Before pressing Israel, world must address continued rocket attacks

By Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center

by Jacob Shrybman

A few days ago I was relaxing in my first-floor apartment in Sderot when there was a loud knock on my door. The government contractor tasked with building private bomb shelters attached to each unit in the building came to check my apartment. All across the city, private bomb shelters are popping up like spring flowers and are being utilized as the Color Red alarms continue to sound.

As Netanyahu gears up for his monumental visit to discuss the Middle East peace process with US President Barack Obama, are international leaders aware that terrorist rocket fire against Israeli civilians has not stopped?

As southern Israel prepares for the next barrage of rockets, the international media and leaders hype this visit to be of vital importance to a peace agreement. On May 4th The New York Times ran an article titled “Addressing US, Hamas Says it Grounded Rockets,” noting that only six rockets were fired at Israel in April. On May 5th Ynetnews ran an article titled “Dramatic Drop in Qassam Fire,” reporting that only 8 rockets were fired in April.

However, with a simple phone call to the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson, the only in-the-field source, I was given the official military count of 23 rockets and 3 mortar shells for the month of April, significantly more than what was reported in the media. The world is being led to believe that the rockets have stopped when in fact there have been over 200 rockets since the ceasefire began on January 18th.

Working in Sderot for the Sderot Media Center, I knew that there were more than eight rockets last month. I began to track down the statistics and their sources. The reporter at Ynetnews cited the Shin Bet as its source.

So why is there is such a discrepancy between what I and the army see on the ground and report day-to-day, and what some Israeli officials and the news media are reporting to the world? Are Israeli and international politicians suggesting that Operation Cast Lead completely thwarted the threat from Hamas and Iran in the Gaza Strip?

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the so-called moderate Fatah, which proudly paint their rockets yellow to distinguish them from Hamas’ red and green, announced in the last week of April that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. With such a definitive proclamation against a peaceful solution, with whom are Israeli and international leaders pushing the Jewish State to come to an agreement?

The rockets fired at Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip by the Iranian-funded terrorist organization Hamas have not stopped. International leaders and the news media need to stop presenting statistics that foment this fallacy in the effort to force an agreement that will not bring shalom or salaam, but rather, be a mere piece of paper. All one needs to do is come to my first floor apartment in Sderot to be awakened to this continued reality of rockets.

Only a few rockets, as if that makes it better. Perhaps the editors of the New York Times, Huffington Post or Daily Kos wouldn’t mind a few rockets being fired into their homes on a daily basis. How long would it be before they raised their voices in protest against such action? A day? A week? A month? A year? 5 years? 8 years? Especially if the local authorities did nothing to stop the rocket attacks. Then they would understand the fustration that the citizens of Sderot feel.

by Anav Silverman

A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza slammed between two Sderot homes around 5:30 pm on Tuesday, May 19. The Tzeva Adom, Color Red siren blared twice in the city sending residents fleeing to area bomb shelters. After the second Color Red siren, an unusually loud explosion sounded throughout the city.

The sound of the rocket explosion shocked no one more than Ilan Dahan. Ilan was sleeping when the Qassam rocket crashed into his backyard right outside his bedroom.

Shula Dahan, owner of damaged home, on the phone.
Photo: Noam Bedein

“I slept right through the Color Red siren,” said Ilan. Ilan, dazed and shocked, guides us to his bedroom. His bed is full of broken glass, from a window right above the bed, which had shattered all over his back. “I felt the glass implode all over me,” he said.

“It’s a miracle that all I got was this small scratch,” Ilan told Sderot Media Center. A piece of broken glass struck Ilan’s back, leaving behind a red mark.

Both Ilan’s parents were home when the rocket struck. His father raced into Ilan’s bedroom after the rocket struck, picked his son up and carried him outside to safety. “At that point, I didn’t even realize that the rocket hit right outside our home,” said Ilan, who is 18 and getting ready to enter the army.

View the video here.

Shula, Ilan’s mother, looks at her son tearfully. “I never expected this to happen to us during a ceasefire,” she said. The family was sitting outside in the front of the home to cool off from the heat of the evening when the siren sounded.

“We didn’t react quickly enough to the siren,” said Shula. “If we had reacted, we would have raced to the back of the home where our new shelter is located. Most likely one of us would have been injured because the rocket exploded right outside the shelter.”

The back of the Dahan’s home suffered severe damage from the rocket blast. Broken glass and debris litters the floor, while holes from rocket shrapnel rocket mark the ceiling and walls. Outside, the Dahan’s shelter is also covered with shrapnel marks.

Align CenterSderot home damaged in Qassam attack on Tuesday, May 19.
Photo: Noam Bedein

The rocket explosion also damaged the home next to the Dahans.

Family members from both sides suffered shock, as did neighbors further along the street. Several people were treated for trauma on the scene.

