Making The Truth Known At The UN

By Findalis

The United Nations Human Rights Condemn Jews for All The Evils In the World Council set up a Commission headed by South African Judge Richard Goldstone (an attempt on their part to give the illusion of impartiality) held hearings last week in Geneva. A delgation from Israel attended to give voice to the victims of Hamas’ violence.

by Noam Bedein

On July 6th, I traveled to Geneva to testify before the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. Participating in the delegations were Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin, Dr Alan Marcus the director strategic planning branch in Ashkelon, Ophir Shinhar of Sapir College, and Dr. Mirelda Sidrer who was injured during a rocket attack on a medical facility at the Ashkelon mall.

*From left to right: Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin, Dr. Mirelda Sidrer, Hillel Neuer and Dr. Alan Marcus.

The Israeli delegation also included Noam Shalit, who impassionedly spoke on behalf of his son, Gilad, who was abducted three years ago by Palestinian terrorists and has since been held by Hamas.

The Israeli government officially refused to cooperate with the UN mission, since the UN investigation had already formulated conclusions asserting that Israel had committed war crimes during the December-January war.

At the same time, however, the head of the UN fact finding mission, South African Judge Richard Goldstone, told the Israeli media that he would like to hear both sides of the conflict. “The aim of the public hearings was to let the face of human suffering be seen and to let the voices of the victims be heard.”

In preparation for the Geneva hearing, the UN mission invited the Sderot Media Center , a Sderot NGO, to prepare material, footage and information regarding the impact of the Gaza bombardment of the Israeli civilian population in the Negev during the Gaza war. The UN Mission aimed to at obtain an unofficial Israeli perspective.

Before the UN hearing in Geneva, the Israeli delegation received a briefing from Hillel Neuer, head of NGO ‘UN Watch.’ Neuer provided background on the UN fact finding mission and the agenda of each judge on the UN investigating board.

During the days leading up to the testimony, it was not easy to sleep – as the only resident of Sderot and the western Negev in this delegation, knowing that there would be only 30 minutes to convey how aerial terror has devastatingly impacted the civilian population of Sderot.

At the same time, the UN afforded an opportunity for Sderot Media Center, which specializes in communicating the human story of Sderot and life under continuous rocket terror to decision makers around the world , to finally reach the UN.

While the delegation got ready to testify in the “lion’s den,” it was less than sobering to know that one of the UN judges included Professor Christine Chinkin from London. In a Sunday Times article published on January 11th , Judge Chinkin supported the allegation that “Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self defense, it’s a war crime.”

Israeli reporters in Geneva asked hard questions:

Why testify before a such a ‘neutral’ judge who claims that Israel does not have the right to defend her citizens and whose actions “ amount to aggression violating international law and human rights law?”

Why testify when the government of Israel itself has boycotted the investigation which already formulated it allegations against Israel before the investigation commenced?

However, the presence of a UN invited delegation from Israel created a precedent.

Hillel Neuer of UN Watch noted that never in the 16 years of operating in Geneva had there ever been a time when the UN invited and even sponsored a delegation from Israel to give testimony – until now.

This time, the UN provided an opportunity for ordinary people from Israel to make their voices heard across the world. It was an honor as a resident of Sderot to partake in such an event.

Yet the long road to peace and justice for Sderot and Negev residents does not end before a panel of UN judges or a commissioned report.

Residents of Israel who act as witnesses to terror against the Jewish people, are obligated to speak up and convey the experience of what it is like to live under sustained rocket attacks-defined as a terror act and crime against humanity.

*Noam Bedein in the main hall of the UN Headquarters before testifying.

After screening two short videos in front of the panel of UN judges, which depicted the 15 seconds that Sderot residents and their children have to run for their lives when the rocket alarm is activated by impending Gaza rockets, I concluded my presentation with the following thoughts and questions.

“I do not have enough fingers, to count on my hands the amount of times rockets exploded just a few meters from a kindergarten–would any other western democracy in the world tolerate even one rocket being fired towards their territory? Why is it that we must wait, until a kindergarten or classroom packed with children, is struck directly by a rocket in order for Israel to gain international support, to protect and do what is right for our own people?”

