Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Update

Report From Ira Kerem:
Included in a 10 km. radius from Gaza are almost all the moshavim and kibbutzim of Hof Ashkelon. Included in the 30 km. radius is Kiryat Malachi. This is not to say that KM or that even most of the settlements of HA are under attack but they are all within range of Hamas missiles.
Six thousand five hundred reserves have been ordered up and it looks like our ground forces are making their last preparations before being ordered to go in. Despite the effective air force attacks at weakening Hamas, no one should believe that Hamas has lost the ability to fight and to inflict serious casualties to our forces.
The next phase of this war will not be so clean to us and certainly not to the civilians who will be caught in the firing. We should expect a lot more condemnation from the rest of the world but maybe, and this is a big maybe, this attack might change things for the better. Then again, we might never be able to silence their rockets and we just might be on the road to losing lots of soldiers and whatever little sympathy we might have had with the rest of the world. It is a difficult call. As is too often the case, there were no good choices for us. Let's hope and pray that we will be better off after this action and that human life will be spared as much as possible, Ira

See below an email, sent on to me today;
From Maxine, a resident of Ashkelon.
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Dec 29, 2008 at 12:39 PM
subject :Another day in Ashkelon under missile fire
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It's 12:25 in the afternoon and the city has been jumping, literally and figuratively. The morning started nice and quietly enough and since there were no alerts during the night, it lulled many of us into a false hope that the worst was behind us, that is until the first alarm of the day at about 9:15.
As per drill, we (Rafi, Shani, me and the 3 dogs) all ran downstairs to my mother-in-law's hall, where she was already waiting for us with her housecleaner who was muttering something in Russian, like "oy, oy, oy." Then, a massive "boom" shook the air. It was so loud that my mother-in-law heard it - and without her 2 hearing aids, she doesn't hear a thing.
We waited a few extra minutes and then the phone started ringing. This one was really not far from the house, within a 10 minute walking distance and is on the route for my semi-regular power walks. A worker was killed and several injured. He didn't go into the shelter that was on site and so, he became the city's first (and hopefully only) fatality. And ironically enough he's an Israeli Arab.

After that, there were about 12 more rockets, the last one landing even closer to the house, near my brother-in-law's house where all the windows shook.

We also hear the bombings coming from our army and for those, obviously, there are no alerts but we jump anyway.The Homefront Command has told us all to stay indoors and so I opted not to go to work today,even though I am all dressed and ready to go. I'll stay in the house where hopefully I'll be safe. I have no desire to go outside whatsoever, although my Oreos are gone and I am tempted to run out and buy a new supply but I think I'll pass.

[My daughter] Shani isn't going to work today either and after this last grad, the streets here are really empty of cars and pedestrians. Shani's girlfriend was supposed to get married tomorrow night outside of Ashdod, the next town over and now in range, but the Homefront has cancelled any gatherings of more than 40 people and rather than look for a place in Tel Aviv now, and go thru all the dynamics of making a wedding, she's cancelled the wedding til this blows over.

The malls are closed, Ashkelon College has cancelled classes as well, and although the sun is shining, it's not a sunny day.
The following comes from my friend Leone, and she has a point:
  • If we were trying to kill civilians, with our plane attacks, 300 would be a shameful number! We would have killed thousands and thousands by now! But that goes unnoticed.

That's all for now. We're just hanging out waiting for the next one. We've gotten invitations to stay at friends, distant and not-so-distant family, and even some of my students from the college called and invited us to their houses out of missile range (anything for an "A"?!). We have plans to get out of Ashkelon if it gets really bad but I'd rather not; it's such a headache.

Time will tell.
Bye for now,
Maxine,
Ashkelon, Israel

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