The rocket attack comes around the same time that the Sderot Mental Health Center is shutting down. Dr. Adrianne Katz, the head of Sderot Mental Health told Sderot Media Center that the mental health center is closing due to budget cuts. The Sderot Mental Health Center has provided therapy treatments to thousands of Sderot trauma victims and has 5, 500 patients on file.

The Gaza rocket attacks on Sderot come after the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday.

During a White House press conference after the meeting, President Obama stated, that “there is a recognition that the Palestinians are going to have to do a better job providing the kinds of security assurances that Israelis would need to achieve a two-state solution, [and] gain additional legitimacy and credibility with their own people, and delivering services.”

Obama also added “that the situation in Sderot was unacceptable, and that he’d seen the situation there himself.”

Indeed, when Obama visited Sderot last year, he stated in a Sderot press conference “I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope.”

He also stated that, “The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

Tuesday marked the fifth month since the Hamas-Israel ceasefire in mid-January. During that time, over 210 rockets have been fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza at Israel.

Security officer digging for the Qassam with Sderot mayor, David Bouskilla upfront.
Photo: Noam Bedein

Promises from then candidate Obama. Promises to secure the Jewish vote. But in reality Obama is anything but sympathetic to the plight of the people of Sderot and Israel. He is more concerned with his image and prestige in the Muslim world than any thing else. It is accepted in the Muslim world that there is only one solution to the problem, the total destruction of Israel, Western civilization, and the death to each Jew worldwide. That is the true goal of the OIC, Arab League, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Hizbollah.

Yet President Obama ignores these facts and is committed to the fiction of a 2-State Solution. To achieve this aim President Obama has been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into making more concessions to the Arabs. Including giving away control of the most holiest sites in Judaism, The Temple Mount and The Kotel:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem Thursday night that the Israeli flag will continue to fly over the Western Wall (Kotel). The first prime minister in years to appear at the venerable yeshiva on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), he ignored U.S. President Barack Obama’s apparent trial balloon that he wants to see the United Nations flag fly over the Old City holy sites.

This is a proposal that will never be accepted by the Jewish Nation! Either President Obama is a dim-witted idiot or he is stupidly naive. You choose.

Don’t be silent on this. Do something. Write a letter to your local paper, call Congress in protest, call the President in disgust, or sign up for SMS Alerts. And please find it in your heart to donate to the Sderot Media Center. Without them, the people of Sderot would have no voice. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post.

And remember to keep the people of Sderot and Israel in your prayers.

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Sderot to Congress: Don’t Finance Terror!

By Findalis


From the Sderot Media Center

Rockets still fall upon Sderot and Southern Israel. Even with a “cease-fire”, Hamas will not stop firing rockets.

By Anav Silverman

This week Kibbutz Kfar Aza mourned the death of Jimmy Kedoshim, a husband and father of three, who was killed last year in a Palestinian mortar attack on May 9, 2008. The mortar, fired from northern Gaza, struck Kedoshim, 48, in the backyard of his home. Kedoshim’s death was the first caused by mortar fire since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

A day after Kedoshim’s memorial service, the Kfar Aza community was reminded once again that Palestinian rockets still threaten the region. On Sunday, May 10, 2009 a Palestinian Qassam rocket slammed across Kibbutz Kfar Aza, this time landing in an open area in the Regional Council of Sdot Negev and Sha’ar HaNegev. No injuries or damages were reported.
Kedoshim was a well known and beloved figure in the Kfar Aza community.

“The death of Jimmy Kedoshim was devastating for the entire Kfar Aza community,” Karen, a Kfar Aza mother told Sderot Media Center last year. Jimmy, a professional sky diver, raised his three children on the Kfar Aza kibbutz with his wife Anna.

*YNET News contributed to this report.

The media cries that these are homemade rockets, they do little damage and cause very few injuries and deaths. I have a proposition for the members of the media then. Someone will go over to your house with a gun and fire randomly into your home. They will do this for the next 8 years. The media will not cover the event, the police will not stop it. No bullet fired will be aimed. What will YOU do? After all they are just bullets of a small caliber, they do little damage and cause minimum injuries.

You see how your argument is faulty?

by Anav Silverman

Back in March, Sderot Media Center director, Noam Bedein held a special briefing with US Congressmen and their advisors on Capitol Hill, where he highlighted the rocket situation in Sderot and southern Israel in a meeting initiated by the EMET organization President, Sarah Stern.

A day previously, on Monday March 2, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pledged $900 million at a conference in Egypt set to raise billions of dollars for Gaza reconstruction after Operation Cast Lead.

Following the meeting between Bedein and the Congressmen on Capitol Hill, Democratic Representative Shelley Berkley (D-Nev) sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which demanded that the aid to Gaza be delayed as long as the rocket fire continues and Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian terrorists three years ago, remains captive by Hamas.