US President Barack Obama put it best when he visited a devastated home in Sderot during the 2008 campaign:

“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 would expect Israel to do the same think.”

There were no questions or reactions from the UN judges. We will all have to wait, along with all the residents of southern Israel, to peruse the Geneva verdict on the war when the UN Mission report will be released in September.

*For more news coverage on the Israeli delegation in the UN and SMC’s presentation, click on the news sites below:

Ha’aretz: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098377.html

Israel National News: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132246

Jerusalem Post: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443732048&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

This Kangaroo court that the UN set up came to their conclusion that Israel had no right attacking Gaza and had committed hundreds of War Crimes. But is that the truth? Let us see:

by Anav Silverman

The UN Fact Finding Mission will likely heap more blame against Israel

The three-week Gaza war has been keeping the UN obsessively busy with months of inquiries and a fact-finding mission into supposed Israeli war crime violations.

In May, the UN came out with a report accusing Israel of “negligence or recklessness” in the Gaza war. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would seek compensation from Israel for damages amounting to $11 million to UN facilities. Led by Ian Martin, former head of human rights group Amnesty International, the UN inquiry said Israel was at fault for nine incidents where UN property was damaged.

The 184-page report blamed Hamas for one case of damage, stating that a Palestinian rocket fired at a UN warehouse had caused $29,000 in damages, while attributing all other damages to Israel.

Indeed, the report apparently did not point out the millions of dollars in damages that Hamas rockets caused in the southern region of Israel or call for an investigation into the nine Israeli schools that Gaza missiles struck during the war.

Israel’s deputy UN ambassador Daniel Carmon told Reuters that the report was one-sided. “We were really shocked to see a report where the board is limiting itself to the facts of damages only, ignoring the context, ignoring that there is war against terrorism.

According to The Australian, the UN inquiry apparently made no mention of the UN’s initial accusation that Israeli shells directly hit a UN school in Jabaliya, killing more than 40 civilians.

UN officials accused the IDF of firing a mortar rocket at an UNRWA school on January 6, killing 43 people. CNN, France24, China Daily, Indian, Express BBC World, and the Israeli Haaretz all ran headlines stating that an Israeli strike Killed 40 people at UN School. The New York Times added the word “reportedly” in its headline.

Only one international newspaper, the Canadian Globe and Mail came out three weeks later with a follow-up story to the UN allegation, entitled Account of Israeli Attack Doesn’t Hold up to Scrutiny.

Reporter Patrick Martin found that physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses including a teacher in the UNRWA school yard at the time of the shelling revealed that no one inside the compound had been killed. “Those who died were all outside on a street where the mortar shells landed.”

According to the Globe and Mail article, the teacher who was interviewed refused to give his name because he said UNRWA staff told him not to talk to news media.

Furthermore, the article points out that John Ging, UNRWA’s operations director in Gaza, blamed Israel for the confusion over where the victims were killed. “Look at my statements…I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made such allegations.”

‘Clerical error’

Indeed, in the European Observer (Jan. 7), Ging condemned the attack as “horrific” and suggested that Israel knew it was targeting a UN facility. “We have provided the GPS co-ordinates of every single one of our locations,” he told the BBC in response to the alleged Israeli attack on the school. “It’s very clear that these are UN installations.”

Only on February 2, 2009, did the United Nations finally admit that it had made a mistake – calling the misleading statements “a clerical error.” According to Haaretz, Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, admitted that IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound and not in the compound itself. “We would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school,” said Gaylord.

Meanwhile, the damage had been done. The misleading UN statements and media coverage had led to international outrage with strong condemnations against Israel popping up everywhere.

Not surprisingly, a clerical error of such significance was simply not deemed newsworthy by much of the international press. Except for the Canadian Globe and Mail, and Israeli newspapers including Haaretz, little international media coverage was given to Gaylord’s statements.

