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The End that was No End

By Paula Stern
9/1/2009, 12:00 AM
Officially, the Gaza War ended on January 18. Many suspect this was because Israel knew that tremendous pressure would come from the incoming Obama administration if the war were to continue. So, the troops were withdrawn just in time; the equipment moved, a unilateral ceasefire declared.

For me, the war really only ended a few days later, when Elie finally came home and was able to join us for our youngest son's bar mitzvah celebration. I spent hours talking with Elie, trying to make sure he was okay with what had happened, that he wasn't traumatized or haunted, depressed or uncomfortable. What came home was a young man who understood why Israel went in, if not why Israel stopped on January 18th. What came home was a young man comfortable with what his country called upon him to do. Not haunted, not traumatized. Proud of his role, happy to be home and clean and fed.

He talked about Gaza. He was knowledgeable and clear and his convictions were strong and unwavering. He was happy to be home, but not happy that Israel has stopped before truly wiping out the rocket threats. What Elie knew then, what all Israel knew, was that Hamas' ability to launch rockets and mortars against Israel had been damaged, the infrastructure of their ability to attack Israel slowed, but not eliminated completely.

The war ended 227 days ago but the rockets have continued. Yet again today, a rocket was fired at Israel - that makes at least 237 rockets in the last 227 days. More than a rocket a day...

And I can't help but wonder what country in the world would accept such a thing? Obama wants us to compromise, to surrender all building rights, including natural growth. This means my daughter can't build a home here in the same city where I live. Obama, who has likely never been to my city and understands little of life here feels he is correct in mandating our behavior and worse, demanding concessions of Israel unilaterally and without any give from the other side.

How incredible - they shoot rockets...and we are ordered to compromise. I have little doubt that if one of these rockets hits a school, Obama will issue his standard regret statement. But today's rocket didn't injure anyone - never mind those surprised and frightened by a sudden explosion on a peaceful weekend day.

I wonder what the Germans or the French or the Swedes would do if someone were to explode a rocket somewhere in their country every day. Would it be acceptable so long as the rockets failed to do major damage? Until, of course, the rocket hit something, killed someone.

Back in December, 2008, we launched a war to stop the rockets from terrorizing our citizens. Around the world, many understood our actions, but only after hearing that we'd had more than 10,000 rockets launched at our civilians. Even the Egyptians seemed to be saying to the Palestinians, "well, what did you expect them to do?"

The war ended on January 18, but the rockets did not. An average of one rocket per day has fallen in the last 224 days.

If it was your government allowing this, what would you demand of them?

If it were your army, what would you have them do?

I don't want my son to have to go back to Gaza, but I also know that if he doesn't go back within the next 7 months...my next son will.