Joining Berkley in her efforts to place conditions on the $300 million in US aid for Gaza, is Representative Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.). Three weeks ago, Reps. Elliot and Berkley drafted a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committe; Congressmen David Obey and Jerry Lewis respectively. Reps. Eliot and Berkley stated that “we are concerned that – in the aftermath of Hamas’ unprovoked attacks on Israel – sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza without conditions will send precisely the wrong message at the wrong time”

In addition, the Congressmen also added that “ it is essential that we not simply write a “blank check” for the Gaza-based Palestinians to continue” its missile attacks on Israel.

“We must instead send a message that the United States will help with the needs of the Palestinians if–and only if–they meet the conditions of the international community to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and commit to all agreements that they have signed with Israel. Not only has Hamas failed to meet any of these conditions, it has not stopped raining rockets on Israeli territory and still holds captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It is essential that we condition our funding for Gaza on Hamas’ complying with these basic demands.

Read the full letter below.

April 28, 2009

The Honorable David R. Obey, Chairman

The Honorable Jerry Lewis, Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations

H-218, The Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Lewis:

We write to you today regarding the President’s request for supplemental funding in fiscal year 2009. It has come to our attention that within President Obama’s request is $900 million in funding for the West Bank and Gaza. We are concerned that – in the aftermath of Hamas’ unprovoked attacks on Israel – sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza without conditions will send precisely the wrong message at the wrong time.

In late 2008, Hamas intensified its missile attacks on Israel, using Gaza as a launching pad to terrorize the population of Sderot and other communities in southern Israel. Even after Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005, the unprovoked assault by unguided rockets of terror continued. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) finally retaliated against these attacks, after showing incredible restraint for many years, destroying a great deal of Hamas’ infrastructure within Gaza. While the IDF attempted to minimize civilian casualties, there was damage to many areas in Gaza. The blame for this, however, rests firmly on Hamas’ shoulders, as they began the unprovoked shelling on Israeli cities and were warned repeatedly that the continued shelling would bring a strong response from Israel. Further, Hamas conducted its combat operations from heavily-populated civilian areas and, thus, was responsible for the protection of the civilians in the area. Indeed, this use of unarmed men, women, and children as human shields was shocking and disgraceful.

It is, therefore, essential that we not simply write a “blank check” for the Gaza-based Palestinians to continue acting this way. We must instead send a message that the United States will help with the needs of the Palestinians if – and only if – they meet the conditions of the international community to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and commit to all agreements they have signed with Israel. Not only has Hamas failed to meet any of these conditions, it has not stopped raining rockets on Israeli territory and still holds captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It is essential that we condition our funding for Gaza on Hamas’ complying with these basic demands. Without such links, Palestinians will see the U.S. as providing aid while Hamas continues to terrorize the Israeli people, with no consequences from the U.S. government.

We urge you to condition our funding on reciprocal actions from Hamas. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Shelley Berkley

Member of Congress

Eliot Engel

Member of Congress

*The JTA News Service contributed to this report.

The United States has pledged $1.1 billion to Gaza. This is effectively giving $1.1 billion to Hamas. For the only funds that are going to Gaza are going to Hamas. Do you believe for one moment that any of the allocated funding will go to rebuild homes, schools, etc…? If you do I got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. It is an antique, but in very good condition (real cheap too).

This has got to end. There should be no funds sent until:

  1. Hamas recongizes Israel not only has a right to exist but is a Jewish nation.
  2. The return of Gilad Schalit safe and unharmed.
  3. The immediate ceasation of all attacks on Israel.

After those 3 points are met, then the $1.1 billion in aid should be sent.

It seems that the Obama administration is hell bent on the destruction of the Jewish Nation. Call or write your Representative today! Don’t allow your tax dollars to be sent to a terrorist organization. Make your voice heard!

Return Gilad Schalit Home NOW!

By Findalis

Hat tip to A Soldier’s Mother


When Alan Johnston went missing in Gaza on 12 March 2007, the world press went ape over it, demanding his immediate release. On 4 July 2007 he was released.

On 25 June 2006 Gilad Schalit was kidnapped. That was over 1050 days ago. There has been no word of his condition, no Red Cross visits, nothing. Just a handful of letters.

The world’s press silently applauds this action. After all Gilad is just another Jew. And Jews are the worst people on Earth to them. So what if he is never seen alive again.

The Obama administration doesn’t condemn this action. They reward it with a cash handout of $1.2 billion. Job well done?

But you have a voice. Let the Obama administration know that you do NOT support this action.

This appeal is coming directly from Noam Shalit, father of Gilad. Please don’t let him down. All it takes is a click.

We, the undersigned, call on the United States government to make its $300 million humanitarian aid pledge to the people of Gaza, conditional upon the Hamas leadership releasing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held in captivity for over 1,000 days.

Please sign the petition at: http://dogood.aish.com/gilad/ and forward to your friends in Israel and abroad.

Thank you!

Gilad’s family has been living this nightmare for 3 years, not knowing where their loved one is, how he is. Not knowing if he is being tortured, suffering, alive or dead.

