UNRWA, Rockets and DePaul University

by Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center

3 stories, 3 different tales.

UNRWA, where is the money going?

by Anav Silverman

In recent years, billions of dollars have poured into Gaza from hundreds of countries and international organizations. How much of that money has actually reached Palestinian civilians, effectively improving their quality of life and economy, has yet to be completely determined thanks to vague audits and on-line information.

Only recently, with a relatively silent international press, have there been questions from top political leaders, primarily from US, about the way in which the donor money will be transferred into Gaza.

At an Egyptian donor’s conference organized by Norway and Egypt in early March, more than 75 international donors and organizations met to announce their financial support of the reconstruction in Gaza. Over $5.2 billion were pledged at the conference, surprising the Palestinian Authority who originally called for $2.8 billion needed to build-up Gaza.

In light of the US pledge of $900 million, the second largest following Saudi Arabia‘s $1 billion at the conference, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stated that no US funds earmarked for Gaza would end up in the “wrong hands.”

By wrong hands, Clinton meant Hamas, the militant Islamist Palestinian party in complete control of the Gaza Strip. Over $300 million dollars of the US pledge money will be going to Gaza reconstruction, while the rest of the $600 million has been earmarked to Palestinian Authority‘s Mahmoud Abbas.

However, there is another set of “wrong hands” in this scenario through which the transfer of funds may very well pass through, hands that are not considered a neutral player in the Arab-Israeli conflict. US State department spokesman, Gordon Duguid stated that Gaza support would be provided through USAID, in coordination with UN agencies that will most likely include UNRWA.

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, established in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees, has shown dangerous partiality to Hamas terrorists.

In 2004, former UNRWA commissioner-General Peter Hansen revealed to the Canadian Broadcasting Company that UNRWA may very well employ Hamas members. “I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don’t see that as crime,” Hansen infamously stated. He further added, that “We do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another.”

UNRWA has employed several high profile terrorists which include top Islamic Jihad rocket maker, Awad Al-Qiq who was killed in an Israeli air strike last May 2008. Al-Qiq was the headmaster and science instructor at an UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza. Another terrorist, Hamas’s interior minister and head of the Executive Force, Said Siyam, was a teacher for over two decades in UNRWA schools.

Fox News recently reported that UNRWA does not ask its employees whether they are members of, or affiliated with, a terrorist organization such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad. UNRWA also offers no formal screening to ensure that its employees are not affiliated with terrorist organizations.

During Operation Cast Lead, UNRWA officials accused Israel of firing into an UNRWA school, killing dozens of Palestinian civilians seeking refuge. Israel maintained that Palestinian rocket launchers locate next to the school had fired mortars on IDF soldiers, which prompted the army’s response. Later, UN official Maxwell Gaylord, reversed the UN’s stance stating that the shelling and fatalities had actually taken place outside of the school. But the media damage to Israel had already been done.

Mortar Bombs Shot from UN School in Gaza 29 Oct. 2007

View at YouTube

Continue reading here.

Have you ever wondered where all the money is ending up? Billions of dollars and Euros. Some
of it from US taxpayers. The United Nations is to be supporting peace not war.

by Anav Silverman

Over 180 Palestinian rockets have been fired at Israel since the unilateral ceasefire began on January 18, according to the IDF Spokeperson’s Unit. The latest Qassam rocket attack targeted Ashkelon on Tuesday, March 24 after a 10 day lull. A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the Ashkelon are on Tuesday afternoon. No injuries or damage were reported.

Between March 17-24, three Palestinian mortar shells were fired at IDF forces operating along the border security fence. Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the mortar shells fired on March 22.

The last rocket attacks on Israel took place a week ago, on March 14, when Palestinian rockets slammed into the western Negev. The last rocket attack on Sderot took place on March 5, when a Qassam slammed into an open area in Sderot.

Although Hamas recently condemned the Qassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the rocket attacks have continued throughout March. Hamas stated that although it has fired thousands of rockets in the past, its military wing was not behind recent attacks. The militant Islamic group in control of Gaza also stated that it was actively investigating who was responsible for the rocket fire.

