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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘rockets’

Rocket Fire Returns to Southern Israel – Again!

Friday, December 19th, 2014

NYC, NY – Rocket fire returned to southern Israel on Friday, disrupting the Sabbath preparations of local residents again, despite initial attempts by government officials to keep the news from leaking out.

The IDF announced in the morning hours it was checking reports to see whether the activation of the Red Alert system had been a “false alarm.”

It was the third such event to occur in southern Israel in recent weeks. It follows by a few days the European Parliament’s decision to remove Hamas from the European Union’s list of foreign terror groups.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization has been test firing its rapidly improving arsenal of mortar shells, rockets and missiles into the Mediterranean for months.

By early afternoon, Israeli military officials announced that this time Gaza terrorists had, in fact, aimed their weapons directly at southern Israeli civilians. It was the first time since the end of the summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge the IDF had admitted a rocket landed within Israeli territory.

This is also the third time a rocket has been fired at southern Israel, and has exploded on the Israeli side of the border, since the end of this summer’s 50-day war.

The Red Alert siren was heard blaring through communities in the Eshkol Regional Council district, located less than 15 seconds away by rocket fire from the Gaza border.

The Qassam rocket itself exploded in an open area, where it caused no property damage and no physical injuries to local residents.

An Eshkol resident commented that people living in the area have been holding their breath for months, waiting for the “other shoe to drop,” so to speak.

“The war ended… but nothing was done to change the reality,” Anat Hefetz told Ynet. “For four months already nothing has been done to prevent this… No initiatve was taken. We left the area on the other side to be controlled by Hamas… There are always infiltrations, attempts to shoot rockets and ‘false alarms.’ It does not surprise us,” she said.

Weeks ago, it became clear that Hamas has also resumed its terrorist tunnel building activity as well. The organization was able to pull materials for the construction from the limited goods allowed into Gaza by Israel due to pressure from the international community.

(Ed. Note: Story filed from New York before the start of the Sabbath.)

For readers familiar with our wartime coverage, Friday’s rocket report log looked like this:

12:36 PM – Army admits that a rocket actually landed in Israel in an open area. This is the first time since Operation Protective Edge that the IDF admits that a rocket landed within Israel’s territory.

No injuries or damage reported.

11:46 AM A rocket alert was heard in the Eshkol region.

The IDF is checking if this is a false alarm or if there was a rocket launch, and if so, where did the rocket fall.

Confirmed Report: Hamas Test Fired Rocket Towards the Sea

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The IDF has confirmed to JewishPress.com that Hamas test fired yet another rocket into the sea, on Monday afternoon.

The rocket was launched from the ruins of the Jewish town of Netzarim, in northern Gaza.

Saving Sderot – One Family at a Time

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Rockets make a funny noise when they race to their targets, people say. It’s a kind of whistle that lets you know you’ve run out of time. It’s too late to make it to a bomb shelter; better find the closest safe space and hope for the best.

People in Sderot know all about that sound, that feeling, but they tend to be very matter-of-fact about it when speaking with “outsiders” — those who have never lived under the constant threat of rocket fire. Most visitors never catch the difference in their voices, that ever-alert look in their eyes. The slightly dissociated expression on so many faces passing by in the street.

Thirteen years of constant shelling and rocket fire aimed at the city by Gaza terrorists, less than a mile away, has taken its toll on the residents of Sderot. But there is a group of young families that came to live in the city in order to blend their strength with the residents and help them heal. To stand together in the face of enemy fire.

“We never really know when the attack is going to come. We had only three seconds in the last war to reach a safe space before we heard the sound of a mortar shell or rocket landing nearby,” explains Odelia Ben-Porat,” one of the group. She is the Partnerships Manager for Afikim BaNegev, the community that created the Reut-Sderot Association, a group that has brought therapeutic and family support programs to the city.

“We’ve had rockets strike our own buildings as well,” she adds calmly, pointing to a fortification roofing that appears to shield the roof of a building framed among desert greenery. “That helped in the beginning when they first installed it – but in Gaza they have improved their technology and this no longer is enough.” So the marathon run to the bomb shelters is still mandatory. An entire city is still on the run.

Even now, in a period of “calm,” people in Sderot live in a kind of limbo, a state of suspended animation where they hold their breath waiting for the next attack, Ben-Porat says. During periods of escalation, as many as 50 missiles and mortar shells were fired at the city in one day alone.

“People live in fear. The children are raised in an atmosphere of insecurity, uncertainty and anxiety. Those families who could – usually those with better education and better finances – picked up and left. This has left Sderot without well-to-do young local volunteers and local leadership,” Ben-Porat explains.