By June, the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict was spearheading another investigation. Led by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, the UN investigation has focused its investigation in Gaza, interviewing Hamas along with Palestinians. Israel has refused to cooperate in the investigation, citing anti-Israel bias by the investigation’s sponsor, the UN Human Rights Council, who has issued numerous reports on Israeli treatment of Palestinians but little on the Palestinian rocket terror impacting southern Israelis.

The UN fact finding team includes Christine Chinkin, a law professor at the London School of Economics who signed an editorial published in the Sunday Times in January calling the Israeli offensive a war crime.

Come September, when the UN report is due, can one really expect an impartial, objective examination of the Gaza war? The recent comments of a Hamas official perhaps summed it best. In an AP news article (June 9), Ahmed Yousef said that he hoped the UN report would be “like ammunition in the hands of the people who are willing to sue Israeli war criminals.”

These are dark days for Israel. Hamas can attack Israeli cities with impunity and the world says nothing, does nothing. But let Israel strike back and the world screams bloody murder. Hamas purposely uses schools, hospitals and mosques as rocket firing bases, training centers and ammo dumps, the media and the world give them a pass on it. Yet International Law is very clear on this issue:

Hamas exploits schools, mosques, hospitals and cultural centers to carry out its attacks in flagrant violation of article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This factor is minimized or ignored by numerous NGOs, and the emphasis is placed on Israel to avoid civilian casualties. But international law is clear: in cases of human shields, civilian deaths that result are clearly the responsibility of Hamas and not Israel.

Like usual Hamas will be looked upon as a victim of terror while the true victims will be condemned and vilified. Why? Because they are Jews. Because the world (especially those on the left) are upset that they stopped Hitler from destroying the Jews. Because the world would like to finish the job the great Muslim Savior: Adolph Hitler started, but never got to finish.

You can help change this trend. You can write, call or e-mail your Congressman, your Senator, the President, your local newspaper. Tell someone how you feel about this! Remind them that Israel left Gaza in 2005 with the promise that it will bring peace, and that it was the Palestinians who kept attacking Israel, bring upon themselves the destruction that happened in Gaza.

And if you are able to, you can support the Sderot Media Center. The few dollars you donate goes a long way. Just click here and follow the instructions.

And please, remember the people of Sderot in your prayers. Pray for the peace of Israel.

Advertisements

Sderot: Iran and A Cinemateque

by Findalis

Just 2 separate articles on the occurring violence that is happening in Sderot from Gaza:

by Noam Bedein

While the world follows Iranian developments from the grandstands of YouTube, the people of southern Israel have had front row seats for some time now.

When Iran’s protege, Hamas, staged a coup in Gaza that placed 1.4 million Palestinians under ‘Hamastan’ military rule, no one thought of how southern Israelis would be affected. Located less than one mile away from Sderot, Gaza’s dramatic developments would come to affect everyone in the region.

Before Israel disengaged the Jewish communities from Gaza in August 2005, the Palestinian Authority had promised vast properties of some of these communities to Hamas. Four months later, in January 2006, Hamas won a stunning victory in the Palestinian Authority legislative elections, which resulted in the Mecca Accord of March 2007, which obligated the PA to share all foreign assistance with the Hamas organization.

All this placed Hamas in a strategic position from where it could launch attacks on Israel, even before the Hamas military coup.

Iranian Hamas terror tactics have dominated the lives of the people of Sderot. A town battered by sustained attacks for eight years, Sderot has become the only city to remain under continuous siege in the 21st century.

Sderot woman overlooks her home, damaged in a Qassam attack during the recent Gaza war.
Photo: Noam Bedein

In 2008 alone, the Hamas-controlled Gaza regime fired over 3,300 rockets, mortars and Grads towards the Western Negev and southern Israel, 50 percent more than the previous year.

Five months after Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has fired over 215 rockets during the Hamas-Israel ‘ceasefire.’ Is anyone even keeping track of the number of failed ceasefires that Israel has held with Hamas in the past two years?

For Sderot residents, the knowledge that this has been Israel’s third failed ceasefire with Hamas is not surprising.