And Gilad himself – he was just a boy when he was captured by a cruel and intractable enemy. What kind of people give no information about a prisoner of war, only torment the family? What kind of a world does not speak up about this injustice? Don’t be like them. Please help this family. Click and then send this on to everyone you know.

Sign the petition, link any aid to Gaza with the return of Gilad Schalit. Bring him home NOW!

FREE GILAD SCHALIT NOW!

100 Days, 199 Rockets

by Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center:

by Jacob Shrybman

The weekly Jewish Sabbath intended for rest and rejuvenation was nothing of the sort this Friday and Saturday as more rockets and mortars struck southern Israel. One qassam and two mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel prompting the Israeli Air Force to target 5 smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Hamas controlled territory. The Israeli Defense Forces said that this targeting of tunnels was a clear message that there would be a response to every rocket fire.

In the 105 days since the end of the 21 day Operation Cast Lead on January 18th there has been 199 missiles fired at Israeli civilians. More specifically there have been 128 qassam rockets, 66 mortar shells, and 5 grad missiles. These most recent attacks only add to the well over 10,000 missiles that have been fired at Israeli civilians since January 2001.

Archive Photo

Head of Shaar Hanegev Regional Council Alon Shuster commented on the weekend’s rocket fire, “We have no reason to assume that the rocket fire will stop. We did not come to any agreement with or defeat our enemies. The rocket fire is a strategic threat that will follow us in the coming years.”

In a cease-fire both sides must stop all attacks. The Israelis stopped Operation Cast Lead as a favor to Barack Obama, yet they have gotten nothing in return. How much longer does Israel have to endure before they finally finish the job that they started last December?

by Anav Silverman

Much of the international community and even Israelis living outside the western Negev periphery, are under the impression that rocket fire against Sderot and southern Israel has completely ceased. Israeli news websites and radio stations have carried reports asserting that the number of rockets fired against Israelis in the south has reached all time lows.

While it is true that rocket fire has significantly decreased, Sderot and western Negev residents are still reeling from the impact of the war. The director of the Sderot Mental Health Center, Dr. Adrianna Katz told Sderot Media Center yesterday that area residents are streaming into her clinic, seeking therapy for developing ‘post-war’ trauma symptoms.

Dr. Adriana Katz

“Many new Sderot patients are coming in for help, even though they have lived with the rocket terror for eight years now,” says Dr. Katz. “PTSD symptoms among area residents emerge during periods of ‘quiet’ like now. Many seeking therapy had tried unsuccessfully on their own to suppress these symptoms of trauma during the past rocket escalations.”

PTSD or post-traumatic-stress-disorder is an anxiety disorder which develops after exposure to a terrifying event ordeal which physical harm occurred or was threatened. People suffering from PTSD have a severe an ongoing emotional reaction to extreme psychological trauma. Symptoms include flashbacks and nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, numbness and detachment-all of which impair social and familial relationships as well as performance at work.

Victims of PTSD often avoid stimuli associated with their trauma. In Sderot, it is often impossible for residents to escape the reality that has brought on the trauma symptoms because of the fragile quiet. Dr. Katz explained that recovering patients who hear the Color Red siren just once-the alarm that sends civilians fleeing to shelters– will go back to experiencing PTSD symptoms.

Indeed, since the ceasefire in mid-January, the Color Red siren has been set off almost weekly in Sderot.

“During the war, my staff discovered a new type of anxiety that developed among Sderot residents, which we termed ‘optimistic anxiety,’“ said Dr. Katz. “Although residents were fearful of the rocket fire, they also experienced for the first time in years– a sense of optimism that the operation would completely end the rocket terror.”

“However, Sderot residents do not believe that the operation brought about a complete nor lasting change as it was finished halfway. In fact, because the rocket attacks have spread as far as Netivot, Ashdod, and Be’er Sheba, Sderot residents feel even less secure,” Dr. Katz related.

“Many families left Sderot during the war and traveled to nearby cities which they believed were safe from rocket attacks, only to find out they were not. This fact, which was revealed during the war, has spurred on further anxiety among patients.”

Over 5, 500 patient files have opened in the Sderot Mental Health, who has a staff of four counselors, since Palestinian rocket fire on the city began in 2002. Out of those files, 2,500 are active, with many patients seeking treatment for the long term, said Dr. Katz. She did not have an exact number on how many new patients have come in for treatment since the war.

Dr. Katz believes that there are many more PTSD victims in Sderot who are not seeking help. Most residents who do come to Dr. Katz are referred to by a doctor or medical expert, while few arrive by their own initiative.

Dr. Katz offers a small smile when I ask her if she has any hope for a lasting peace in the region. “Not at this moment,” she says as she gets ready to greet her next patient.

