Thursday, May 27, 2021

Under Siege, from Israel's Riviera (#3 of 4)

(This was the third of four columns sent to the Waterbury Republican-American, but the siege ended before this could be published. The fourth in the series was written after the ceasefire went into effect and was published May 26.)

Under Siege in Netanya, Israel

Alan Stein

It's now Wednesday, Day 10 of the current Hamas terror rocket offensive. We're up to 4,000 rockets. 

There's been talk all day of a cease fire beginning tomorrow, but with 200 more rockets in the last 12 hours, plus another 4 rockets just launched at us from Lebanon, that seems unlikely. Also, as much as we want a real, permanent cease fire, Israelis aren't eager to repeat the kind of shortsighted cease fires that merely temporarily tamped down - but never really ended - previous flare ups. Each of those ended with provisions that helped Hamas not just rebuild its rocket arsenal, but upgrade and expand it as well as enhance the rest of its terror infrastructure, such as its extensive system of underground tunnels. Thanks to those failings, each previous cease fire not only guaranteed another round a few years down the road, but guaranteed it would be far more violent and far more bloody.

To call the terms previous cease fires misguided would be an understatement, but other countries always seem determined, rhetoric to the contrary, to protect Hamas. It's difficult to overestimate the damage that has been done by one-sided pressure applied to Israel by the United Nations Security Council. I'm admittedly far more interested in the welfare of Israelis than in the welfare of the Palestinians who have been bombarding us with all those rockets, but it's also pretty obvious that the people who suffer the most from these wars are the Arabs in Gaza and they're going to continue to suffer, with ever more devastating replays of these wars as long as Hamas isn't permanently disarmed.

It's very hard for Westerners, whether in the United Stated or Europe, to understand the mentality of the Palestinian terror groups. For Hamas, it's a glorious propaganda victory when civilians in Gaza get killed. This is one of the reasons the operate in heavily populated areas and use civilians as human shields. Another is that they know how much Israel tries to avoiding harming civilians and thus embedding themselves in populated areas makes it far more difficult for Israel to defend itself. 

Hamas also wants Gazans to suffer. Here's one example. Even while the rockets have been flying, Israel has been trying to help the people in Gaza. Hamas rockets had already damaged power lines bringing electricity from Israel and lines bringing in water from Israel. On Tuesday, it attacked a convoy of trucks bringing in humanitarian aid, injuring some of the very people trying to help the people in Gaza and forcing most of the trucks to turn back.

Although I haven't heard any more "Red Alerts" in Netanya since the rocket debris fell in the pond I often ride around, I have since been directly affected in two more ways, one bad, one good.

My wife and I scheduled Covid tests required by the U.S. before flying back early next week. Yesterday, I received a text informing me that, because of the rocket fire, they weren't doing drive-thru Covid tests, so our appointments had been cancelled and we needed to make new appointments.

On the plus side, I had to drive to Hadera yesterday to pick up slides from a biopsy I'd taken last summer. I need to bring them with me for an appointment at Dana Farber Cancer Center.

We usually get stuck in heavy traffic and wind up taking up to two hours to drive between Netanya and Hadera. Thanks to the rocket attacks, far fewer people were on the road and each way took under a half hour.

I guess there's an upside to everything, even being bombarded by rockets. Still, peace would be welcome.

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