On the day on which Israeli PM Ehud Olmert declared the ceasefire effective, January 18, Palestinian terror networks fired a total of 19 rockets at Israeli civilians in the south. Three of the rockets were fired after Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian networks declared a truce on the afternoon of January 18.

A week into the ceasefire, one IDF soldier was killed and three wounded in a roadside bombing on January 27.

Qassams, mortar shells, and Grad rockets have continued slam into Israel sporadically since the truce, with Sderot and western Negev residents entering bomb shelters between one to two times a week.

On February 1, the first grad-Katyusha was fired at Israel since Operation Cast Lead, following two more Grad rockets fired at southern Israel on February 13 and February 21 respectively.

On February 28, nine rockets including two newly advanced Grad-type rockets slammed into Ashkelon. In what was the worst attack since the ceasefire, a Grad rocket slammed into an Ashkelon school, causing heavy damages. The Grad rocket tore through the school, after the air raid siren sounded in the morning, with shrapnel destroying several classrooms. Seven people living nearby the school suffered from stress-related trauma.

The Ashkelon municipality was forced to shut down the school for sometime until repairs could be made. The Grad rocket that hit the school had a range of about 14 km or 8.6 miles, and was designed to cause massive damage.

*Ha’aretz.com, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and YNet News contributed to this report.

For the people of Southern Israel, there is no cease-fire, no truce. Yet the liberals moonbats cry that Israel must honor the cease-fire, the truce. Why aren’t they screaming for Hamas to do the same?

Attacking Sderot at DePaul University

by Jacob Shrybman

One week ago I shared the human side of the conflict in southern Israel and told my personal stories from Sderot in a presentation at Depaul University in Chicago sponsored by StandWithUs, Hillel, and the university’s Political Science department. As a representative of Sderot Media Center, I traveled from Israel to explain the daily reality of rocket fire that has been plaguing the country for the past eight years. Still one week after I told personal stories of having 15 seconds to run for my life, because of the overshadowing anti-Semitic harassment and disruption caused by pro-Hamas student and non-student organizations my message of understanding and empathy for the people of southern Israel has not yet permeated peoples’ minds.

Tolerating Intolerance – Trailer

View at YouTube

I wasn’t 30 hours off the plane from Israel before I was greeted with more direct anti-Semitism than qassam rockets fired at Sderot. Several anti-Israel posters draped the entrance to the building in which I was to tell my personal stories. I began my presentation with a small audience of around 20 people and as my presentation went on the room began filling with people not merely against Israel’s political policies and action but people in clear support of the terrorist organization Hamas.

When I welcomed the custom of a question and answer period following my presentation the very right of free speech that I welcomed to the audience of now over 100 people was thrown in my face and denied to me. To start the question and answer period, an audience member verbally attacked me, stated his support for the firing of rockets into Israel, and ended his anti-Semitic rhetoric filled rant with a question irrelevant to anything in my presentation. I then pointed out to the audience the same fact I want to point out in this article, that this person was not simply criticizing Israel but was clearly expressing his support for the terrorist organization Hamas. Before I could finish answering the question that was underneath all the threatening hate filled propaganda in this audience member’s statement I was interrupted and silenced by the overwhelming Hamas supporters. Next another audience member rose up in the front of the room and screamed out calling me a “dirty whore” in Arabic and proceeded to grab his crotch and scream “Here’s your qassam!” in Arabic.

Continue reading here.

I am not surprised at the reaction from DePaul University. It is an established fact that the majority of US Collages and Universities openly support anti-Semitism and this rhetoric. In fact a student who is Jewish will get lower grades by the majority of their professors if it is brought to the professor’ s attention that the student is a Jew. It is chic to be an anti-Semite now on 99% of the campuses today.

Documentation of this has become a goal of Gary Fouse of Fousequawk.

I ask you, my reader to remember the people of Sderot and Southern Israel in your prayers. I am going to ask you to consider carefully what school you are planning to attend (or your child) and whether that school allows hate speech such as is seen in the video above and others that can be found on the internet. Do you want your child indoctrinated into Nazi rhetoric? Do you want your hard earned dollars supporting Nazi ideology disguised as sympathy for Palastinians? If you are an allumni of such a school and a supporter of Israel, why are you sending the school money to continue these activities?