In a June 17 appearance at the Knesset, Israel Security Agency director Yuval Diskin warned that “Hamas is continuing to increase its strength, manufacture longer-range rockets and smuggle rockets of a far superior quality,”. In that light,every citizen of southern Israel knows that a massive escalation is around the corner, which will force more than one million Israelis in southern Israel into the seeming safety of protected rooms and bomb shelters.

Shoshana Swissa, a kindergarten teacher in Sderot recently told Sderot Media Center that ”Even today, in these relatively quiet days in Sderot, every single morning we exercise a drill for the 3-year-old children in our kindergarten. The staff teaches them how to run in 15 seconds towards the safe room when the Color Red alert siren sounds. ”

Turning the Gaza Strip into an Iranian military buffer zone

During Israel’s second ‘ceasefire’ with Hamas, between June 2008- December 2008, Hamas did not waste any time building up its military capabilities. Israeli intelligence sources confirm that Hamas dug between 400 and 600 smuggling tunnels that connected Sinai and Gaza in order to “import” guns, missiles, explosives, money,and terrorists, along with oil, fuel, metal, cloths, electronics and even a lion for Gazan’s zoo – earning the Hamas regime between 30-50 million dollars a month from the digging of the tunnels and the goods smuggled through.

The Iranian influence and involvement with the Gaza Strip peaked during the summer of 2008, when hundreds of Iranian missiles were smuggled in, to be fired massively only a few months later at southern Israelis during Israel’s last military operation in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Hamas regime trained tens of thousands of children and woman in Gaza during summer 2008, in anticipation of an Israeli counterattack to the Hamas reign of missiles.

Accepting Iran, accepting Hamas

Hamas today has become more acceptable as a resistance organization among political sectors worldwide. The most recent acceptance overture was made by the former US president Jimmy Carter, who visited Gaza this June and asked the European Union to take Hamas off the charts as a terrorist organization.

It should come as no surprise that a terrorist organization like Hamas, which has killed and wounded thousands of Israeli by suicide bombings and rocket fire, is now accepted as a legitmate governing body. If Iranian President, Ahmedinejad is invited to open a UN Conference on Human Rights and is then invited to meet with the Swiss President, then Western embrace of Hamas is just around the corner.

In the meantime, Sderot and southern Israel can only gear up for another round of rocket fire in the near future.

If Iranians really want to know where all their money from the sale of oil is going to they only have to look at 3 places: Their nuclear program which IS attempting to build an Nuclear bomb, Hamas and Hezbollah. With poverty in their own land, food prices soaring and violent crackdown on dissent, Iran is more concerned with providing weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah, then anything else. If you ever wondered where the Kassams that Hamas still fires into Sderot and the rest of Israel come from, look no further than Iran.

by Anav Silverman

In a region where rockets have hammered civilian residents for the past eight years, the local Sderot Cinemateque remains a popular pastime for residents looking to enjoy a film. As the only rocket-proof cinema in Israel, the Sderot Cinemateque was built eight years ago, right around the time when the first Qassam slammed into Sderot.

The rocket-proof cinema allows local residents to enjoy a film uninterrupted when the rocket alarm, or Tzeva Adom sounds to warn residents of impending Qassams from Gaza. It remains a popular hangout regardless of rocket fire.

A week ago, I had the opportunity to watch a film at the Cinemateque during the eighth annual Cinema South Festival which was held from June 7-12. The festival features the films of graduate students studying in the Department of Film & TV at the local Sapir College. The festival also screened Israeli films that were awarded top prizes abroad as well as international films from Mexico, Hong Kong, and France.

International festival guests included filmmakers Carlos Reygadas from Mexico, Thierry Michel from Belgium, Osvalde Lewat-Hallade of Cameroon and Abi Feijo from Portugal among many others.

I had the opportunity to watch Ajami, one of the featured films of the festival,along with the hundreds of other area residents and international guests. Ajami, named after the largest Arab neighborhood in Jaffa, was co-directed by Israeli Yaron Shani and Jaffa-born Arab, Scandar Copti. The film tells the story of two Muslim Arab brothers and is set against the background of a revenge murder, gangs, Bedouin revenge squads, a Christian Arab godfather and Israeli police.