To counter this ‘brain drain’ – and the crushing poverty that comes along with it – two decades ago 10 ambitious young families organized themselves into a core group, or “garin.” They named their little community “Afikim BaNegev” and moved to Sderot to volunteer their services in Israel’s periphery.

That was in 1993. In 2014, Afikim BaNegev has grown to 340 families.

The Reut-Sderot Association operates more than a dozen therapeutic and community support programs to help local families get back on their feet and stay there.

Among the programs run by the group are the Reut Clubhouses for At-Risk Children, which provides hot meals, social skills activities and supportive counseling five days a week. They are run by professional staff who serve 57 children ages 6-13 in four after-school centers.

Afikim BaNegev 3

Reut Sderot’s Psycho Trauma Therapy program provides expressive arts therapy such as art, dance, music and movement therapies to approximately 53 children ages 6-13 who live in “disturbing family environments” and also have been directly affected by rocket attack-related trauma. Therapy is provided by on-site creative expression therapists within the environment of larger therapeutic centers for at-risk children.

Four years ago the organization created the Young Afikim group to build up the next generation’s leadership. At present, 90 members of this group, including numerous young families, are committed to living in Sderot and revitalizing the city. They have moved into old and neglected apartment blocks in the more disadvantaged “Neve Eshkol” and “Nir Am” neighborhoods.

Afikim BaNegev 2

Following the death of a young child, a special Emergency Team trained by a clinical psychologist was also established to provide on-the-spot support in the form of crisis intervention. Ben Porat says the group is working towards being able to purchase medicine for sick children or provide financial aid for families in an emergency.

The City of Sderot and State of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Infrastructure (MICI) are also lending their support, particularly in providing funding and licensing to the Afikim Day Care Center, which cares for some 150 children ages 3 months to 3 years old, while their parents are at work or school.

Even in summer, when many Israeli children are forced to fend for themselves, at least 57 Sderot children most “at risk” are provided with scholarships to attend four weeks of “Bravo” Summer Camp. The project, named in honor of Steven and Irene Grossman, ensures that the children most traumatized by living “on the edge” are distracted by activities most Western children would consider to be “simply normal.”

The average Israeli teen enters the Israel Defense Forces at age 18, after completing high school. But for some teens, it’s not that simple – particularly for those who are unable to learn properly due to being repeatedly traumatized by terror attacks. Reut-Sderot’s Lapidot Preparatory College provides a project that serves 17 young women ages 18-20 from Israel’s periphery, within the framework of the compulsory National Service they serve instead of military duty. The project, based in Sderot, includes various community volunteer activities during the morning hours, and studies in the afternoons and evenings, with the girls preparing and serving their own dinners. Upon graduation the girls are encouraged to seek further academic studies and employment within their fields of interest.

Reut-Sderot also provides hundreds of needy low-income families with food and clothing vouchers at holiday time each year. As in many communities in Israel’s periphery, there are many who would otherwise be unable to celebrate the holidays with a proper meal.

The organization does not carry out all these programs alone, Ben-Porat emphasizes. “We cooperate with a number of partners and are fortunate to have the support of others as well,” she notes. Some of those include the Sderot municipality, UIA Canada, Mizrachi Canada, State of Israel government ministries and agencies, Young Israel of Woodmere, and several foundations and private donors. “New partners mean the ability to stretch our resources and help more people,” she adds. “The more people involved in our work, the more we can do.”

Odelia Ben-Porat and the Reut-Sderot Association can be reached at 972-50-672-8204, or by email at: odeliab@reut-sderot.org.il .

Israeli Lawyers File War Crime Suit against Abbas for Rocket Fire

Monday, November 10th, 2014

An Israeli civil rights group has filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court against Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas for war crimes in the Gaza war against Israel.

The Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) group said that Abbas can be tried in the court in Hague because he has Jordanian citizenship.

The Palestinian Authority is not as member of the ICC, but Abbas has threatened he will apply for membership. If the PA is accepted, he could file war crime suits against Israel.

“Shurat HaDin will not allow Fatah to carry out rocket attacks on Israeli population centers, while hypocritically advocating Palestinian membership in the ICC, said Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan Leitner. “Abbas falsely believes that alleged crimes against Arabs are the only ones that should be prosecuted,” she added.

Darshan-Leitner argued that Abbas, as head of the Fatah movement, “is liable for Fatah’s rocket attacks on Israeli cities during this past summer’s Gaza war.”

Fatah boasted that it launched missiles towards numerous Israeli communities, including Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and kibbutzim in the Gaza Belt area.