And like I always do, I will ask you to donate to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post. It will take you right to the donation page.

Now is not the time for people to be silence.

Evil flourishes when good men do nothing!

Gilad Shalit Supporters Wait for Hillary Clinton’s Reply

By Findalis

On March 13, 2009 I asked the following question:

Why are we giving money to terrorists, Secretary Clinton?

A simple question and yet there has been no reply to it.

Now the Sderot Media Center awaits the answers to its questions to Secretary Clinton.

View the video here.

By Anav Silverman

In their final effort to pressure the Olmert government to secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, the Shalit family have stationed themselves in a protest tent across the Prime Minister’s Residence for more than a week now. Rain or shine, the family gathers together each day as reporters, cameramen and thousands of supporters mill around, amid the sad faces of Gilad‘s parents, Noam and Aviva, and older brother, Yoel.

“We are cautiously waiting to see what will happen,” said Noam Shalit on a rainy Sunday standing outside the tent and speaking with Sderot Media Center and press. The family believes that these last few days are critical during the final attempts to negotiate a release deal with Hamas but continue to remain wary. “I am not at all optimistic. If I were optimistic, I wouldn’t be here. I would be at home,” Noam Shalit said.

A sign at the protest tent lists the number of days that Gilad has been held captive by Hamas–this Saturday it will be 1,000 days. Palestinian terrorists captured Gilad at the Erez border crossing almost three years ago, when Hamas won control of the Gaza Strip. He has since been denied Red Cross visitations or communication with his family and the outside world.

In a country where the military plays a pivotal role and everyone knows someone in service, the Gilad Shalit capture has touched the hearts of Israelis across the nation, making him a national symbol. Posters, photos and flags of Gilad, a typical looking nineteen year-old in glasses, can be found plastered on cars, malls, and homes throughout the country.

Recently, however, the continuing storm in Israel surrounding Gilad’s capture made some small waves in the US Congress.

Following a briefing by Sderot Media Center director, Noam Bedein to US congressmen and staffers on Capitol Hill, in an EMET sponsored Policy Forum at Capitol Hill, US Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev) drafted a letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. In the letter, Congresswoman Berkley, who is a member of the Middle East Subcommittee of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked that conditions be placed on the $900 million that the US recently pledged to Gaza.

Berkley stated that she is concerned that the $900 million recently pledged by the United States to the Palestinian people in Gaza will end up in the hands of Hamas, and asked that the money be withhel until the following conditions are met: 1) Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, 2) the launching of Qassam rocket missiles on Israel stops, 3) captured soldier Galid Shalit is returned (http://www.emetonline.org ).

On Sunday, March 15, Noam Bedein visited the Shalit family at the Jerusalem protest tent to personally hand a copy of the Berkley letter to Noam Shalit and explain the significance of the petition. Family spokesperson, Shimshon Libman told Sderot Media Center, that every effort including US pressure, would contribute to the family‘s efforts to bring Gilad home.

The Organization for the Release of Gilad Shalit, released an official statement warmly welcoming the initiative. “For many days, we have demanded that elements that can be used to influence some kind of deal–from transfer of money and goods to prisoners, will make Hamas understand that this is a mutual affair. Our true friends in the US again reveal their understanding of the game rules played in this region. This is the language of action needed. We hope that representatives of other contributing nations (to Gaza) will act in a similar fashion.”

Meanwhile, US Rep. Shelley Berkley is still awaiting a response from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her letter.

The Shalit family will unfortunately also continue to wait for Gilad‘s release–indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo failed to advance Gilad’s release in exchange for hundreds of freed Palestinian prisoners. Knesset Minister, Eli Yishai stated on Tuesday that Gilad’s release will be up to the next government. During the negotiations, Hamas demanded the release of up to 1,400 prisoners. Of that number, 450 were Palestinian terrorists known to have been involved in terror attacks that killed Israelis.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman stated that the two sides had yet to resolve a number of differences regarding the proposed deal.