PTSD is the most common mental disorder in Sderot. It affects men and women, young and old alike. Any where else in the world, levels of PTSD in a city’s population would be considered epidemic with the Main Stream Media jumping over themselves to carry the story. Yet the media is silent about this. The media in the US is silent until Israel tries to stop the rockets, and then they condemn Israel. But you do not have to be silent. You have a voice. Make yourself heard! Contact your local paper, television station, CNN, Fox News, NBC, etc… Let them know that you don’t accept that the perpetrators of these acts are NOT the victims! The true victims are the people of Sderot. Especially the children. Little ones who suffer from PTSD and have no voice in America.

And if you are able, please donate a few dollars to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this article. It will take you to their donation site.

The Children of Sderot have no voice. Will you be that voice for them?

Lets Play Pretend

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Sderot: Remembering the fallen and the terror continues

By Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center:

By Anav Silverman

At Madaim Alon Elementary School, principal Leora Fima stands before her students, marking the beginning of Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen service held at the school on Tuesday morning.

The 160 students, from first grade to sixth grade, sit quietly in the school hall– one of the last areas of the school that remains unprotected by rocket attacks.

When Principal Fima tells the students that the siren will go off at any moment in remembrance of Israel’s fallen, a first grader in the crowd asks if she means the Tzeva Adom, or Color Red siren warning of impending rockets. “No, a different siren,” responds Principal Fima.

“The students were badly affected by the impact of the Gaza war,” Principal Fima later tells Sderot Media Center. “It was very difficult to get the students back on track in terms of studying. It was impossible to get them to concentrate and their motivation was completely gone.”

During the Gaza war, many schools in southern Israel including Sderot remained closed.

However, through outside financial contributions, Madaim Alon was able to establish an intensive psychological therapy program for the students. “Once a week, each child in our school undergoes an hour of psychological therapy,” says Fima. “This has helped the students tremendously. Since Passover vacation there has been a significant change in their behavior. The kids are noticeably more relaxed.”

Madim Alon Elementary School is the only school in the western Negev which offers such counseling for students– many of whom suffer from PTSD symptoms that result from sirens and rocket attacks.

“The kids here understand, perhaps better than anyone else, the meaning behind Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars,” says Fima.

” One student even told me earlier in the week that from war, can we can strive for peace. The kids know that these young soldiers gave up their lives for us to live here today.”

Indeed, the hall was completely quiet as a Madaim Alon student read off the names of Sderot’s fallen soldiers during the ceremony. When the names of the Sderot residents killed by rocket attacks were called out loud, the silence among the children was almost deafening.

These kids have had to sacrifice so much already at such a young age. And yet they are not consumed by hatred or anger,” said Fima.

Last week Madaim Alon held a Peace Day for its students in light of Operation Cast Lead. The elementary school students organized sessions exploring how the recent Gaza war affected everyone including Palestinian children, Fima explained.

“There is a time for building bridges,” she says.


By Anav Silverman

Color Red Siren Sounds in Sderot on Israel’s Remembrance Day for Fallen of Israel’s Wars

While those living outside of Sderot may be under the impression that the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is going well, Sderot and western Negev residents continued to experience rocket fire during the recent Passover holiday and Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers earlier this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, April 28, the Tzeva Adom or Color Red siren blared throughout Sderot, sending residents racing to shelters.

On Wednesday April 16, a Qassam rocket slammed into the western Negev, with another rocket following 24 hours later. The second rocket was fired hours after the Israel Air Force struck a booby-trapped building in central Gaza.

Both rockets landed in the Eshkol region of the western Negev, in an open an area, causing no reported injuries or damages.

Since the ceasefire began on January 19, over 180 rockets including five grad rockets supplied by Iran, were fired at southern Israel according to the IDF spokesperson’s office. There has been a marked decrease in the number of rockets fired at Israeli civilians since Operation Cast Lead. According to the IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Hamas has been deterred from firing Qassam rockets into Israel since the operation.

“It is not coincidental that there is no [Kassam] rocket fire from Gaza, but we know that terrorism or attacks along the border fence, by sea or from the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula, are still on the agenda and we are therefore preparing with all the necessary measures,” Ashkenazi stated on Monday, April 16, as reported by the Jerusalem Post.

Other terrorist activities have continued in Gaza. On Thursday April 13, Egyptian officials arrested nine Sinai Beduin near the Gaza border on the suspicion of smuggling weapons, merchandise and money to Hamas. Two of the suspects were caught at the Rafah border crossing in possession of more than $90,000.

Egyptian police had discovered the day before 900 kilograms of TNT hidden in 18 sacks near the Gaza border. Egyptian authorities also arrested three Palestinians on suspicion of infiltrating into the country.

On April 13, the Israeli Navy spotted an unmanned Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The boat was loaded with hundred of kilograms of explosives and remotely detonated as it approached an Israeli Navy ship, which distanced itself away from it. The fishing boat exploded seconds later, injuring no one.

In the past, Palestinian have tried to detonate explosives-laden ships next to Israel Navy vessels.

