. That safe room contained over 25 children. This was the only activity room where they have been spending their playtime in the past few days. For safety's sake, they are not allowed to play outside. This is Sderot reality.

Hearing from families I know that they all sleep together, parents and children in one bed.... The fear of the siren going off and no shelter to run to, since 752 homes in Sderot have no shelter or safe room.... This is Sderot reality.

Friday, January 18, there was a memorial in Sderot's cemetery for Ella Abukasis, who was murdered when she was only 17, three years ago, by a Kassam rocket. It struck her as she huddled over her younger brother, who was 11 years old at the time. This is
How can Israel defend its own citizens without being condemned?
Sderot reality.

Will there be any end to this terrorism of missiles being launched towards civilian neighborhoods?

How can Israel defend its own citizens without being condemned? Ninety-seven percent of the targets of Gazan missiles are our civilian population centers, while the Gazans fire their missiles from behind the human shields of their own civilian population.

What about the hundreds of tunnels dug beneath the Philadelphi Corridor, through which Egypt routinely delivers ammunition, army equipment, terrorists and cash to Gaza? When will Israel hold Egypt and these Palestinian terror leaders personally responsible for the suffering of the people of Sderot?

When will Sderot reality change?