Tuesday, July 4

Kassam rocket hammers Ashkelon schoolyard

Palestinians in Gaza fired a two-engined Kassam rocket into central Ashkelon at about 19:15 Tuesday evening.

There were no injuries in the attack, although several residents were treated for trauma at the
ORT Ronson High School, where the rocket punched a meter-and-a-half hole in the schoolyard.

Security forces say the projectile, reportedly fired from the ruins of the former community of Nisanit in northern Gaza, traveled some 15 kilometers to hit the major southern city, in the first such strike of its kind.

Between Gaza, on the far left and the major coastal city of Ashkelon, some 15 km distant on the right, lies a major power station, strategic national facilities, an oil farm, a national pipeline, chlorine tanks and military facilities. Kassam rocket fire in the last two years has already hit several of these locations.

More at YNETnews.

More at The Jerusalem Post.

More at Haaretz.

'Hold on thar', Baba Amir, I'll do all the thinnin' around here!' (Satire)

Another Tack: Mideastern horse opry (semi-fictional)
Sarah Honig, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 29, 2006
Outlaw gunslinger Quickdraw, holed up in his hideout, had long been scheming to take over the town. He positioned snipers atop all the surrounding hills and ordered them to fire randomly at passersby. Sometimes Quickdraw's snipers missed, and sometimes they didn't.

Sheriff Straightshooter's resolute undertakings to wallop Quickdraw clinched his electoral victory and that coveted tin badge. To the townsfolks' dismay, however, it emerged that Straightshooter was a bit leery of gunplay. Over the years his fearsome reputation had rendered him anathema to society's more genteel elements. He yearned for their approval. Besides, the circuit judge was on his tail for alleged past hanky-panky.

Straightshooter's overriding priority became the protection of his rear-end from legal assault. His braggadocio notwithstanding, Straightshooter figured that getting Quickdraw mightn't be in his own best interest, even if the community breathed free. Straightshooter therefore quit tracking Quickdraw's assorted crew of cattle-rustlers, horse-thieves and train-robbers in the renegades' roost.

Instead Straightshooter drove all south-of-town ranchers out of the terror fiefdom's vicinity, explaining to the outraged uprooted cowmen that it was for the best. Their presence, Straightshooter asserted, enraged Quickdraw. With them out of his sight there was no pretext for savagery. Quickdraw and his gang would contentedly luxuriate in their newly acquired territory, devote their energies to improving the abandoned spreads, and make an honorable living. In no time they'd become fine upstanding neighbors, the sort you invite over for a summer picnic.

"YOU DON'T know them like we do," screamed the dispossessed families. "These thugs are after the whole shebang. Show them a finger and they want the entire arm." But Straightshooter's savvy mouthpieces branded the homeless settlers "alarmists and panic-mongers." They became so unpopular that nobody cared about their plight. Their atavistic land-fixation might drag the peaceful populace into superfluous bloody confrontations. The eviction of these public enemies was their own private misfortune - one nonetheless highly warranted because the rest of the town was made safer thereby.

However, just to banish any lingering, latent anxiety, Straightshooter assured his voters that "should Quickdraw be up to no good after we give him control of the range, he'll feel the full force of our retaliation. We'll exact a heavy price for unprovoked pot-shots. After our supreme sacrifice for peace, judgmental gentry everywhere will side with us and back all necessary measures to defend our people.

We demonstrated our good will, and good will pays off. Our improved image will afford us freedom of action. We will show Quickdraw that it's downright dangerous to rile us." Stirring stuff. Strong enough to get Straightshooter reelected.

YET, UNCOOPERATIVE salvos continued coming. The citizenry was getting uptight. It was only a matter of time before bodies filled the streets. Buckshot glanced off church walls and shattered schoolhouse windows. Miraculously, the kids were out of harm's way. But lucky streaks are finite. Hesitant murmurs of discontent became audible, particularly on the town's southern outlying fringes, on the wrong side of the track - the one that ordinarily doesn't count.

The newspaper owner, in cahoots with Straightshooter, blasted uncool calls for action. Deputy Sheriff Shimon took on edge-of-town crybabies. "Snipers-shmipers," he exclaimed before saloon groupies, "so what happened already? We've seen worse. Let them hang tough and not disturb our peace with their constant whining."

