Friday, September 07, 2012

7-Sep-12: If it's not called paranoia when the enemy really is out to get you, what's it called when the enemy has out-of-control nuclear and chemical weapons?

With enemies like Syria and Iran,
who needs a crisis?
What follows is a short series of extracts from a handful of current news reports and analysis. All appeared in the news media in the past 24 hours, but this does not mean the past 24 hours have been particularly fateful or more threatening than those that came before. But for people still in doubt, it's time to understand that we here in Israel see more than enough evidence around of us of serious threats by dangerous people. And without putting too fine a point on it, there is no rush on the part of friendly friends to make these life-changing threats go away.

Worries intensify over Syrian chemical weapons 
[Washington Post yesterday]
  • Western spy agencies suspect Syria’s government has several hundred tons of chemical weapons and precursor components scattered among as many as 20 sites throughout the country... including sizable quantities of battlefield-ready sarin, the deadly nerve agent...
  • Officials are monitoring the storage sites, but they expressed growing fear that they have not identified every location and that some of the deadly weapons could be stolen or used by Syrian troops against civilians.
  • The stockpile appears to be larger and more widely distributed than originally suspected, according to two officials who have seen the intelligence reports. They said the most dangerous chemical stocks are kept in bunkers in about a half-dozen locations, while as many as 14 other facilities are used to store or manufacture components.
  • Some of the officials also conceded that there may be yet-undetected facilities within the country, roughly the size of Washington state. The former U.S. intelligence official said North Korea and Russia have assisted Syria over the decades in constructing weapons facilities that are well-fortified and shielded from spy satellites. “They are masters at concealment,” the former official said.
  • In August, a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, said the Damascus government would never use chemical arms against its people, but he warned that it would unleash the weapons against what he called foreign invaders. He said the military was guarding the stockpile.
  • Syria is thought to possess the world’s third-largest stockpile of chemical weapons after United States and Russia... Syria’s weapons, predominantly deadly nerve agents that can be delivered by artillery rockets, shells and aircraft munitions, were developed for use in a war against Israel...
  • U.S. and Israeli officials fear that the chemical sites could be looted, leading to weapons being sold or given to radical Islamists or to Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters. A single crate of artillery shells or a few barrels of chemical precursors would contain enough lethal poisons for a series of terrorist attacks...
Jeffrey Goldberg's daily report in The Atlantic was devoted yesterday [here] to comments made by the chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers:

Obama Says All Options Are On The Table, But Neither Israel nor Iran Believe Him 
  • Rogers "described Israeli leaders as being at "wits' end" over what they see as President Obama's unwillingness to provide them with his "red lines" in the effort to stop Iran's nuclear program. 
  • "He also said that neither the Israelis nor the Iranians believe that Obama would use force to stop the nuclear program. 
  • Rogers describe the Israeli frustration this way: "I support the sanctions. But if you're going to have a hammer you have to have an anvil. You have to have at least a  credible threat of a military option. So it's having an effect, yes, it's having an effect on the Iranian economy. It is not impacting their race on enrichment and other things, and that's very very clear." 
  • "Rogers had harsh words for the Administration, which he says has made it very clear to the Israelis what they shouldn't do, but hasn't delivered a message to the Iranians with the same clarity...
  • "Right now the Israelis don't believe that the Administration is serious when they say that all options are on the table, and more importantly neither do the Iranians."
Meanwhile over at the Wall Street Journal, there's an analytical piece in today's edition by a couple of serious academics, one of whom is a former top IAEA inspector:

What We Know About Iran's Nukes
  • The world's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency... on Aug. 30 released its latest report on Iran's nuclear activities... The report, written in a mix of bureaucrat-speak and obscure science, nevertheless conveys a worrying message. It shows that Iran continues to expand its capacity for enriching uranium. There are now two new groups of centrifuges installed at Fordow—the hardened site built under a mountain near the holy city of Qom—which signals a doubling of the site's capacity since May.
  • Iran continues to stockpile uranium enriched to 3.5% and 20% purity—levels for which Iran has no immediate use unless it is planning to make an atomic bomb. (Its stockpiles of 20% uranium far exceed Tehran's claimed needs for a reactor making medical isotopes.)
  • Iran is now operating around 11,000 centrifuges categorized as "IR-1," which are based on a Dutch design acquired by the Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan. This means that, despite international sanctions and surveillance, Iran has acquired (and perhaps continues to acquire) important supplies from abroad, particularly maraging steel and high-strength aluminum... 
  • Given the intelligence uncertainties involved with monitoring whether such a secretive program moves to "break-out," even a stockpile of five or six bombs-worth of 20%-enriched uranium would effectively make Iran a nuclear-weapon state.
  • Cautious politicians will argue there is still time for diplomacy, plus sanctions and military threats, to succeed. But Iranian leaders give little impression they are about to give in to pressure.
  • The IAEA report concludes by saying that Director-General Yukiya Amano "will continue to report as appropriate." But Mr. Amano does not have a sign on his desk saying "the buck stops here." The future of Iran's nuclear program is in the hands of whoever does.
Without in any way diminishing from the scale of the Iran nuclear threat, the Iranians cause plenty of trouble in more conventional ways. One of them is being demonstrated right now in the bloodbath being conducted in Syria.

