Sunday, 4 November 2007

Qassams and Sderot - A Different Viewpoint

My recent posts about rockets from Gaza are countered by MJ Rosenberg, in his weekly Israeli Policy Forum column:
He says this:
"The fact that Sderot is in Israel proper is critical. In the case of Israeli settlers living in some far-flung settlement or in the midst of Hebron, one can simply ask why they are there in the first place. After all, they knew they were moving into an area where they would be surrounded by unwelcoming Palestinians. They can always return to Israel if they want the security of living in a Jewish state.

The people of Sderot do not have that option. They are in Israel. They are not settlers. [Yes they bloody well are - as I would be if I moved into the place, from abroad, within the last couple of decades]
They are Israelis, trying to live at home in Israel.And yet they are under constant assault by terrorists. In fact, the word terrorism cannot be more apt than it is in this situation because it is raw terror, more than death or injury that the endless Kassam firings produce.

Yedioth Achronoth this week reported on the Shakked family who was watching television “when they suddenly heard a sound with which they were already familiar—a mortar being fired in their direction.” The family—including children and infant grandchildren—took shelter in a “reinforced concrete basement, as they had practiced scores of times in the past.” One second later, the house above them was leveled.

This is the Reader's Digest style of journalism at its very worst (all you do is to personalise the story, so that 'average Americans' can recognise themselves as the protagonists, and then embellish it a bit). How long does a mortar shell take to travel 2 miles, and how long did the Shakked family have to get three generations into their bomb-shelter, with only one second to spare?

Israel not only has the right to end these horrors, it is obligated to do so. Above all else, the prime responsibility of any legitimate government is to protect its own people from external attack.

Almost without exception, Israel responds to the shelling of ordinary Israelis by punishing ordinary Palestinians. Some might see justice in that or, at least, parallelism. But it is impossible to believe that the terrorists shelling Israel are going to be dissuaded because of the pain Israel inflicts on the civilians of Gaza.

....there are “the businesspeople who have now really been hurt. . . . Traditionally they have been apart from politics—not Hamas, not Fatah. Through their factories, shops, industries, they give young people jobs and opportunity. With no ability to get goods in or out, they cannot employ people. The young people who worked for them are out on the streets, frustrated, and depressed.”

And now Israel is closing one of the two remaining crossings used to transfer food into Gaza, allowing no more than 55 truckloads of goods to cross daily instead of 120-150. (The United Nations estimates that 175 truckloads daily are necessary to meet minimum needs).

Natural gas supplies have been sharply cut and Defense Minister Barak intends to start turning off the electricity once the Minister of Justice says it’s legal to do so. As an editorial in Ha’aretz put it on Wednesday, “Cutting off the supply of electricity, fuel and baby food is a blatant blow against civilians—and only against them.”

And it won’t stop the shelling of Sderot".

He's dead right there. Pity he didn't mention the Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun.

Thanks to Mondoweiss for the above information - "I submit that M.J. Rosenberg is the most crucial figure in Jewish politics in America today".

But M.J. Rosenberg has almost certainly never read my weblog, so perhaps I was claiming a bit too much in saying my views: "are countered by MJ Rosenberg, in his weekly Israeli Policy Forum column"

But that's what propaganda and counter-propaganda are all about. Don't expect me to cower under a blanket.

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