I wish I knew where to begin…Well in these situations I guess it’s best to start from the beginning. Tuesday started like any other day in Tel Aviv, but it wasn’t a normal day in Israel. Reports started pouring in that the South of Israel was under attack from Hamas rockets, and as I stepped into the shower to unwind after my day at work, I thought to myself “I wonder if things will escalate and reach Tel Aviv this time”, like they did two years ago when we lived through Operation Pillar of Defense. I had just finished rubbing the shampoo through my hair when the red alert siren blasted through my window. I had just enough time to turn off the water, jump out of the shower, grab my roommates dog, and board up the bomb shelter we have in our apartment, before I heard the explosion from the Iron Dome colliding with the Hamas rocket above my head.
And so it begins again…
Vivid memories of being caught outside during a Hamas attack, seeing rockets explode above my head, began to flood back, only this time it is worse. Much worse… For three days the south of Israel has been ravaged by Hamas rockets at horrifically frequent intervals. My Israeli family (Stephane’s family) all live in Israel’s southern city, Ashdod, where they are, for a large part of their day and night, confined to bomb shelters because the red alert sirens won’t stop. It is worse in places on the Gaza border, like Sderot or Ashkelon, where the let up is almost non existent.
Yesterday the red alert sirens sounded around 8:30 in the morning as I was waking up to go to work. Everyone rushed into my room (the bomb shelter) where we waited to hear the explosion of the rocket before trying to resume our daily routine. At this point the American Embassy issued a statement that they were working at minimal staff due to the crisis, and I decided I would rather work from the safety of my shelter than brave going into work. There were no more sirens in Tel Aviv that day, but the south had no reprieve, Jerusalem was hit, Stephane and I actually saw a rocket explode near Holon from my window, and another rocket landed as far north as the city of Hadera (the farthest north a Gaza rocket has ever reached). Iran must be supplying very good rockets this time around.
Today Hamas woke up the city of Tel Aviv again with rockets and explosions around 8 in the morning. Despite this most recent attack, however, I had committed myself to going into work thinking that this would be another morning attack followed by relative quiet in the area. 11:30 am arrived and an alarm rang out from my Tzeva Adom iPhone application (Red Alert) alerting us that rockets were again coming into Tel Aviv. My co workers and I then heard the actual siren and went to hide in the stairway until it was all over. Meanwhile Ashdod has been savagely attacked today with rockets causing both injury and sever damage to property, Sderot hasn’t had a moments peace since this started, Jerusalem was hit with 5 or more rockets (a man was taken to the hospital with critical injuries after falling in an attempt to get into his bomb shelter), and all i seem to read from any American news source (with the exception of Fox News) is how we are annihilating the Palestinians. Israel, the great aggressor!
The World Response
From AOL articles displaying headlines like: “Gaza endures deadliest fire yet: Israel’s remorseless response”, to political figures who say that Israel is trying to carry out a Genocide against the Palestinians, the general worldly reaction to any crisis that goes on between the israelis and Palestinians almost always portrays Israel as this horrific occupier interested in nothing but ethnically cleansing the land of Palestinians.
Did you know?
The IDF not only calls and texts Gaza residents living in the areas they are going to hit in their raids (terrorist cells that happen to conveniently be in the middle of civilian areas), but they drop pamphlets in Arabic, and fire warning shots to ensure they are doing at least something to minimize civilian casualties.
What does Hamas do? They tell their citizens to ignore Israeli warnings, remain in their homes, and stand against the Zionists oppressors. The Gazan’s newest strategy is that once a warning shot is fired civilians are to run up onto the rooftops of condemned buildings despite numerous warnings to flee the area. And what does everyone read? ISRAEL KILLS INNOCENT PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS IN DEADLY AIR RAID! So many people take what they read at face value, and though my accounts come from the soldiers I know who are carrying out these defensive operations to protect this country and her citizens, and from personal experiences of living in the region, I’m sure many people still truly believe that Israel’s main goal is to kill Palestinians.
If you’ve heard it once you have heard it a thousand times. If America was being terrorized by Mexico with continuous rocket attacks would you really expect them to sit by and do nothing? Well with this president we have now sitting by and doing nothing might actually happen, but that is beside the point. If you push us past our breaking point you better believe we will push back. At this point Israelis really could care less about what the world thinks because they, unlike Hamas, are concerned solely with the protection of their country and her citizens. There are a much lower number of injuries and casualties on our side because, unlike Hamas, our army keeps us from harm rather than throwing us into harms way. We spend millions of dollars on defense systems, while Hamas spends their money acquiring weapons of destruction from Iran.
People say Hamas strikes us because of the oppression the Gazans suffer under Israeli occupation. I’m really confused about what occupation they are faced with. Israel withdrew COMPLETELY from Gaza in 2005 in the hopes it would help bring about peace, and from then until now the Gazans have been a self governing unit free of Israeli influence. But don’t mistake what I’m saying, the Gazans depend on us completely. Despite the fact that their Muslim brothers and sisters in Egypt are right next door they get their electricity and water from Israel because Egypt doesn’t like to chip in much when it comes to the Palestinians. But people never read about that in the news. They do read, however, when Israel cuts off water supply or electricity to Gaza when things like this occur, and riddle me this, why shouldn’t they? I wouldn’t be too keen on giving my neighbor my already strained resources if they shot a gun at me all day and night. Are we doormats? Yes it is very unfortunate for the innocent civilians living in Gaza, but they also do nothing to pressure their government to actually take care of them. Instead they sit by as Hamas continues to aggress the very country that has tried to help them become self sustaining.
Speaking of Egypt, It wasn’t until day three of Operation Protective Edge that Egypt even considered opening the borders to give aid to the citizens of Gaza. After the first day we sent in truckloads of supplies to help the aid the people of Gaza… we have even taken injured civilians to hospitals within the borders of Israel to receive medical treatment. People don’t hear much about that do they?
We aren’t going anywhere
This may upset many people but Israel isn’t going anywhere. We are a country surrounded by hostile enemies, and we have not only survived, but we have thrived. It’s really so simple. You attack us we will attack you back whether or not the United States thinks it’s appropriate. We value life, while the other side welcomes death (as evidenced by too many political speeches given by Islamic leaders residing in the region, and the countless street celebrations anytime a Jew or Israeli is killed. Let me remind you Israelis were up in arms when we found out Jewish delinquents killed an innocent Palestinian youth), and this is why we will win. This is why we always win. We target those who target us; the Palestinian terrorists who, unfortunately, put weapon arsenals in schools, mosques, and civilian homes as to maximize the death toll in the hopes of getting sympathy from Western powerhouses (unfortunately this strategy almost always works). Israel is not perfect, I would never claim that, but we are not wrong for defending ourselves, and we will always win against terror…ALWAYS.
I love you and miss you everyday friend, and I know you are up there looking down and hoping for peace. Keep protecting all of us over here!
Until we meet again <3,