On Sunday, November 18, I received a message from a friend that a Hamas missile had struck their village, killing three men and women friends. Twenty-seven year old Mirah Scharf was in her 7th month of pregnancy. She left behind her husband Shmuel and three children. The survivors were seriously injured as well. Forty-nine year old Ahron Smadga left behind his wife and three children who were also wounded in the rocket attack. In the same village, Yitzchak Amselam died. In addition to these deaths, 13 others were hurt. The only reason they died or were maimed is because they were Jews.
And so the war goes on. What can we make of where we are at this moment in this war?
Maybe a little good news is the place to begin. Israel’s newest missile defense system has proved its worth. Called by Israelis, David’s Sling system, the installation will ultimately have a number of units, but two are now operational. Purchased from the United States, the Arrow will shoot down long range missiles fired from Iran. However, this system will not be deployed until 2016. Implementation remains a top priority.
If you lived in the town of Ashkelon, you might consider it positive than Israel has struck to stop the constant attacks. Because they have been the primary victim of 3 rocket attacks at day, these citizens want it stopped. Hamas wants Israel to lift the economic blockade, but that’s how weapons can end up in the hands of terrorists. Sorry. Stop the rockets. The blockage stops.
Of course, the entire war situation remains bad news. Israeli has targeted government buildings because Hamas makes no distinction between terrorist intentions and regular offices. Police and security headquarters have been hit as well as the house of Hamas commander Ahmed Randor. A building used for broadcasting was destroyed. More than 385 Palestinians have been wounded and at least 100 killed. This number includes women and children. The Israelis have the capacity to destroy all the buildings in Gaza if the war goes that far.
The Palestinians always place terrorist in the midst of heavy populated areas and then scream when women and children are killed. No one wishes civilians or children to die in one of these conflicts. The world doesn’t want anyone to be killed ever. However, the rockets shot at schools in Ashkelon had the potential to do such damage to Israeli civilians. The bad news is that all war and conflict turn innocents into victims.
The attack on Tel Aviv created outrage across Israel. Violence was not unprecedented but it had been decades since an air raid siren went off in the city. I was there last June and strolled down streets as sophisticated as any in Europe. U.S. born Jewish banker Steven Reiter said, “Attacking Tel Aviv is seen as crossing a red line.” Because of it balmy climate and vibrant nightlife, the city has an international reputation for being a fun place. Moreover, the Gaza militants further escalated the situation by firing a rocket that hit Jerusalem.
At this point, it appears that the costs will continue to escalate. As I stated in an earlier blog, I don’t believe Israel will back off until terrorists striking capacities are destroyed and assurances are given that the rocket attacks will not resume.
Is that possible? Nothing is certain.