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      A Soldier’s Mother
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      One mother’s journey through the Israeli army with her sons

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      Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier’s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish.

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      Adar Bet 21, 5771, 3/27/2011

      You Can't Retaliate First!


      When I was little, my sister went to my father and told him that I'd hit her. He punished me. I didn't think it was fair and I told him that she had hit me. He went back to her and asked her if that was true. My sister's response was, "Yes, but she hit me back!"

      I remembered that ridiculous, child's response tonight as I heard that Hamas was threatening to retaliate for today's misguided tank shell. What we know is that Hamas has been firing dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel for the last few days. Rumor has it, this is a command of Iran to help divert attention back to Gaza and away from them, the recent ship filled with armaments we intercepted, and perhaps an element of taking away the attention Libya is getting.

      Today, Israel fired back into Gaza towards a rocket launcher. It seems the tank shell missed the target (or perhaps hit the target without realizing there were also civilians nearby). There is no argument that this was fired in response to Hamas' targeting Israeli citizens today and in recent days.

      But in a classic move to spread their propaganda, Hamas is now threatening to "retaliate." And somewhere in this insanity must be the simple response - you can't retaliate first!

      If you fire rockets and missiles - this is called terrorism and this is called attacking. If Israel responds and targets the rocket launchers as we have been doing - THIS is called a response. It isn't called retaliation because within the concept of retaliation there seems to be an element of revenge, of getting back.

      We aren't trying to get back at Gaza or Hamas. We are trying to stop the endless, daily rocket fire.

      No, Hamas, just no. You cannot call this retaliation - but you can call it by its most obvious terminology - aggression, violent, acts of war, targeting civilians, and most of all - terrorism.