“It will take a few days before we know if there is an agreement,” Taha stated. “Hamas has presented its demands to the Egyptian mediators, who relayed them to the Israelis. We hope that the Zionist enemy will accept our demands in the coming days.”

At any rate, rocket fire continued against Israel again this week, as a Palestinian rocket fired at the western Negev on Monday struck an open area across a kibbutz in the Eshkol Regional Council. Over 160 Palestinian rockets and mortars have slammed into Israel since the unilateral ceasefire began on January 18.

To refresh the memory of those who forgot the case, Gilad Schalit was kidnapped on June 25, 2006 by Hamas. Hamas has refused to allow the International Red Cross to visit him, to allow anyone to determine whether he is alive or dead. For over 999 days he has been held captive. Yet the world says nothing, does nothing. But let some asshole reporter get kidnapped by the same group, and there is outrage from every sector.

Normally at this time I ask you to pray for Sderot and the people of the South of Israel. This time I ask you to do something more. Watch the video below, then sign the Petition to Congress.
Make any money given to Hamas conditional on the release of Gilad Schalit. Bring Schalit home before Passover, the Festival of Freedom. And spread the word.

Freedom for Gilad Shalit

View at YouTube

Sign the petition here.

Why Are We Giving Money To Terrorists Secretary Clinton?

by Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center

March 11,2009

U.S. congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-Nev), a member of the Middle East Subcommittee of the US House Foreign Affairs Commttee, has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Clinton in which she demands that the American government condition $900 million in Gaza aid for Palestinians on ending Gazan rocket fire on Israel and release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged that $900 million during a conference in Egypt last week, which sought to raise money for rebuilding Gaza after Israel’s three-week incursion into Gaza, which was
aimed at halting Gaza rocket fire on southern communities.

Shalit has been held as a hostage by the Gaza regime Gaza since a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Rep. Berkley’s letter to Secretary followed a meeting on Capitol Hill last Tuesday with the Sderot Media Center, who briefed Congrress about what life is like in rocket-battered Sderot The Sderot Media Center brought Congress s series of first hand audiovisual reports of the 120 rocket attacks that have been launched from Gaza since Israel ceased its military incursion into Gaza on Jan. 18, two days before President Obama was inaugurated.

After the briefing with the Sderot Media Center, Rep. Shelley Berkley dispatched a strong letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which demanded that the aid be delayed as long as the Gaza rocket fire continues and so long as Shalit remains captive.

Video of Sderot Media Center presentation on Cap. Hill: (takes a few minutes to download)

View video here.

Here is the text of the letter.

March 5, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

I write to you today regarding the situation in the Middle East. In the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Israel, and Israel’s defensive operations, I understand the U.S. government has pledged to grant $900 million for the rebuilding of Gaza and for assisting the Palestinian Authority. I am concerned that this money will end up helping Hamas and hurting the very Palestinian people we intend to help.

For years, the U.S. has infused money into the Palestinian Authority (PA), with very little to show for it. Their leaders are no more ready to govern today than they were before we began our funding. After years of mismanagement, their basic institutions are in shambles and they have shown very little ability to govern in the West Bank without the presence of the Israeli Defense Forces. Instead of helping average Palestinians, our money has lined the pockets of the Arafats and other corrupt Palestinian leaders.

I also understand our funding will not be conditioned on any reciprocal actions by Hamas or the PA. Despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas still refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, has not stopped raining rockets on Israeli territory and still holds captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It is essential that we condition our funding on Hamas’ reciprocating 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.

I am also concerned that much of the funding will be directed through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Unfortunately, UNRWA has proven itself to be a biased agency, with very little oversight. During the most recent violence in Gaza, UNRWA issued numerous statements attacking Israel for their self-defense actions, while failing to criticize Hamas for launching missiles at innocent Israeli citizens. Much of UNWRA’s money and services end up in the hands of people who are wealthy enough not to need the assistance, or worse, with members of terrorist organizations. UNRWA officials have even admitted that they cannot guarantee their money does not go to Hamas. I believe helping UNRWA does not further the cause of peace.