Iran sends elite troops to aid Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria
  • Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has personally sanctioned the dispatch of experienced officers to ensure that the Assad regime, Iran's most important regional ally, survives the threat to its survival.
  • In addition, Iran has shipped hundreds of tons of military equipment, including guns, rockets, and shells, to Syria through the regular air corridor that has been established between Damascus and Tehran. Intelligence officials believe the increased Iranian support has been responsible for the growing effectiveness of the Assad regime's tactics in forcing anti-government rebel groups on the defensive.
  • "Iran has taken a strategic decision to deepen its involvement in the Syrian crisis," a senior Western security official said. "The Iranians are desperate for their most important regional ally to survive the current crisis. And Iran's involvement is starting to pay dividends."
  • On Thursday [yesterday], Syrian army bombardment was reported to have killed at least 20 people in an area of southern Damascus which houses a large Palestinian community. Assad loyalists have accused Palestinian refugees living in the capital of siding with the rebels, and have retaliated by launching repeated attacks against the Yarmouk refugee camp.
  • Under the Assad regime Damascus has allowed Iran to ship regular supplies of arms and equipment to southern Lebanon to enable Hizbollah to sustain its aggressive stance against Israel. The ayatollahs fear that any change of regime in Syria might cut the supply line.
As sundown approaches on this very hot Friday, we extend our wishes for the blessed peace of Sabbath.

7-Sep-12: Two more GRAD rockets fired from Gaza crash and explode in Israel's Sedot Negev region

Netivot, 2008 - an earlier rocket attack by "liberation
forces" of Gaza [Image Source]
At about dawn this morning (Friday), shortly after Islamic morning prayer time, a pair of GRAD missiles fired from Gaza by one of the endless list of ad hoc terror "organizations" crashed into open fields in southern Israel's Sedot Negev region. The reports say no injuries and no significant damage, but people in the entire region started their day tothe sound of a missile warning, and the terrorists will surely be trying for a better result, starting immediately.

The same area came under Gazan rocket fire on Sunday [see "2-Sep-12: Mid-morning rocket attack - second of the day"]. 

A Palestinian Arab newsagency this week attributed earlier rocket attacks on the area to the "armed wing" of the "Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine", a member organization of the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas. The DFLP used to be classified as a terrorist organization by the US State Dept., but lost its designation in 1999 as a result of not doing enough terror [Wikipedia]; its leadership may be making another run at the title.

The Sedot Negev region is in the northwest of Israel's Negev desert. Its 7,000 residents live in 12 moshav communities, 2 kibbutzim and 2 community settlements, all of them affiliated with the Hapoel Hamizrahi national religious movement.  This morning's rockets exploded in agricultural fields [Walla/Hebrew], narrowly missing [Times of Israelthe desert city of Netivotpopulation 27,000 and located 20 km from the border with Gaza.

Gazan GRAD rockets (the name is Russian for hail) have been deployed against Israeli civilian targets since 2008. Each rocket is 122 mm long, and has a range of about 40 km. When fired from the terror-rich Gaza Strip, they can easily reach Ashdod, Beer-Sheva, Ofakim, Gedera, Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon, Sderot, Rehovot, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne among other southern Israeli communities.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

6-Sep-12: Rockets again

It's a hot Thursday morning. Overnight, the IDF pre-empted an attempt by rocket men from Gaza to fire into southern Israel [source]. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit says Israeli aircraft hit the group of terrorists in central Gaza while they where preparing to fire a rocket. It says this group had been responsible for previous rocket attacks on southern Israel. Their careers evidently ended during the night.

This morning at about 8:05 am, incoming missile warnings were sounded in the Shaar Hanegev region. We don't yet have reports of the outcome.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

4-Sep-12: Incoming rockets fired at southern Israel communities

The Tzeva Adom warnings were sounding throughout the Eshkol region of southern Israel about 09:20 pm this evening, Tuesday. We have no official confirmation at this point, but reports that we see are saying say at least one incoming rocket fired by the Gazan terrorist gangs has crashed and exploded in open fields, causing no harm other than terrifying the local population in those southern Israeli communities yet again. It's a near-daily occurrence, but its frequency does not diminish the danger in any way.