But despite attempts to downplay the sniping, such a surfeit thereof would be considered war in any other county. Folks might be wondering whether supercilious Straightshooter was pretending to be unperturbed in order to avoid admitting that the ranchers' expulsion had been for naught. Could it be that Straightshooter's hangers-on feared highlighting the fact that, contrary to hype, they had won no perks from non-local citified snobs?

Or could it be that Straightshooter sincerely failed to realize that disengagement had proved a calamity? Could it be that Straightshooter was fanatically addicted to throwing more good money after bad and couldn't resist playing retreat-roulette? Did Straightshooter no longer realize that his bravado, rather than deter, triggered the miscreants' heckling horse-laughs in the vacated homesteads?
Belatedly Straightshooter did fire off a few warning rounds, first at empty wasteland to make sure nobody got hit, then at dirt roads frequented by snipers en route to shooting sprees. A great outcry sounded in the halls of justice far removed from frontierland whenever outlaw riflemen bite the dust. Cosmopolitan guardians of conscience fully sympathized with Quickdraw's vows of vengeance.

Straightshooter seemed jinxed. Some of his return fire had inadvertently struck the gangsters' kin. Sophisticated society was now utterly revolted. Straightshooter was accused of disproportionate breach of propriety.

IF STRAIGHTSHOOTER wants to challenge Quickdraw to a gunfight, dueling rules must be strictly obeyed. These decree that Quickdraw may rely on the backup of any number of bandit gunslingers, use all the pistols he wishes, fire off as many slugs as he can, whenever and in whichever direction he desires.

To keep things on the up-and-up, Straightshooter cannot pull the trigger until Quickdraw has. Moreover, Straightshooter - representing lawful authority - may only aim at Quickdraw's already airborne bullet, ascertaining that only the tip of said projectile is nicked, and only in the final phase of its deployment just before it makes deadly impact.

Sderot school official points to damage from Kassam rocket on classroom. (Photo: Dave Bender)

Unable to own up that unilaterally surrendering strategic holdings was a disastrous gamble, Straightshooter - ostensibly still intent on saving his community from Quickdraw's limitless lust - now plans to cede lots more property east of town.

With settlers out of sight, Quickdraw's pretext for savagery will vanish. Good neighbors will gather for summer picnics. Otherwise, will a real angry Straightshooter show Quickdraw how downright dangerous it is?

Nativ Ha'asara resident examines damage from Kassam at her home, that killed Dana Galkowitz in July, 2005. (Photo: Dave Bender)

Stay tuned for the rerun.

More reports I've prepared on Kassam attacks, injuries and damage here.

Israeli gov't to Palestinians: My tunnel's bigger than yours

"Hoooly City, Robin! Iran's launching nuke-tipped Shihab 3 missiles at Israel, Fatah's firing Kassams and mortars out of Bethlehem at Gilo, and Palestinian drones and hang gliders have been spotted swooping in from Ramallah!"

"Whaddya' we gonna' do, Batman?"

"Quick! Let's take the secret elevator down to the Bat Tunnel, and get the hell outtahere - first!"

"According to the Jerusalem weekly Yerushalayim, the government is spending tens of millions of shekels on an underground bunker and escape tunnel to be used by the prime minister and senior members of the government in case of emergency. A special elevator shaft has reportedly been completed under the area scheduled for future construction of the new building that will house the Prime Minister's Office and official residence in Kiryat Hale'om (the National Precinct).

"In an emergency, the (Bat) elevator would drop the prime minister, senior government officials (and whoever is a "friend of a friend,") underground to a special reinforced bunker, complete with a situation room equipped with sophisticated communications and other equipment, in which the government can continue to meet and function.

"In addition, the shaft connects to an underground escape tunnel, where vehicles will be stored, in case the prime minister or other senior officials have to make a speedy exit from the city. The western exit of the escape tunnel (which the newspaper claims has already been built) is located in Emek Arazim, adjacent to the Route One exit from the city."

You think I'm making this stuff up, right? Wrong, boy blunder.


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