With $900 million of our taxes now going to Hamas (forget about what Hillary said, it will end up in the hands of Hamas), I am now wondering why do I bother to pay taxes any way. And what will Hams do with this money? Will they spend it on infrastructure? New homes for the people of Gaza? Schools, Hospitals, Police and Fire Departments? NO! They will either squirrel most of it in Swiss Banks and/or buy more and deadlier rockets to molest Israel with.

It is time for Western Nations to step up to the plate and support Israel for once. It is time to force Hamas to:

  1. Return Gilad Schalit immediately!
  2. Stop all rocket attacks on Israel.

Supports of Hamas and other terrorist groups demand that Israel open the border crossings. But why should Israel? What will Israel get in return?

In 2005, Israel gave up Gaza. And what was given to Israel in return? Peace? Harmony? Friendship? NO! A barage of rockets and terror.

No nation upon the planet would have put up with a daily attack for 1 week let alone 8 years. But Israel is forced by the International Community to.

It is time for us to take action. We can no longer be silent on this. We have to stand up for wht is right. You, my reader, can do something. You can write your Congressman, your Senator, the President, you local newspaper. You can receive Code Red Alerts to show solidarity with the people of Sderot. You can pray for the people of Sderot. And if you are able, you can donate to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of the post and follow the instructions from there.

But don’t just do nothing!

Sometimes Purim Means More

by Findalis

Cartoon from Jewlarious. Click to enlarge.

The joy of the Purim Holiday means that even the threat of rockets fired daily from Gaza is not sacred. In fact, Purim becomes more joyous in their face.

Take this story of Purim fun from Sderot.

Purim is a favorite holiday among Jewish children, teenagers and even adults. It is a holiday where we dress up in costumes, eat sweets and make merry. We do all this to remember the salvation that the Jews of Iran experienced thousands of years ago, when they were saved from a nation-wide death sentence.

Since then, every Jewish home celebrates this holiday by giving gifts to the poor, reading the Book of Esther which tells the story of Purim and holding a celebratory feast with family and guests to commemorate the miracle.

The girls of the Sderot Media theater group, “Youth of the Kassam Way” celebrated Purim in their respective Sderot high schools on Sunday. SMC staff paid a special visit to the schools to join in the celebrations. The girls, who were all very excited for the holiday, were dressed up in sparkling and ravishing costumes. Many of the girls were dressed up as fairytale characters. Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, queens and fairies were seen walking around. Some also dressed up as different animals such as bees or butterflies, and of course there were many clowns. The teachers also dressed up, adding to the festivities and excitement. We will not forget to mention the feast we had with the girls, with the tables full of different delicious foods.

View the video by Jacob Shrybman here.

Sadly, as usual, the everyday routine of the people of Sderot began with a morning barrage of rockets. In the course of the weekend, five Qassam rockets struck the Western Negev area, and two rockets fell in the Ashkelon region. Today four rockets were fired at the Eshkol region. There were no injuries or damage.

Purim is a holiday characterized by a monumental miracle–an entire nation survived a harsh death sentence designed to obliterate every last man, woman and child. According to the Book of Esther, Haman, a royal vizier to King Ahasuerus set a decree to kill all the Jews in the Persian kingdom. His plans were foiled by Esther, the Jewish Queen and wife to the Persian King Ahasuerus. We remember this miracle with much gratitude.

So too, here in Sderot, we hope for the end of the rockets, so that we can return to normal life and celebrate the Festival of Purim in happiness, joy, and peace.

I pray that the people of Sderot can celebrate the next Purim in peace and joy. I pray that next Purim the only worries that any child of Sderot will have is what costume to wear. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and the other holy places.

I know you, my reader have prayed this prayer too. I know many of you have signed up for the Code Red Alerts, if you haven’t you can sign up here. And like always I ask that if you can spare the extra cash to donate to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the grogger at the bottom of the post and follow the instructions from there. They do great work in Sderot for the people of Sderot.

Have A Happy And Joyous Purim!

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.