Ajami was filmed in Arabic -and most of the actors were from the Ajami neighborhood. The mostly Israeli audience at the Sderot cinemateque, myself included, followed along by reading the Hebrew subtitles below.

The film has won international acclaim and was shown in France’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival this past May.

In an interview with the New York Times, the directors of the film, Copti and Shani described their relationship outside of directing of the film, to which both wrote the script. When Shani’s city, Ashdod, was targeted by Gaza rockets in the recent war, Copti called him and said “Take your daughter and your wife and leave.” According to the NYT article, Shani does the same for Copti. Both the directors and the cast where present at the screening in Sderot.

There was something quite unique about watching Ajami in an Israeli rocket-proof theater on the Gaza border. In area that has been devastated by rockets and trauma, it is cultural events like the Cinema South Festival which brings hope for a normal reality that citizens on both sides of the Gaza border continue to seek.

Strange that a movie theater has to be bomb-proof, isn’t it? But that is the reality of life in Sderot. Sderot is a small town that has faced the brunt of rocket attacks for 9 years now. Israel was guaranteed that if they “ethnically cleansed” Gaza of all Jews the rockets attacks would cease. The Israelis did just that in 2005, and the attacks got worse.

Now President Obama is singing the same song: “If you “ethically clean” Judea and Sameria of all Jews, there will be peace!”

Right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn for those who believe this lie to buy.

Unless the PA is willing to be demilitarilized, there can never be peace. Strange as that sounds, it is not Israel who is anti-peace (regardless of what the Useful Idiots of Free Gaza keep saying), but it is the thugs and murderers of Hamas and the PA who will never accept a Jewish nation, never accept Israel and never stop their attacks.

Yet the world loves Hamas. It cries make peace with Hamas. How can one make peace with them when they have openly stated that their goal is the total destruction of Israel and the death to all Jews world-wide?

Again I ask you, my reader to pray for the people of Sderot, to pray for an permanent end to the rocket attacks, and if you are able to, to donate a few coins to the Sderot Media Center. They do such good work in the city of Sderot. Just click here and follow the instructions. All the funds collected go directly to helping the people of Sderot.

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.

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

View at YouTube

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!

Sderot: Remembering the Holocaust. and Durban II

by Findalis


From the Sderot Media Center

by Anav Silverman

Today Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. Standing on a street in Sderot, I listened quietly to the siren sound, remembering the tragedy of 6 million Jews killed in Nazi Europe, my great grandparents, uncles and aunts from Poland among them.

I’ve become used to sirens sounding in Sderot during my past two years here-the click of the intercom, followed by a female voice that calmly repeats Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom, or Color Red. The scenes that unfold usually entail people dashing into shelters-racing for 15 seconds that may mean the difference between life and death.

But now at this moment, the Holocaust siren gives me a moment to reflect. I watch passerby’s stop, Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbekistanis, Moroccans, Persians and the like; Israeli Jews from countries around the world who make up Sderot’s colorful cultural tapestry. We stand together to remember the tragedy of silence that cost the lives of so many innocent people in our nation.

It is this tragedy of silence which probably strikes hardest here in Sderot.

Eight years of Qassam attacks have wounded over 1,000 Israelis, destroyed hundreds of Jewish homes, and have left thousands of children psychologically traumatized. Today close to one million Israelis in southern Israel live under the threat of Palestinian rocket attack thanks to the financial aid and embedment from Iran.

Who will speak up for these Israelis who continue to be the targets of radical Islam in the form of Hamas rocket terror?

Sderot is targeted not because it is a city outside the 1967 green lines, nor because of an army base located in the city. Sderot is part of the UN Partition Plan of 1948 with a civilian population of 19,000, where over 5,000 residents have been forced to flee since Palestinian rocket fire began on the city in 2001.

Sderot is targeted simply because it is a Jewish city on the frontlines of Israel-an easy target for Palestinian terrorists who seek Israel’s destruction.

