Seems that there have been rocket firings every couple of days from Gaza. The latest was yesterday (in Israel – 8/11/11). But this has been going on for a while. They are being shot mostly into the “Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council” which is the administrative area that includes Sderot. They have been sporadic, and since the area is quite sparsely populated, usually have done little harm. However, last week, after rockets landed near Ashkelon and Sderot, the IAF retaliated with several strikes in Northern Gaza. I learned about the attacks live while I was monitoring #J14 on Twitter. #J14 is the Twitter hashtag for the so-called July 14th demonstrations in Israel. (If folks out there are not on Twitter, but would be interested in finding out why I think it is by far the best medium for getting news and commentary, please leave me a comment below. I would be happy to post a blog on why I feel that way and how I use Twitter). It isn’t clear who is firing the rockets (that is, even though Hamas controls Gaza, there are still multiple rouge factions within Hamas – several of whom are far more violent than the main governing organization), or why. With the serious domestic turmoil that is going on throughout Israel, if these provocations lead to a major military action against Gaza, it will probably actually strengthen the current government. Nothing pulls together a country like a good ol’ war.
Anyhow – here are some recent Jerusalem Post posts which provide a flavor of what is going on in the south:
08/11/2011 21:01 Kassam from Gaza lands in Sha’ar Hanegev council; none hurt
08/07/2011 20:35 Kassam lands in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council; no injured
08/03/2011 11:25 Kassam explodes in Ashkelon, no injuries reported
8/1/2011 11:11 PM IAF strikes several Gaza targets following Kassam attack
Air Force action comes in response to Kassam rocket fired at southern Israel, moderately injuring a woman in her fifties.
8/1/2011 10:59 PM Kassam explodes near Ashkelon, 1 moderately injured
7/31/2011 3:17 PM Two Kassams from Gaza land in Israel; no injuries reported
7/28/2011 7:46 AM Kassam explodes south of Ashkelon; no injuries or damage
This is clearly terrorism – drip by drip. But let’s be clear. It is not: “thousands of rockets raining down on Israel”. It is not meant to damage property or kill people per se. Rather, it is meant to instill fear and fray nerves because the possiblity of death is very real. Nevertheless, at it’s heart, it is really psychological warfare.
But let’s also be clear: there are indeed 40,000 rockets on the other side of the security fence that would cause widespread death and destruction if used. Let’s hope, for the sake of both sides, that they never are.
- Israel: Another day, another rocket fired from Gaza (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Fire from Gaza intensifies as three mortars hit southern Israel (via Newsessentials Blog) (thechristiangazette.wordpress.com)
In what was nominally a review of Jeremy Ben-Ami‘s new book, “A New Voice for Israel“, in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post titled ” J Street’s Soft Sell for the Uninformed“, Isi Leibler pulled out every argument to discredit J Street as not being “pro-Israel” that has been used over the past two years . His arguments use half-truths, lack of context, and every mistake that J Street has ever made (and there have been a few) to malign the organization. He trots out Gaza, Goldstone, UN vote, blah blah blah. His conclusion can be summed up as follows:
The dividing lines between J Street and mainstream Jewish groups are not its views, but its efforts to convince Americans to encourage President Barack Obama to pressure the Israeli government. It is surely unconscionable for trendy American Jews to canvass their government to force Israel to act contrary to its will regarding national security, with potential life-and-death repercussions. J Street justifies this on the grounds that Israelis need “tough love,” comparing us to children on drugs who must be pressured into doing what’s good for them, or impounding the car keys of a drunken friend…
The list of J Street’s anti-Israel initiatives is endless. Most are either ignored or played down in Ben-Ami’s misleading book, which could well serve as a case study of Orwellian double-speak, topped by the dishonest manner in which it portrays itself as “pro-Israel”.
I sent a Letter to the Editor of the JP in response to the column that essentially said:
“This is a fantastic* piece of satire. Some of the facts presented are undoubtedly true – but many of them simply repeat previous criticisms of J Street which have been shown to be half-truths or simply taken out of context. Since, I doubt that Mr. Leiber is ill-informed about these matters, they are either thinly veiled political polemics, or meant to be viewed in a satirical context. I assumed the latter because there was a clue that clearly gave it away. He writes that “in Ben-Ami’s misleading book, which could well serve as a case study of Orwellian double-speak, topped by the dishonest manner in which it portrays itself as “pro-Israel”.” Once I read that I realized that he had written a piece filled with facts that were either “ignored or played down” that he meant the entire column to be read as a mobius strip of so-called Orwellian logic.
* Merriam-Webster Online: Definition of FANTASTIC
1 a : based on fantasy : not real”