Sderot: Rockets, Iran and Obama

Cross posted by Findalis

From the Sderot Media Center

by Anav Silverman

Over 50 Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel since the unilateral ceasefire began between Hamas and Israel on January 18. This is the third Hamas-Israel ceasefire held since November 2006.

Two Qassam rockets were fired at the Eshkol region early Thursday morning, on February 19. Around 7:18 am, the Tzeva Adom sounded, followed by the rocket attacks. A third rocket had exploded earlier on the Gaza side. At 6:00 in the evening, the Tzeva Adom set off again–this time in Sderot. A loud explosion followed, with the rocket slamming in the Sderot cemetery.

On Wednesday, February 18, western Negev residents woke up to the sound of the Tzeva Adom, Color Red alert siren blaring at 7:40 am in the morning. A Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza slammed into the Sha’ar HaNegev kibbutz causing no reported damages or injuries. Late Wednesday night, a mortar rocket from Gaza was fired at Sdot Negev region as well. No physical injuries or damages were reported in any of the terror incidents.

There have been at least five Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israel in the past six days.

On Friday, February 13, Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets at Israel, striking the Sderot area. A week before on Friday, February 6, a Palestinian rocket fired from northern Gaza struck Ashkelon at 9: 30 am morning. Another Qassam rocket hit the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council area earlier in the morning the same day.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated after the Ashkelon attack that Israel is not gearing up for a second offensive in the Gaza Strip.

According to YNET News, (February 6, 2009) Barak stated that:

“We have no intention of embarking on Operation Cast Lead number two. We said there would be a response (to the rocket fire) and we responded,” he said, “Our deterrence is intact. Hamas is barely picking up the pieces and is looking for a lull. If we play our cards right and prevent further escalation than we have a good chance of some peace and quiet.”

The IDF has responded to the attacks on Wednesday, February 18, by striking seven smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border and a Hamas security base near Khan Yunis.

Previous ceasefires with Hamas have fraught with rocket fire violations. During the first ceasefire held with Hamas from November 11, 2006 to May 15, 2007, over 315 rockets struck Israel throughout the six-month ceasefire. During the second ceasefire, held between June 19 to December 19, 2008, over 538 Qassam and mortar rockets slammed into Israel.

*Jerusalem Post and YNET News contributed to this report.

In a cease-fire both sides stop fighting not just one. That is unless you are Israel. Then you are the only side to stop all attacks and allow your civilian population to be terrorized by thugs.

by Anav Silverman

As US President Barack Obama makes historic overtures in attempting to foster open dialogue with Iran, the rest of world watches in optimistic anticipation. The UK’s Guardian recently reported that Obama’s administration drafted a letter to Iran “aimed at unfreezing US-Iranian relations and opening the way for face-to-face talks.”

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has welcomed US overtures saying that:

“The new U.S. administration announced that it’s willing to bring about a number of changes and is now taking the course for dialogue. It’s quite clear that the real change should be fundamental, not just tactical change, and it is quite clear that the Iranian nation will greet real changes.” (CNN, February 10)

Change or no change, residents of southern and northern Israel have reason to be wary of Iran, a country that continues to fund Hamas and Hezbullah terrorism operations.

Thanks to Iranian-produced respectively, along with Grad missiles and technology, Hamas now holds rockets that place close to 1 million Israelis within target range. During Operation Cast Lead, Hamas was able to strike Israel’s fifth and sixth largest cities, Ashdod and BeershebaNetivot, Ofakim, Qiryat Gat, Yavneh, and Kiryat Malachi.

Hamas now has aspirations to target other Israeli cities, particularly Tel Aviv. Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV recently proclaimed on a program: “Tel Aviv, all our options are open.” (Al Aqsa TV, January 10, 2009)

But it is not only the rockets which are worrying.

Although the Obama administration is keen on turning a new leaf with Iran, the fact remains that Iran is the “central banker” for Middle East terrorism, as former US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice aptly put when she spoke to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Iran’s role in supporting Islamic terror in 2006.

The Iranian nation is a leading financial supporter of three terror networks; Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. Iran transfers several hundreds of million of dollars a year to Hamas, financing the movement and its military wing, Iz Al-Din-al Qassam Brigades. When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006, Iran awarded the regime with a $50 million bonus (BBC report April 16, 2006).

