A typical newspaper report about the violence emanating from Gaza reads something like this from Friday’s Ynet:
Two Qassam rockets fired from northern Gaza Friday exploded in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported.
Earlier, the remnants of a Grad rocket fired from the Strip were found near the Be’er Tuvia Regional Council. IDF sappers disposed of the rocket safely.
On Thursday, the Iron Dome defense system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza at Israel‘s south. Several other rockets exploded in open areas in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
This story has been repeated over and over, hundred-fold times, for years. For those of us not living in the south of Israel we read the article, feel a pinch of concern for our southern friends, relatives and compatriots, and move on with our day-to-day life.
But “No injuries reported” does not truly or adequately depict the situation at all. Here is a moving and expressive comment (reposted with the author’s permission) from the “Life on the Border with Gaza” Facebook page, which should make us all sit up and take notice:
I have written this before, but it is something I cannot reiterate enough times. Here is a typical report in Ynet from the past hour: “A volley of three Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel Wednesday evening. There were no reports of wounded or damage in the attack”
So, a responsible, empathetic reader sees it and and breathes a virtual sigh of relief. But here’s the thing – it’s wrong. Unless it falls in the middle of the desert, miles and miles away from any place where people live (and remember: sound travels REALLY far at night) there IS damage done. People may not be physically wounded, and property may not be damaged, but I believe that everyone who lives in this area suffers from some form or another of post-trauma.
When you are woken suddenly from sleep by explosions or the pre-explosion beeper screaming in your ear, or the haunting ,seemingly calm voice calling out “Tseva Adom, Tseva Adom, Tseva Adom” (Code Red) there is NO way you can get up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to function the way you should.
When your ears perk up each time you hear a tone or note that is somehow reminiscent of the alerts, you cannot be said to be functioning normally. Even during times of calm. And I am talking from an adult’s point of view – an adult who rationalizes and understands what is possible… and what is not. What about the children? Who dares write “no damage”! The damage that is being done to these children is irreparable, irreversible. No one can tell me any different.
So, on the one hand, it is good not to spread panic, and we want people who do not live here and are not experiencing what we are, to feel safe enough to come here in times of calm. But I wish they could find a better wording for the reports. Maybe : No reports of bodily harm or physical damage. Because the way they report it now, is downright belittling and offensive.
My heart goes out to my friends and colleagues who are going to sleep in unprotected rooms. I wish I could offer them the protection that I have.
I would recommend that everyone read this Facebook page and update yourselves regularly as to what life is really like down near the Gaza border. And then we need to demand that our government act swiftly and decisively to deal with this unbearable situation once and for all.
Besides being an act of solidarity with the residents of the south, let us not forget that today it is the south that is under intense fire, but we in the center and north must not be too complacent for the terrorists are constantly working towards attaining missile “coverage” for us too. Indeed we in the center had a small taste of life under missile threat when we were the targets of Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles in Gulf War I. And of course the north of the country has been under repeated missile attack from Hezbollah for years too, particularly during the Second Lebanon War.
The above map shows how tiny Israel really is, and how vulnerable it is vulnerable to rocket and missile fire from every direction.