THE greatest testimony that the world is once again returning to its apathetic state of silence that defined the era of Nazi Germany was revealed no less ironically today at the Durban II conference when Iranian President Ahmadinejad was invited as a guest speaker. Moreover, Hans-Rudolf Merz, the president of Switzerland, a country that declared its “neutrality” during the Holocaust, agreed to meet with Ahmadinejad, who is a fervent Holocaust denier and has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel.

According to an Associated Press report, the Swiss president defended his meeting with Ahmadinejad and said that the criticism of the meeting was unjustified, stating that “Switzerland is neutral and not part of any alliance.”

Ahmadinejad’s presence at Durban II is symbolic in that there has been no overwhelming international outcry against his views or the fact that he was invited to speak at the UN conference on racism.

Iran is considered the greatest threat to Israel’s survival. Although Iran, an oil-rich country, continues to claim that its nuclear program is meant to produce electricity, it remains clear to Israel that Tehran is intent on building nuclear weapons that could potentially cause massive destruction to the state.

SDEROT residents have been the silent targets of Islamic terror for too long. Last year on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, 13 rockets fell upon Sderot. Although rocket fire has significantly decreased since Operation Cast Lead, close to 200 rockets have still been fired at the western Negev region. If Israel does not effectively stand up for her citizens at home, who will stand up for Israel in the world?

As countries across the world show alarming acceptance of a blatantly anti-Semitic figure like Ahmadinejad, demonstrated in Durban II, the state of Israel and the Jewish people cannot allow silence to become a national policy in the face of anti-Semitic terror, be it rockets or rhetoric, at home or abroad.

In 1938 the world did nothing, said nothing while Hitler and his thugs accelerated Germany’s slide into the madness that was the ‘Final Solution‘. We witnessed on Monday 100 nation rise and applaud Ahmadinejad in Geneva. There is only one nation that speaks for Israel and Jews around the world. It is Israel. It is a shame that the world has decided to turn its back and closed its ears to the cries of pain and anguish from Israelis. It is only Palestinian tears that matter to the world.

But I pray not to you, truth seeker. I once again ask you to remember the people of Sderot, and Israel in your prayers. To sign up for Code Red Alerts. To contact you Congress Representatives, Senators and President Obama. Contact your newspapers, radio, and other media outlits. And if you are able to, donate a few coins to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post and follow the directions from there. It is time that the people of Sderot and Israel start having a loud voice screaming out their story too.

European Union and Weapons

by Findalis


From the Sderot Media Center

Weapons smuggling continues into the Gaza Strip

By Sderot Media Center

Over 70 tons of bombmaking supplies have entered Gaza according to Shin Bet head

Hamas is continuing to rearm itself two-and-a-half months after Operation Cast Lead, said Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet). More than 22 tons of explosives, hundreds of mortar shells, dozens of rockets and anti-tank missiles and 45 tons of raw material to manufacture arms, have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

Diskin added that Egypt is doing its part prevent the smuggling, but that the smuggling under the Philadelphi Corridor between Egypt and the Gaza Strip continued unabated.

Hamas is concerned about an escalation in its confrontation with Israel, especially in light of the freeze in talks for a prisoner exchange and the failure so far of its reconciliation talks with Fatah, Diskin said.

An additional round of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks was expected to be held Tuesday and Wednesday in Cairo, but nothing was expected to come of it, he said.

“The difference between the two sides is great,” Diskin said.

Diskin, in his last briefing to the current government, said there had been a marked decrease in the number of rocket attacks on the western Negev.

“Hamas’s military wing is constantly on watch for fear of an escalation, especially in light of the deadlock reached around the prisoner exchange deal and Hamas-Fatah relations.”

“There is indeed a drop in rockets, only one rocket from a small organization was fired in recent days. There are two reasons for this: Hamas is not interested in an escalation or another confrontation with Israel, and as a result, Hamas is carrying out arrests before attacks,” said Diskin.