The Hamas website reported on December 11, 2006 that the Iranians had given $250 million to top Hamas official and fundraiser, Ismail Haniya, of which $100 million was used to cover the salaries of Hamas employees in the social, labor and cultural ministries for a six-month period in 2007. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report )

According to the IICC, Iran regards Hezbollah and Hamas as two important sources of power which Iran uses to promote its strategic goals, that of regional hegemony.

“Using Hezbollah, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Iranian-Syrian axis can increase its influence in the Arab and Muslim world, pose a serious challenge to Mahmoud Abbas, harm the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and export the Iranian brand of radical Islam to other Sunni countries, especially Egypt. From the Iranian point of view, its sponsorship of Hamas is considered as a means of establishing an Iranian foothold in the heart of the Sunni world.”

Iranians themselves fully identify with Hamas’s goals to destroy Israel, as most recently indicated when more than 70,000 Iranian student volunteers registered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel to support Hamas during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. (AP January 5) The rush of volunteers transpired when Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a religious decree stating that anyone who carried out an attack against Israel would be considered a martyr.

Iranian schools, like Hamas, contain children’s textbooks which teach Iranian schoolchildren to hate and fear Israel. IMPACT recently published a short volume on The War Curriculum in Iran, which exposes the way in which Iranian textbooks connect the Islamic Revolution in Iran to the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.

Children as young as eight years of age learn in Iranian history textbooks that

“God willing, the day will come when all Muslims will be united, liberate Palestine and save Jerusalem from the hands of the enemies of Islam.”
Social Studies, Grade 3 (2004) p. 56

And finally, Iran’s perception of the West is just as hostile. Iranian school books equal the United States with “the Great Satan.” Westernization receives a special label in Persian, known as Gharbzadegi, which literally means being smitten with the West in a way that corrupts the soul. “Westernization is treated as an ominous danger targeting Islamic identity.” (The War Curriculum in Iranian Schoolbooks p.162)

Is it any wonder that Iran and most of its population of 74 million residents determinedly supports the Hamas regim? After all the Iranian national education system and religious institutions for the past thirty years has indoctrinated a hate education against Israel and the West.

The question is– what will President Obama be willing to believe of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should he engage in direct talks, as Iranian financial aid and rockets continue to strengthen Hamas and Hezbollah. And will Israel be pressured to talk to Hamas in the same fashion?

Obama is trying to emulate both FDR and Abraham Lincoln, but in reality he is emulating Neville Chamberlain. Obama has gone down a path that will not bring peace to the region, but I do invision him stepping down from Air Force One in the future, waving a piece of paper, and shouting: “We now have peace in our lifetime.” The word for that is appeasement and surrender. And neither one is an option.

Like always I ask my readers to say a prayer or Psalm 130 for the people of Sderot, to subscribe to the Code Red alerts, contact your Representatives in Congress and the President, and if they can to send a donation to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post and follow the instructions there. But don’t stand idly by.

Qassam Shmasam

by Findalis

From Sderot Media Center

By Livnat Shaubi

Statements such as “a rocket landed in an open area” or “no one was wounded and no damage was reported” permeate the news reports from Sderot.

But what happens when these rocket attacks result in death and serious injuries?

The Abekasis Family lost their daughter Ella four years ago. Seventeen-year-old Ella was returning from a “Benei Akiva” youth group meeting on a Saturday night when the “Tseva Adom” siren sounded. She lay on top of her brother when a Kassam rocket landed near them and saved his life. In doing so, however, she sustained injuries from the rocket and died a week later.

This Thursday, February 5, 2009, a memorial will be held in “Mishkan Ella,” a bomb-safe activity center in Sderot that was built in her memory.

Livnat Shauvi from the Sderot Media Center met her parents, Yonatan and Sima Abekasis, who shared stories about Ella’s unique personality and final heroic action.

