High resolution map of the Gaza area. Click on the image for a close-up view. (University of Texas)
Read this, and then feel free to come back and talk to me about the "disproportionate" Israel response to over 10,000 rockets, mortars and terror incursions that have gone largely under and just plain unreported by the international press for, oh, 'bout the last 7-8 years.
I'm here. Listening. Waiting. I dare you. Really.
Update: Click here for a clear, in-depth audio interview with a British resident of Sderot on the current situation.
Meanwhile: A Twitter Kassam feed.
Above is a amalgam of video clips showing how Sderot residents (and thousands of other Israelis in rocket range of the Gaza Strip) have been living for the past 7 years.
The interviewer is asking the child about the "fun day" activities in Sderot, when they are interrupted by the town loudspeaker announcing "Color Red," the alert for an incoming rocket attack.
Residents have 15 seconds to reach shelter, before the missile slams down. About the same amount of time it took you to read this far.
The rest that follows should be clear enough.
Caption: we're not the State's sitting ducks." Young Sderot residents don red and black armbands in a protest against ongoing Hamas-led Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza against their southern Israeli town in 2006. (File photo: Dave Bender)
Resident of an Israeli farm bordering Gaza looking at a hole blasted in a wall of her house by a Kassam rocket, that killed her son's girlfriend in 2004. (Photo: Dave Bender)
View from the other side of the wall of the shattered room. (Photo: Dave Bender)
Here's what local residents throughout the south of Israel are reading this evening:
Dec 27th, 2008
Israeli Communities within Range of Rocket Fire – Emergency Instructions for Civilian Population
The firing of rockets at Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip is expected to continue over the next few days, and may expand to additional area. Therefore, residents are requested to follow directions for preparing a protected room and act in accordance with the instructions at the sound of an alarm, an explosion, or a "Color Red" alert.
Residents of villages adjacent to the security fence are asked to remain within shelters tomorrow, in close proximity to protected areas, and are requested not to assemble in groups.
All schools and commercial centers will remain closed, with the exception of vital services, such as medical centers, grocery stores and public transit will operate on a limited schedule.
Residents in the rest of the villages within range of up to ten km of the Gaza security fence are directed to ensure that they are no more than fifteen seconds from a protected area. Public gatherings in this perimeter are forbidden.
Residents of towns in the range of ten to twenty kilometers from Gaza , must be able to enter sheltered areas within thirty seconds. This area includes the cities of Ahkelon, Netivot and the surrounding towns. In these towns, gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed to be held only under reinforced ceilings. Commercial activity will only be allowed to take place in reinforced buildings.
Residents of towns in the range of twenty to thirty kilometers from Gaza , must be able to enter sheltered areas within forty-five seconds, and gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed to be held only under reinforced ceilings.. This area includes the cities of Ashdod , Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Mal'achi, Ofakim, Rahat, and the surrounding towns. Educational activity will take place in reinforced buildings only. Commercial activity will only be allowed to take place in reinforced buildings.
A number of important issues for the population:
- The Home Front command has advised the local authorities to open the public shelters. Entrance to the shelters is advised only if they are reachable within the aforementioned time frames.
- Gatherings near rocket attack sites should be avoided. Unidentified objects and rockets should not be approached. In such instances the police should be notified.
- Adhering to these guidelines and entering sheltered rooms - saves lives.
- Additional information can be obtained via the Home Front Command's hot line 1207 and website: www.oref.org.il.
Listening to the Israeli radio stations through the night there (Saturday night here), I hear, over and over, Israeli songs that are always played when there's a genuine "warlike" situation nationally.
Mostly local hits from the 1960's and 70's, along with a smattering of Europop faves. Nothing "nationalistic," or militaristic mind you, just an accent on songs - many of them pretty odes to a simpler day, that have pretty much served as the soundtrack of Israeli society through war and national crisis. Like American's talking about the "good ole' days" of television around the "national campfire."
Ok - slight update: Army radio (one of Israel's most trusted, iconoclastic and non-propagandaish news outlooks, btw), is playing James Brown's "It's A Man's World." Go figgur.'
No massive message here - feel free to add your own, though.