Diskin also stated that Hamas was taking measures to stop small organizations from firing rockets and had signed an agreement with Islamic Jihad to prevent rocket fire for the short term.

Nevertheless, Diskin warned that the small terrorist organizations were plotting to kidnap soldiers, and were also planning attacks inside Israel – either via Sinai, or with the aid of terrorist organizations in Judea and Samaria.

Read the full story here.

Red Color

View at YouTube

No child should have to live in fear on a daily basis. Every child should have a chance to grow up in a happy, healthy environment.

But the world is all to ready to allow the Jews of Israel, especially those living in Sderot, to suffer these attacks on a daily basis.

Dear EU Ambassador,

The EU is to be commended for the mandate that it has undertaken to help civilians whose lives have been affected by the recent Gaza war. EU member states remain well aware of the suffering and economic challenges that exist on the Palestinian side of the Gaza conflict.

The EU remains the most significant financial donor to the Palestinian civilians affected by the war.

In 2008 alone, the EU provided almost 500 million Euros for the health and welfare services to the Palestinian population in Gaza.Yet on the other side of the Gaza war, EU humanitarian aid workers may not be aware of the devastating toll that the Gaza war has taken on the lives of thousands of Israeli civilians who have endured eight years of daily rocket explosions and siren warnings.

Writing from the perspective of an NGO in Sderot where I have worked and lived for the past 2 years, I have witnessed and written about countless homes destroyed, children maimed, and families torn apart by the impact of these lethal attacks.

This is a reality where bomb shelters, which dot the entire city, are used almost daily. Life in Sderot is measured by 15 seconds–the time one has to race to bomb shelter when the siren goes off to warn of impending rockets. A recent study found that more than 80% of Sderot children suffer from PTSD symptoms-post traumatic stress disorder. The long term psychological damage inflicted by the constant rocket fire on both adults and children alike has not yet been fully comprehended or addressed.

Given the mandate of the EU to help civilians in the Gaza war zone rebuild their lives, the time has come for the EU to help fund agencies in Sderot that seek to strengthen the mental heath and social functionality of ordinary Sderot civilians who need psychological aid in order to continue life under rocket terror. Two appropriate services come to mind:

1) THE SDEROT MENTAL HEALTH CENTER

Although Sderot has no medical center (residents who are wounded by rockets must be transferred to the Barzeli hospital in Ashkelon located 20 min. away) a Sderot Mental Health Center, under the auspices of Barzeli hospital does exist, and is run by Dr. Adrianna Katz. The Mental Health Center has become a vital service for the Sderot community, providing psychological treatment to those suffering from PTSD and those who enter shock after experiencing a rocket explosion. The center has only four full time workers to help provide mental health services to almost 5,000 people in Sderot who have been diagnosed with severe mental health stress that has resulted from the anxiety of life under rocket attacks.

The Sderot Mental Health Center needs immediate financial aid to ad staff and to service such a large community of patients.

2) THE SDEROT COMMUNITY THEATER THERAPY PROGRAM

Providing psychological therapy for Sderot high school students by the avenue of the arts and theater, Sderot Community Theater Therapy reaches out to young people in Sderot to help them express their fears and anxieties of life under rocket fire. The high school students creatively produce dramatic presentations, under the guidance of a theater director and psychologist.

With the understanding that the EU will address the humanitarian needs of all sides of a war zone, it would be a welcome gesture if the EU would help provide funds to the mental health services of Sderot and the Western Negev. Such financial assistance is vital to the restoration of normal life for future generations of southern Israelis.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Anav Silverman, Sderot Information Correspondent

I fear that Anav Silverman’s words will be falling on deaf ears. For many of us in the US have witnessed these last few years is Europe’s embracing of the Palestinian cause and ignoring the suffering that the Palestians are doing to innocent Israeli children.

You don’t have to be silent though. You can help.

Remember Sderot and the people of Southern Israel in your prayers.
Sign up for Code Red alerts here.
Contact your congressman and Senators, reminding them of the United State’s commitment to Israel.
And if you are able to, donate a few dollars to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post.

Every child deserves a happy and safe childhood!