Hours after President George W Bush arrived in Israel, Iranian Grad missiles penetrated the roof of an Ashkelon mall. Four people, including a mother and her toddler, were seriously wounded. In addition, 87 others were transferred to a hospital.
The early warning siren that was supposed to warn of the missile attack on Ashkelon was turned off in the early afternoon because Military Intelligence said there was a low probability of an attack on Ashkelon. False alarms which caused panic in the city also prompted the city to turn the sirens off.
They turned off Ashkelon's siren system because some complained that the false alarms made them anxious, and thus it was decided to take down the our protection.
I cannot find the appropriate words to describe just how infuriated I am by this. Even the 15 seconds that we get from the alarm is taken from us? 15 seconds… that's nothing, right?
But these 15 seconds can be the difference between life and death.
In 15 seconds you can reach a shelter, hide away from glass windows, seek a secure space or even hide under a table. You can say a prayer, hug the children real hard, say a calm word.
Ashkelon's residents who spent their time in the mall yesterday did not get these “spoiling” 15 seconds.
only 15 seconds… source
Below are photos and a video clip taken in the mall shortly after the missiles hit Ashkelon:
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs analyzes the underlying message sent by Hamas:
Firing the grad missiles on Ashkelon during Ehud Olmert's meeting with George Bush, carries a clear political message. Negotiation with Hamas came to a halt after much pressure from the Israeli public ,forcing to add the request to free (the captured soldier) Gilad shalit, which was not included in the early agreement with Hamas. It seems like the Ashkelon bombing is intended to shake Israel from its request to free Shalit, and return to the original agreements. The fact that a high profile delegation from Hamas is heading to Cairo, along with messages coming out of Israel, teach us that an option for ceasefire is still preferred by both sides.
Arguments have been developing within virtual spaces within talkbacks (web-comments) around the Hebrew blogosphere – on images, videos and articles describing the Ashkelon bombing. Hundreds of user-generated comments have been written in response to news articles. Below is a translation of one thread which is fairly popular these days, especially after attacks in the south – a wish for missiles to finally hit Tel-Aviv and shake the country out of its current status quo:
No brains… No worries – I'm talking about our government
I really hope there will be rockets on Tel-Aviv
Because as long as there are rockets only on smaller cities nobody cares. Maybe if rockets land in Tel-Aviv finally someone in the army headquarters will wake up and deal with the situation in a harsh manner.
Transfer either us or them. You decide.
Even if rockets fall on Tel-Aviv and Israel reacts in a severe and outstanding manner, qassam missiles will keep landing in the south. I am sad to write this, but the problem is that in the eyes of the government, and most Israeli residents, who do not live in the south – this has become a status quo.
There is no difference between Sderot and Tel-Aviv.
Why the panic?
I wish they would execute the said threat. Israeli public got used to Hizbollah's katyusha rockets in the north. The public also got used to katyusha and qassam missiles in Sderot. Qassams missiles hitting settlements in the outskirts of Gaza is routine. Back then, we all got used to shootings in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem. So what will happen if katyushas hit Tel-Aviv? …We will all become accustomed to it. Maybe in 20 years we will understand that we shouldn't have restrained, not even for one second. Go learn how to deal with bad kids. Very simple. If you concede to their wrongdoings they spin out of control. Here is precisely the same thing.
So perhaps katyushas on Tel-Aviv will wake this nation up!!
Olmert, Peretz and the rest of our “acting” politicians!
Why don't you all stop with the game of positions in this musical chairs you are playing. The situation with our enemy is heating up. It is necessary to manage the country under threats, perhaps even war.
Climb down from the tree – you were not chosen by the people so that you could play around.
Amen! God give us rockets on Tel-Aviv.
Nobody protests over the 500 missiles which were fired since disengagement from Gaza.
Because this is not Tel-Aviv.
Because we are type B citizens.
We were promised that if one qassam hits all of Gaza will shake…
Only here, as long as it is not Tel-Aviv, it is normal.
Links to related posts from GVO:
– Ashkelon is ‘on the map’
– Two Sderot Kids Severely Injured by Hamas Missiles
– Israeli Bloggers Respond to Crisis in Palestine
– Rockets Hit Sderot, Flame the Israeli Blogosphere
– Sderot's Invisible Wounds