The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for over six decades. It’s hard to summarize it in short. But 4 days ago, the conflict has taken a turn, once again. This whole chapter, regarding the Gaza Strip battles, started when the Disengagement Plan took place. Up to 2005, Israeli citizens and soldiers around Gaza were being slaughtered continuously and there were no peace negotiations to form with the Hamas. In 2005 prime minister Ariel Sharon decided to evacuate all the Israeli settlements inside and around the Gaza Strip.This decision would mean we would evacuate our own citizens in a unilateral disengagement towards peace. We thought this would give the Palestinians in Gaza an opportunity to take the land and use it to improve their economy and improve their life. Instead we had dozens of rockets fired on our cities in the south on a daily basis for years. This was the new reality for the cities in the towns in the range of the missiles.
After 3 years of ongoing firing, when numbers of rockets would rise to hundreds a week, the government decided to take a stand and infiltrate the Gaza Strip in order to fight the terrorists responsible for the rockets. These terrorists are being lead by the Hamas, a known terrorist organization. Their motto is to wipe Israel off the map using terror and violence.
The operation lasted about 3 weeks. The Israeli military fought heavily on the ground against the terrorists.
The main consequence of this operation was that Hamas received a powerful blow, causing the firing of rockets to decrease significantly. Even though there were tremendous efforts to warn the local civilians and to prevent unwanted casualties, there were high numbers of casualties among the population. The problem was that the Hamas terrorists fought from inside mosques, hospitals and schools, hiding behind civilians and putting them in danger.
Since operation “Cast lead” the citizens of the south could sleep quietly once the threat level was decreased. Now, this has changed, again.
Since the last operation Hamas has become stronger and has acquired new missiles that can cover longer distances.
This week, the Israeli Air Force held two major attacks. One targeting the main modern missile facility and one that targeted Hamas’s head of military operations. After these operations, Hamas fired over 800 missiles in 4 days towards Israel.
So now we are in a similar situation as before, though this time we are better prepared. For instance, we now have anti-missile devices that hit some of the missiles before they hit the ground.
However, there have been deaths and injuries among Israelis so far. The big question is whether the army will enter the Gaza Strip with ground forces or not because it looks like the Hamas won’t stop the firing. So far, the army is attacking from the air and from the sea.
As an Israeli living in Jerusalem I’ve never quite felt the threat of the missiles up close. Jerusalem was always considered “safe” from missiles because everyone thought that the Hamas won’t risk hitting important religious sites in Jerusalem and also risk hitting Arab villages in the area too.
On Friday evening, just as the “Shabbat” started (the Jewish day or rest-Saturday) a siren went off in the Jerusalem hills. At first I was sure it was the monotonous Shabbat siren that goes off every time the Shabbat starts. This alarm was different; it went up and down, meaning that a missile was headed towards Jerusalem. The impossible was now possible. I found myself sitting with my dog in the shelter of our house (every house in Israel has a fortified shelter in case of a missile attack). It was quite a funny situation, the shelter was a mess! No one had been down there for a loonngg time!
And then ‘boom’! A missile landed in an open area nearby, with no damage done. But still, it was very surprising!
Immediately after the whole scene I went to check Facebook, to see if other people heard the noise and the siren. The status updates didn’t stop coming! Everyone heard about the missiles fired on Jerusalem! I received concerned mails and messages from friends around the world to see if we’re OK. But so far, only one missile was fired in this area, so we’re not “officially” affected.
Another aspect of this situation that is indeed heartwarming is the way Israelis seek out for each other at times of hardship. People from the northern part of Israel are hosting hundreds of families, youth, and children from the south, without necessarily knowing them. There are dozens of concerts and events held for free around the country for people from the south. The whole nation is dedicated in many ways to stand by our people and our soldiers.
It’s amazing how this subject can be talked about for ages, and it has been.
I find the situation very interesting. I encourage anyone who reads this, to ask questions, bring up conversations/debates about the subject and to learn and read about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I also invite people from all around the world to visit this extraordinary country! At quieter times, it could be truly a wonderful adventure! There’s just so much to see and learn
- Date: November 2012
- Location: Jerusalem, Israel