According to the Jerusalem Post, four Israeli sailors were wounded in 2002 when Palestinian detonated a fishing boat next to a navy patrol off northern Gaza.

In October 2000, a small ship exploded next to the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 American sailors.

Also last week, Egyptian authorities cracked a Hezbollah-run terrorist ring based in Egypt. Thanks to intelligence information provided by Israel’s Mossad and other foreign intelligence services including the CIA, the crackdown led Egyptian authorities to arrest dozens of suspects on Thursday April 16.

According to Ha’aretz, the head of the ring was Lebanese citizen Sami Shihab who was in touch with a special branch of Hezbollah for some time. Egyptian security sources said that the Hezbollah agents had planned a series of terrorist attacks against tourist sites in Sinai where western and Israeli tourists frequent. Egptian sources also noted that the Suez Canal was a target of the ring.

Egypt had been hunting for 13 members of the 49 member Hezbollah ring which included Lebanese and Sudanese citizens for some time. The men had taken shelter in the central Sinal town of al-Nakhl and authorities had feared that the men might escape north into Gaza located 120 miles away through secret tunnels or head further south.

A senior Egyptian source told Haaretz that “Egypt will take active measures against anyone who threatens its national security. We will not allow anyone to do this: Hezbollah, Iran or others. They sought to strike at the national security of Egypt, but luckily we stopped them and uncovered their plot.”

The world does not care that over a million people live under the daily threat of rocket attacks from an entity that has sworn to kill each and every one of them. Instead it applauds and rewards the purveyors of the terror with massive amounts of financing in the guise of aid. The Obama administration alone has pledged to give $1.1 billion to help Gaza. US taxpayer funds that will go straight into the hands of Hamas. Obama is even orchestrating the means to put it directly into Hamas’ hands. Funds that will not go to the people of Gaza, but to purchase the weapons of terror.

If you feel that funding terror is against the principles that this nation was founded on, then write Congress and let them know that. Let them know that you stand tall with the people of Sderot. That you do not want your tax dollars given to a known terrorist group. That $1.1 billion could be spent better here at home. Just don’t be silent!

And like always, I ask you to donate to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post.

It is time that the sirens fall silent over Sderot!

Puzzled In Gaza

By Findalis

The world has been screaming about the horror that Gaza has become due to Operation Cast Lead. That it is all in shambles, thousands of innocent civilians were wounded, hundreds of innocent civilians were killed. That the Israelis are the worse people on Earth since the Nazis. This sentiment has been echoed from the highest levels of many governments. Voices like Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Congressmen Ellison and Baird plus that perennial loser John Kerry, have echoed these remarks, shouting that the time has come to cut off all funding from Israel. But they did not see the real picture that is Gaza. Only the Pallywood version that they were allowed to be shown.

What I saw was that there had been precision attacks made on all of Hamas’ infrastructure. Does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticize the surgical destruction of the explosives cache in the Imad Akhel Mosque, of the National Forces compound, of the Shi Jaya police station, of the Ministry of Prisoners? The Gazans I met weren’t mourning the police state. Neither were they radicalized. As Hamas blackshirts menaced the street corners, I witnessed how passersby ignored them.

THERE WERE empty beds at Shifa Hospital and a threatening atmosphere. Hamas is reduced to wielding its unchallengeable authority from extensive air raid shelters which, together with the hospital, were built by Israel 30 years ago. Terrorized Gazans used doublespeak when they told me most of the alleged 5,500 wounded were being treated in Egypt and Jordan. They want it known that the figure is a lie, and showed me that the wounded weren’t in Gaza. No evidence exists of their presence in foreign hospitals, or of how they might have gotten there.

From the mansions of the Abu Ayida family at Jebala Rayes to Tallel Howa (Gaza City’s densest residential area), Gazans contradicted allegations that Israel had murderously attacked civilians. They told me again and again that both civilians and Hamas fighters had evacuated safely from areas of Hamas activity in response to Israeli telephone calls, leaflets and megaphone warnings.

Seeing Al-Fakhora made it impossible to understand how UN and press reports could ever have alleged that the UNWRA school had been hit by Israeli shells. The school, like most of Gaza, was visibly intact. I was shown where Hamas had been firing from nearby, and the Israeli missile’s marks on the road outside the school were unmistakable. When I met Mona al-Ashkor, one of the 40 people injured running toward Al-Fakhora – rather than inside it as widely and persistently reported – I was told that Israel had warned people not to take shelter in the school because Hamas was operating in the area, and that some people had ignored the warning because UNWRA previously told them that the school would be safe. Press reports that fatalities numbered 40 were denied.

