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Israel: Rockets Hit Sderot, Flame the Israeli Blogosphere

Some might say that the tiny town of Sderot in the Western Negev is Israel's little secret. This red roofed village an hour's drive from Be'er Sheva lies only minutes from the Gaza Strip. As such, it has been a prime target for Hamas aggression against Israel. Use katuysha rockets to hit a major center, you are in for a war. Bombard a hamlet in the midst of an international conflict, and display your anger.

If in all your reading about the Middle East conflict you haven't heard about Sderot, don't be surprised. You're not the only one. Despite the fact that Sderot has been under nearly constant attack from qassam rockets for the past 7 years, its tenuous position in the buffer zone of Israel and Gaza is conspicuously ignored in mainstream news channels.

For your reference, qassams are homemade rockets made out of pipes with steel warheads at the tip. With a range of approximately 15 kilometers, they are used for short range attacks only. Qassams came into common usage by Palestinians against Israel in 2001 toward the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (also known as the Second Intifida). It is widely acknowledged that their primary purpose is to lower Israeli morale.

Sderot's mayor stepped down after nine years of service. Since the barrage began in 2001, over 6,300 rockets have slammed Sderot.

Mayor Eli Moyal's resignation came in concert with the peace talks that began in Jerusalem, following up on the November Israeli-Palestinian Peace Summit in Annapolis.

In his resignation speech broadcast on Israel Radio, Mayor Moyal explained:

“I cannot take the responsibility to manage a city that is under attack for seven years. If 20 children are killed tomorrow from a rocket, I will be asked, ‘why did you open the kindergarten?’ I have been deliberating matters pertaining to human life for years now, and I cannot continue… For seven years no one has taken responsibility for what is happening here. It is unreasonable to start the morning with eight Qassams. I am not willing to take this responsibility. I was chosen to manage a city, and not this situation.”

Mayor Moyal said he hoped his resignation pressured Israel's government to take action for Sderot's protection.

With 20 qassam rockets hitting Sderot this morning alone, the Israeli blogosphere is contemptuous. Here are some of their reactions.

Elder of Ziyon:

“Sderot is not on the radar of the ‘peace’ plan. Sderot cannot be found on the roadmap. The 20 rockets that were shot today towards Sderot are not considered an obstacle to peace. It is way too inconvenient to mention Sderot when talking about the sacred ‘peace process.'”

I highly recommend Elder of Ziyon's Qassam Calender as a tool for following this conflict.

Israel Matzav:

“On a day when some twenty Kassam rockets hit Sderot, the peabrains who call themselves a government decided not to send the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] into Gaza today to put a stop to the shooting, and instead decided to talk to the shooters ‘Palestinians’ about giving them their own state reichlet from which they will be able to shoot more comfortably.”

Yid With Lid:

“[Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's lack of leadership, indecisiveness and peace at any cost additude has given Hamas and growing confidence in Israel's vulnerability. Hamas is sending rockets into the Negev with reckless abandon–and snubs their nose at peaceful nations. The world sees a leaderless Israel and is doing its best to push the nation into a one-sided “peace” deal. Its time to show Hamas that terrorism does not pay.”

Atlas Shrugged:

“Mayor Eli Moyal resigned today. Atlas shrugged. This is a dark day, my friends. This man should be Prime Minister.”

Tundra Tabloids:

“One does not make peace with one's enemy, but only with one's ‘former enemy.’ That is one very inescapable truth that the promoters of peace “screw Israel club” have yet to comprehend.”

Response from Palestine

The official Palestinian response came from Muhammad Abd al-Al, spokesperson for the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees:

“The resignation of Sderot's mayor constitutes a great victory for the Palestinian resistance. This is a political victory, a victory for morale, it adds to the humiliation we are heaping upon the Zionist army in the field. Our improved missiles are waiting for the enemy's tanks, but the ones who will really suffer are those Israeli residents of the area.”

He additionally threatened: “We and the other Palestinian organizations are prepared for the great struggle to commence and to hurt the Israelis in the West Bank as well. I hope that we will soon begin bringing the technology and know-how needed to launch rocket attacks to the West Bank.”

Additional Resources

Listen to an audio file of Mayor Moyal that was recorded during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. (The first minute is rough sound quality, but it is worth it to keep listening for a full understanding of the conflict and Sderot and Israel's struggles.)

Visit the Sderot Media Center and hear Sderot's perspective firsthand.

Return to Global Voices Online's Gilad Lotan's “Sderot's Invisible Wounds” for a more personal perspective of the situation (September 2007).

13 comments

  • […] Rockets Hit Sderot: Flame the Israeli Blogosphere (December 2007) […]

  • Dan

    Israel has a policy of establishing front-line, development towns where brave, courageous Israeli colonists can confront the ‘Arab Peril’. Sderot is one such. It was set up as a front-line town, and it gets attacked, as it was planned to be. That’s why Sderot’s population is half recent Russian immigrant, and half Sephardi (Moroccan and Persian Jews). Not a brave Ashkenazi or Sabra in sight.

    The Gaza Strip (not worth calling it anything more than a strip) is nothing more now than a refugee concentration camp where about half the Palestinians expelled from ‘Israel’ in 1948 ended up, in places like Jabalyah, Khan Yunis and Rafah refugee camps. There are 1.5 million people confined to 300sq km.

    They are not allowed to leave Gaza, even for emergency medical care, or if they do, to return.

    At least two generations of refugee peasant farmers, kicked off their land, have ended up in Gaza, with nothing much to do, no education, no jobs, and damned little hope.

    But Sderot is useful as a subject for schmaltzy Israeli propaganda.

    How would you feel if a bunch of Russian immigrants were dumped in a brand-new town just a mile across an uncrossable border within your own homeland, and given huge subsidies as ‘Jewish’ immigrants, while you were left to rot in a prison?

    But the score is pretty even – 16 victims in Sderot, over 6 years, versus 19 in Beit Hanoun, with just one shell, beside the 140 Palestinians killed in Beit Hanoun over those same 6 years.

    An eye for an eye? Now the Israelis are besieging the entire 1.5 million population of the Gaza Strip, with the compliance of the EU, Britain, the US (all the usual suspects).

    http://levantnotes.blogspot.com/2007/10/sderot-sacrifice-few-immigrants-for.html

  • […] me tell you this. Unless you live in Sderot, perhaps, when you hear that siren, your heart stops, but you don’t think it is going to […]

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