Darshan-Leitner explained that Abbas’ Jordanian citizenship circumvents the previous obstacle to the ICC chief prosecutor’s argument that the court did not open an investigation into war cries in the war because neither Israel or the Palestinian Authority is a member of the ICC.

“Abbas is a Jordanian citizen and Jordan is a current member of the ICC,” she said, “The ICC is empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member, wherever those acts are committed.”

The complaint notes Jordan has never prosecuted any Palestinian citizen for terrorism and it “has no means of obtaining custody of Mahmoud Abbas,” who lives in Ramallah under PA protection.

In September, Shurat HaDin filed an ICC complaint against Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who also possesses Jordanian citizenship, for Hamas’s extra-judicial execution of 39 Palestinian civilians in Gaza.


Ban Says UN Will Investigate Weaponry in Its Gaza Agencies

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A supposed independent Board of Inquiry will look into the cases of U.N. agencies hit by artillery during the Gaza conflict, as well as instances in which weaponry was found on United Nations premises, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday at the Security Council.

He also questioned the “proportionality” of Israel’s response to rockets fired from Gaza.

He ran through the standard routine of understanding Israel’s need to defend itself “from rockets above and tunnels below” but “the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about proportionality,” he said.

He is correct.

Any normal country would have flattened an enemy for shooting missiles into its territory and threatening to fire on planes at a country’s international airport.

Ban also called for “long-term stability in Gaza,” which is a good move except that he thinks it requires “addressing the underlying causes of the conflict” an end to the occupation that has grinded on for nearly half a century, a full lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and effectively addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.”

“Long-term stability” in Gaza existed since the Six-Day War in 1967, when Egypt was delighted to get of the impoverished hell-hole. Gaza Arabs experienced two decades of unprecedented economic growth with the freedom to travel back and forth from Israel.

JTA contributed to this report.

Real False Alarm in Eshkol Region

Monday, October 20th, 2014

12:25pm Another false alarm rocket alert was heard in a community in the Eshkol region.

Apparently this alert was not the result of a rocket launch, but an actual false alarm accidentally triggered by a system tech. We forgive him.

Ban Ki-moon Gives Hamas a Boost with Call for ‘One Palestine’ [video]

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Gaza and the rocket-battered Tuesday, but his heart clearly was with his hope for a “one Palestine” that unites Hamas and Fatah with joint supervision of goods moving in and out of Gaza.

“We stand by you. The international community supports your government’s efforts to assume the security and governance responsibilities in Gaza,” he said after meeting with Gaza officials.

He also visited Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha and Nirim, targets of Hamas tunnel terrorists, and he toured the remains one of the tunnels with IDF officials.

Ban didn’t connect the dots.

“This is a great opportunity to unite the West Bank and Gaza under one Palestinian leadership,” he said. “My visit today to the school and to Gaza has reinforced my conviction that there is no time to lose. There can be no peace in the Middle East, no security for Israel, while the crisis in Gaza festers.”

He did not acquit Gaza terrorists of all guilt and added, “I repeat here in Gaza: the rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups must end.”

He said he was “shocked and alarmed by the underground tunnels which have been used for penetration for terrorist purposes. Nobody should live under constant threat or fear by these rockets and the penetrating alarming underground tunnels.”

Ban did his best to show sorrow for terror victims in Israel as Gazans who have been caught between their own terrorist regime and IDF retaliation.

But the bottom line, as expected, is that lifting the “senseless blockade” and addressing the underlying issues “is the only way – a viable option, so that the two peoples can enjoy peace and harmony and security.”

His visit follows by several days the “donors” conference in Cairo, where more than $5 billion was pledged to “re-build” Gaza.”

Ban said last week this will be the “last time” that aid will pour into Gaza, where Hamas has repeated used funds to feed its stockpile of weapons rather than feed its hapless resident.

A sign that the Ban called the “build-destroy, build-destroy cycle” is not about to end is that aid is going into Gaza without Hamas agreeing to give up its missiles.

The United States is coughing up more than $200 million for Gaza, and Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked the State Dept. Tuesday, “If you’re going to give them the money without a guarantee of – that hostilities aren’t going to start again, I’m wondering why you just don’t throw it on a bonfire or something.”

Spokeswoman Jen Pskai replied dodged the question, saying only, “We want to see Gaza reconstructed, and we believe that the people of Gaza have a vast array of needs… There’s a desire in the international community to see a serious approach to a lasting ceasefire. “

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ban-ki-moon-moon-gives-hamas-a-boost-with-call-for-one-palestine-video/2014/10/15/

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