I WAS TOLD stories at Samouni Street which contradicted each other, what I saw and later media accounts. Examples of these inconsistencies are that 24, 31, 34 or more members of the Fatah Samouni family had died. That all the deaths occurred when Israel bombed the safe building it had told 160 family members to shelter in; the safe building was pointed out to me but looked externally intact and washing was still hanging on a line on one of its balconies. That some left the safe building and were shot in another house. That one was shot when outside collecting firewood. That there was no resistance – but the top right hand window of the safe building (which appears in a BBC Panorama film Out of the Ruins” aired February 8) has a black mark above it – a sign I was shown all day of weaponry having been fired from inside. That victims were left bleeding for two or three days.

The media have manufactured and examined allegations that Israel committed a war crime against the Samounis without mentioning that the family are Fatah and that some of its members are still missing. They have not considered what might flow from those facts: that Hamas might have been active not only in the Samouni killings but in the exertion of force on the Samounis to accuse Israel.

THE GAZA I saw was societally intact. There were no homeless, walking wounded, hungry or underdressed people. The streets were busy, shops were hung with embroidered dresses and gigantic cooking pots, the markets were full of fresh meat and beautiful produce – the red radishes were bigger than grapefruits. Mothers accompanied by a 13-year-old boy told me they were bored of leaving home to sit on rubble all day to tell the press how they’d survived. Women graduates I met in Shijaya spoke of education as power as old men watched over them.

No one praised their government as they showed me the sites of tunnels where fighters had melted away. No one declared Hamas victorious for creating a forced civilian front line as they showed me the remains of booby trapped homes and schools.

From what I saw and was told in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead pinpointed a totalitarian regime’s power bases and largely neutralized Hamas’s plans to make Israel its tool for the sacrifice of civilian life.

What the writer saw and heard was the truth. Not what Hamas wanted the world to see, but the actual truth behind what happened. But the Moonbats in the world will only listen to Hamas’ lies and scream out that there was an atrocity committed in Gaza by the Israelis.

And what does the US government do? The allocate $900 million for Gaza reconstruction. Almost a Billion Dollars to flow into the hands of Hamas. A Billion Dollars for weapons, for rockets, for terrorizing innocent Israelis. A Billion Dollars to steal and put in their personal Swiss Bank Accounts. And yet, this same administration cannot find a single dollar to help rebuild the City of New Orleans, especially the lower 9th Ward.

And where does the US get this money from? You guess it. The American Tax Payer. Congratulations America! You have a new partner in the world: Hamas! I am sure you are all very happy with this idea and will take them into your bosom. After all, they will now be your biggest partners in your War against Terror, War against Islamic Fascism, War on Israel. How wonderful for you!

Golda Meir and Keith Ellison

by Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center.

A strange mixture of a headline. A former Prime Minister of Israel and an avowed Muslim Congressman.

First the Congressman:

US Congressmen Brian Baird and Keith Ellison Visit Gaza and Sderot

by Anav Silverman

Following a day tour in Gaza, members of Congress, Brian Baird (D-Washington) and Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) spent an hour in Sderot touring the city with Sderot Media Center director, Noam Bedein and staff on Friday, February 20.

In Sderot, the Congressmen met with the Amar family whose home was destroyed in a Palestinian rocket attack in December 2007. Both US President Obama and Senator John McCain had visited the Amars during their tour of Sderot last year.

Congressman Ellison in Sderot

The Congressmen asked many questions during the visit and showed interest in understanding the full impact of rocket fire on Israeli civilians– including children– living in Sderot.

Dr. Adrianna Katz of the Sderot Mental Health Center spoke with the Congressmen at the Sderot Police Station, where hundreds of exploded rockets have been stored away. Representative Baird, a licensed clinical psychologist, was particularly interested in the psychological impact of the rocket fire. Dr. Katz explained that there is a ‘Qassam generation’ of Sderot children who have been born into the rocket fire.

“These kids, who experienced rocket attacks since 2001, know no other reality other than exploding rockets and ‘Tzeva Adom’ (Color Red) alert sirens. Their sense of peace and security has been shattered,” said Dr. Katz.

View the video of Ellison’s visit here.

“The rocket fire has impacted the economic situation, family relationships– all aspects of life here in Sderot. People live in constant fear and terror that a rocket may strike at any moment. Over 5,000 residents have been forced to leave and relocate elsewhere.”

“Israelis living in Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva and Ashdod are now experiencing that same terror for the first time, ” added Dr. Katz.

Accompanying the Congressmen on their visit, were Dr. Nick Palarino and Dr. Catherine Salsman.

Holding a Hamas-fired rocket at the Sderot Police Station, US Representative Ellison, the first Muslim elected to US Congress, commented on its heaviness. “A rocket explosion can impact up to 300 feet,” explained SMC director, Noam Bedein. “The models become more sophisticated and pack more explosives with each passing year.”

Bedein also pointed out that the Grad-model Katyusha rockets come directly from Iran. “Iran supplies Hamas with the rockets that target major Israeli cities. The rockets were smuggled through the tunnels dug between the Egyptian-Gaza border or by ship, during the last ceasefire.” During the war, the Grad rockets were able to target one million Israelis who still remain under Palestinian missile threat.