Ella’s story spurred President Shimon Peres to visit Sderot after a long absence from the city. Following his “kasam shmasam” remark two years ago in the media, Mr. Abekasis called him on the phone and told him that his mocking of the citizens of Sderot was a disgrace. Peres, who was not President at the time, told him that the mayor of Sderot did not invite him to visit the city. Mr. Abekasis told Peres that Sderot is not the mayor’s kingdom and that he is welcome to visit. After Peres was elected President, he came to visit Sderot for the first time. There, the mayor introduced him to Mr. Abekasis. The President was impressed by the father’s story.

Yonatan repeatedly shares the story of Ella’s final, courageous act. Mishkan Ella was built with the assistance of “Mif’al HaPais”and houses a commemoration hall dedicated to Ella. Different photos of Ella from different periods of her life hang in the room. Also in the room are different papers she had written for elementary and high school. In the commemoration room, a short video is on display that describes the moments after rocket attack and the building of Mishkan Ella. Mishkan Ella hosts a variety of social meetings and gatherings, in addition to offering visitors from across the country an insight into Ella’s unique and selfless character.

A conversation with her mother Sima revealed a noble and extremely unique girl: “When Ella wanted to apply for “Ulpena” (religious high school) she went in for an interview. After a few minutes of conversation with the principal, he told her she was accepted and that she could return to her classroom. Ella did not have to take any exams, but rather her interview alone won her acceptance into the school. Her passion for study was so clear that there was no doubt she was fit for the school.

Ms. Abekasis recalled Ella sharing her feelings with her while talking about her girlfriends. “Once when another girl insulted her, she wouldn’t let me interfere with the situation. She would say each person has her way to express anger and that it is not her duty to educate them. For her, each person was responsible for their own personal growth.”

Ella’s heroic action shocked the entire country. With no regard for her own life, this brave teenager threw herself onto her brothers’ body to protect his life. In that moment, fear ceased to exist and only the devotion and care for a young brother dictated her actions. Ella reacted in a matter that tells of a heroic story that cannot be forgotten. Since her death, the Abekasis family has been to different places in the country and around the world, and wherever they go they meet people who have heard the story and sympathize with the courageous act. In Italy, they went together to the “Benei Akiva” branch, where the relative introduced him to all of the people who already knew the story already. “In Switzerland we were in a hotel, and the daughter of the hotel manager came up to us and said we looked familiar. We told her that we live in Sderot and we lost our daughter. She immediately recalled seeing us on a television news report” said Yonatan.

In this painful week, the fourth annual memorial for her death will be held. The family members repeatedly tell all the things Ella achieved in her seventeen years. For example, they discuss her capability of multitasking-as if she knew she only had a short time to do everything she had planned. Her room remains as she had left it that afternoon before going to Benei Akiva. The same sheets, pictures, closet, and the same smell that has been missed for the past four years. Ms. Abekasis has not gone into the room since Ella’s death because it is too hard for her to cope with the loss and the pain. Again this year, family and friends from all over will come to take part in the memorial service. In her memory, a few friends are planning to get together and have a monthly meeting in her memory, in which she will be remembered not only through words but also by deeds. The Benei Akiva branch will also be moving into Mishkan Ella. It is the youth group to which Ella devoted all of her time and to which she will never be able to return.

May her soul rest in peace.

Translated by Avital Mimran-Rosenberg

Just an average teenager, yet she showed exceptional courage in the face of danger. Disregarding her own safety, she saved the life of her younger brother. And in doing so became a symbol of the innocent Israeli civilians.

Already the Kadima government is preparing to agree to an 18-month truce with Hamas. During the last truce the rockets didn’t stop. The people of Sderot can expect the same.

In late December Israel retaliated for the non-stop rocket attacks, the world pitched a fit. Yet the same world said nothing about the 8 years of rocket attacks on Israel.

The world will do and say nothing to stop the rockets, the Kadima government will do nothing to stop the rockets, and the people of Sderot will continue to suffer.

You can do something. You can sign up for Code Red alerts to be sent to your cell phone. You can call your Senator, your Congressman, the President to stop the rockets. You can pray for the people of Sderot and the South of Israel. And if you can, you can donate to the Sderot Media Center. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post. The money you donate will be used directly for the people under attack. But get involved and do something.