Please G-d, Stop the Missiles
December 27, 2004
Where to start?
Yesterday afternoon I attended a demonstration in the heart of Tel Aviv, joining hundreds of others protesting the continued bombardment of Gush Katif. In truth, we weren’t protesting the attacks – rather we were protesting the lack of reaction. The Israeli armed forces are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop the Arab Kassam missile and mortar attacks on Gush Katif’s 8,500 Jews.
According to Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg, not too long ago, Defense Minister Shaul Mufaz ordered Chief of Staff, General Moshe Ya’alon, “Don’t hit back until after the palestinian elections (on Jan. 9th). In other words, the Israelis will just have to suffer for a while – this is the cost of peace.
At the demonstration I met Mrs. Debbie Rosen, ([email@example.com] – 972-8-68408470) who is working with Eran and Dror Vanunu in the Gush Katif spokesperson’s office. Interviewing her for today’s show, I asked Debbie, a resident of Neve Dekalim, about the situation in Gush Katif. She told me that not too long ago, following another rocket attack against them, speaking with a senior officer in the area, she asked him why the army doesn’t shoot back, in the same fashion that the Jews are attacked? “Just like they shoot mortars at us, let’s shoot mortars back at them.”
The officer looked at her, stunned, and replied, “What, shoot at them, just like that? It’s not ethical to shoot mortars or missiles at innocent people.”
Debbie’s response: “What about us – aren’t we innocent people too?”
The officer didn’t answer – he just looked at her and walked away.
I also asked her to describe to our listeners what happens when a bomb falls on your house, or next to it. Debbie attempted, for a few minutes, to express in words the inexpressible. We parted ways, and a couple of hours I was back in Hebron.
I came into the office to pull down some the pictures from the event, when my cell phone rang. It was Debbie. In a voice choked with emotion, she related to me the following account: “You asked me to describe how it feels when a mortar or a Kassam rocket hits. Well, you just cannot imagine. Listen, tonight, while we were at the demonstration, there was a Bat-Mitzvah party for one of the girls here in Neve Dekalim. My daughter was there. The girls were outside in the yard when suddenly they saw an approaching missile. Running inside the house, well, they made it just in time. The missile exploded in the garden of that very same yard, where only seconds before, they had been playing.” She added, “it’s just like the boy who was playing basketball last week when a bomb exploded on the basketball court, very close to him.”
I sat, listening, not being able to speak. What can you say? We decided that I’d call Debbie back in the morning and let her repeat the story again, so I could record it and play it on my weekly radio show, later today (www.israelnationalradio.com).
Late last week there was a general meeting of activists from around the country, in Jerusalem. Initiated by the Yesha council, the meeting introduced the organization’s new campaign to prevent the abandonment of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. The basic element of the program is a huge sit-down strike next to the Knesset, commencing next Tuesday. People from around the country will be asked to participate, irregardless of the rain and cold, and hopefully, the crowds will grow and grow, eventually reaching tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people. The goal: to convince the Knesset that the Israeli public will not accept expulsion of people from their homes, that the Israeli public will not accept abandonment of Eretz Yisrael to our enemies, that they – our representatives in the Knesset, must vote against legislation called ‘the pinui-pitzui (eviction-compensation) law” when it reaches the Knesset floor. MK Uri Ariel of the National Union party, speaking at the conference, claimed that the only way to stop the eviction is via the Knesset – convincing them to vote against the law, and if necessary, bringing the issue to the people, either in the form of a national referendum, or regular elections. According to Ariel, there is a very strong probability that Sharon will not receive his party’s nomination for the premiership, and that the eviction plans will draw to a complete halt.
Other ideas are springing up. I receive an email from a reader in the United States, who (rightly) claimed that the ‘Wallerstein proclamation’ petition (www.petitiononline.com/eretzyis/petition.html) is not enough, that action must be taken. He suggested organizing a general strike throughout Israel, either in conjunction with the Yesha council campaign, or separately. Last night this person called me, and after some discussion, offered to try and organize such a strike.
My own idea, sort of hidden within the petition, is very simple. Certainly I hope that the eviction plan will be thwarted long before Sharon attempts its implementation. However, should it come down to it, we are going to need hordes of people to stop the horror. We need thousands and thousands of people to drop what they’re doing, board the planes, come over here, and do what has to be done. It’s as simple as that.
Simple, you ask? Simple? Work, family, etc etc – how can we leave all and just…come over?
So ask you . But I ask you – what about Eretz Yisrael – what comes first – Eretz Yisrael, or work, or… etc? Remember, we’re not just talking about Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. We’re talking about all of Judea and Samaria. We’re talking about Hebron. We’re talking about Jerusalem. We are talking about the fate of the Jewish people in Israel. So, what comes first? You tell me.
Basically, what it comes down to, is that we are going to have to close down the country. Not everybody is going to be able to get to Gush Katif, or even close to Gush Katif. However, Israel isn’t a one-road country – I’m sure you understand what I mean.
There are those who might recoil at such a suggestion. And to an extent I agree – under normal circumstances. However, these are not normal circumstances. This government, led by Ariel Sharon, is intentionally abandoning thousands of citizens, Israelis who serve in the army, citizens who pay taxes, citizens who are people, just like you and me – to their fate, like sheep surrounded by wolves. Ariel Sharon, together with Mufaz and Ya’alon, have adopted a policy of ‘live and let die’ – leave the Arabs alone, even at the price of Israeli lives. There is a difference between Arab blood and Jewish blood – Arabs are, in the words of the above-mentioned officer, ‘innocents.’ The Israelis are ‘settlers,’ and we all know what that implies.
Last night, speaking at the protest, Bentzi Liberman, secretary-general of the Yesha council said, ‘if three mortars hit Tel Aviv, the army would spare no efforts. But when it comes to Gush Katif, nothing is done – the people are abandoned.’
After I had, more or less, finished writing this article, I had the second above-mentioned conversation with Debbie from Gush Katif. As we were talking, I couldn’t help but think: this morning the Israeli media is drenched with yesterday’s disaster in India-Thailand. It really is an awful calamity, tens of thousands dead; hundreds of Israelis traveling in that part of the world are still missing. We hope and pray that they are all safe and well.
But what I have trouble understanding is that daily, almost hourly, Israeli citizens here, in Israel, not in India, not in Thailand, but here, an hour from Tel Aviv, are facing enemy attacks, their lives are threatened and some lives are destroyed. Where is Israeli radio? – where is Israeli television? – where is public opinion? Fine, talk about India, but what about our back yard? Debbie Rosen also told me about a woman whose home has come under direct enemy fire nine times. Do you have any idea what that does to a person? It has left this woman in permanent shell shock.
Last night I came upon the Barat family from Kfar Darom. Hannah Barat was seriously injured during a terror attack and left paralyzed, living permanently in a wheelchair. Hannah is a very special person, and about a year ago gave birth to another child, a little boy, despite her disabilities. Her husband, Eliezer Barat, told me how, a few days ago, a rocket hit their home, destroying part of the roof. Thank G-d, no one was injured. But don’t let anyone tell you that lightning doesn’t strike twice.
One final story. Debbie told me how her youngest son, in kindergarten, hearing thunder outside, told her, “Mommy, ask G-d to stop the mortars and missiles .”
The present administration can only be labeled as a ‘memshelet shmad’ – a government of annihilation – a government willing to sacrifice its own people – and for what – for what?
For absolutely nothing.
Please G-d – stop the missiles.
With blessings from Hebron.