Both US representatives asked Dr. Katz her view on potential peace with the Palestinians. “Is the hatred towards the Palestinians deep-seeded on the Israeli side? asked Congressman Baird. “There is no hatred for the Palestinian people,” replied Dr. Katz. “Israelis here know that there is an underlying difference between the Hamas government and the average Palestinian citizen.

The two US representatives filmed the tour on their camera phones to share with relevant persons back in the US.

Congressman Ellison, who represents Minnesota, and Congressman Baird, who represents Washington state, had visited Gaza the day previously. It was the first time that anyone from the US government had entered the Gaza Strip since Hamas took power. Their visit to Gaza, according to Representative Brian Baird’s website, was not officially sanctioned by Obama Administration. However, US President Obama has stated in the past that he intends to improve ties with the Muslim world.

Indeed in a joint press release available on Congressman Baird‘s official government website, Congressmen Ellison and Baird spoke primarily of their visit to Gaza and their impressions of the situation there.

And now the Prime Minister:

by Jacob Shrybman

Moments after another “Tzeva Adom” warning siren rang out in Sderot I walked around the Sderot Media Center office wondering why it is that the Jewish nation must continually justify their actions for survival. No matter the measure taken to protect its people from rockets, missiles, bombs, guns, or heavier attack Israel comes under a barrage of condemnations and negative political pressure. It is nearing the 61st year since its establishment, so when will the Jewish state no longer have to defend its existence?

If the reason for these condemnations is because of numbers of casualties from Israel’s vital operations then where was the uproar when Arafat claimed that 10,000-20,000 were massacred in eleven days by the Jordanian army in September of 1970? These numbers, as well as other world conflict casualty statistics, overshadow the inflated number of 1,300 people that Hamas claims were killed by Israel during the three-week Operation Cast Lead.

A playground tube in Sderot.

Nonetheless, I resent the fact that the Jewish people and Israel need to constantly prove to the world that we have a right to defend ourselves and that we are not blood-thirsty monsters like often portrayed. More so I resent the fact that in order to bolster my case for Israel’s legitimacy I have to research and compare numbers of people killed by other nations versus numbers killed by the Jewish nation. Could the world truly think that Israel likes having to send its country’s youth into an extremely hostile urban combat setting where around every corner could be a booby-trapped explosive or kidnapping trap? Could the world truly think Israel’s self-centered politicians like suspending their election campaigns to handle the emergencies that come along with a military operation?

The world must understand that Israel cannot have 1 million of its citizens under the daily immediate threat of rockets.

Last week while guiding an afternoon tour of Sderot for American students Sderot resident and mother Shula Sasson showed the group of 18 year-olds how her family’s mattresses were leaning against the wall behind their couch in the first floor living room because her family hasn’t slept or lived on the second floor of their house for years because it is simply too far from their sheltered room.

When one of the students asked Shula if she was optimistic about the since there is currently a ceasefire with Hamas, she calmly but sternly replied, “Do not believe it (ceasefire).” She then emphasized to the students that their visit to Sderot was more important than a meaningless ceasefire so they can convey the situation to their schools and communities. Shula wished the students goodbye saying, “You will be the ones to save us. Not a ceasefire.

Over the past eight years, since the rocket fire began in January 2001, Israel has attempted various methods to bring an end to these terrorist attacks in order to put off a major military operation. Even when Israel is forced to carry out the difficult task of thwarting terrorists embedded in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, it goes to unprecedented lengths to prevent loss of civilian life. It is unheard of other militaries around the world to call and text message civilians warning them of the imminent military attack.

But yet the Tzeva Adoms continue and I am sitting in Sderot agitated and on edge; in the only region in the world where civilians are consistently targeted by rockets, less than a mile a way to a territory controlled by a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of the Jewish State. So, I resent the fact that I have to defend Israel’s legitimacy for existence when it is forced to target terrorists that the world knows are using families’ home and hiding behind human shields.

As former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said after the Six Day War, “When peace comes we can forgive the Arabs for killing our children but we cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill theirs.

Two different stories, one dealing with the anger that Israelis feel in having to justify their existence. The other about a couple of US Congressmen. They looked and listened to the stories of Sderot, but the words fell upon deaf ears.

Normally at this point I would ask you my reader to donate to the Sderot Media Center, sign up for the Code Red Alerts, and of course pray for the people of Sderot. This time I don’t urge you to do that. Instead, send the people of Sderot a message of support. It is free, takes only a few minutes of your time and is easy to do:

by Sderot Media Center

In light of the war on southern Israel, Sderot Media Center has now opened a special page for Sderot supporters. Please share your thoughts, comments, and words of support for Sderot residents. Thereafter, your comments will be published in local Sderot newspapers and will be shared with the Sderot community.

Please mention your name and location!

Thank you.

To send a message click here.