4-Sep-12: Palestinian Arab with bag full of bombs is stopped at a racist, hateful security checkpoint; many lives are saved. Is this worth reporting?

[Archive Image from a different checkpoint and
unrelated to what happened yesterday]
You hear and read a lot about how cruel and oppressive Israel's system of barriers and security checkpoints is. The far-left activist women of Machsom Watch generate a good deal of the negative reporting on this theme, and to their credit they explain in a direct and clear way why they do it:
We regularly document what we see and hear. The reports of these observations are published on the Machsom Watch site, and sent to public officials and elected representatives. Through the documentation which discloses the nature of everyday reality, we are attempting to influence public opinion in the country and in the world, and thus to bring to an end the destructive occupation, which causes damage to Israeli society as well as to Palestinian society. 
The word machsom is Hebrew for "barrier". A barrier manned by armed service personnel is never going to be a happy scene. But most of us who live here and have experienced terrorism first-hand understand why they are there and what they achieve each day, and look forward to when they will no longer be needed. At Machsom Watch, they don't agree with us. Then again, we have the impression they pay more attention to the influence-public-opinion part of their mission than to the cognitive challenge of grappling with what brings those barriers to be there and what they aim to do.

So here is a reminder from yesterday of why the Machsom phenomenon exists and what it does. There's not much ideological in the sentences that follow. But for those of us who relate to barriers in their common, non-ideological sense, what happened yesterday has considerable significance.

As Ynet tells it ["Man hurls bag containing four pipe bombs at security forces after being denied entrance to Israel; none injured"], a Palestinian Arab approached the IDF's Hashmona'im checkpoint yesterday around 2 pm. If you're not familiar with Israel's very compact geography, we're speaking of a controlled crossing that is next to the Haredi community of Kiryat Sefer/Modi'in Elit. It's a short way from the second most important of the highways that run from Tel-Aviv and the airport up to the national capital, Jerusalem and no more than 20 minutes drive from our Jerusalem home.

The man evidently lacked the necessary documentation for crossing to the other side. The young soldiers and Border Police officers did what they are trained to do, and sent him away. Ynet's report says he then left the scene but he returned shortly afterwards carrying a bag. He dropped or threw the bag at the security personnel at the checkpoint and fled. Turns out it was filled with explosives. Four live pipe bombs were safely detonated by an IDF sapper. A large manhunt for the bag-man was launched.

The terrorist knew he was approaching an IDF checkpoint, and yet he brought with him a bag of explosives. Perhaps he thought the Machsom Watch women would be there to run interference with the soldiers. We don't know. But we know that in taking the risk of bringing explosives to a security checkpoint, he was either interested in executing an attack then and there, or was on his way to kill someone somewhere else. Someone Jewish and/or Israeli. It is not reasonable to assume there are alternative interpretations.

From NGO-Monitor's Machsom Watch page:
  • Machsom Watch is funded by, and accepts donations via, the New Israel Fund (NIF). The NIF made grants to it in 200620072008 and 2009 worth more than $200,000.
  • Also funded by the EU, including a €77,632 grant for 2010-11, by Diakonia (Sweden), Norway, and the UK government (£30,000 for its project “No Legal Frontiers”). Note that the Netherlands did not renew funding after 2009.
  • A Machsom Watch exhibition of photos taken at Israeli checkpoints refers to the “policy of suppression and dehumanization that pervades the nature of control over another nation,” “collective punishment,” and “apartheid roads.” Machsom Watch also claims that the delay in checking documents at checkpoints is aimed at imposing “an illegal means of ‘educational punishment’.”
  • In March 2011, five members of a Jewish family living in the community of Itamar were murdered in their beds. The victims were the father and mother, two small children and a baby (see our blog posting: "19-Apr-11: What happened that awful Sabbath night in Itamar?"). Immediately after the massacre, Machsom Watch activists including its spokesperson Raya Yaron visited the nearby Palestinian town of Awarta to comfort the relatives of those who had been arrested for the murders - and whose sons subsequently confessed and proudly took 'credit'. Ms Yaron was photographed hugging the mother of one of the murderers.
If you visit the Machsom Watch site now to see what the the strongly-public-opinion-minded women of that group say about yesterday's lucky intercept of a killer on his way to destiny, you are likely to be disappointed. Search for the story on Reuters, AFP, AP, Xinhua and you are likely to turn up empty-handed.

What is it about events that result in Israeli lives being saved that makes them so... unworthy of being reported?

4-Sep-12: Where's the shame? How much of your tax dollars went to fund the pension of our child's murderer? More than you probably thought

Abdullah Barghouti built and delivered the guitar-case bomb that
killed our daughter
 and fourteen other innocents.
The PA pays him a growing monthly stipend.
The symbolism is powerful. And sickening. 

The economy presided over by the Palestinian Authority and its head Mahmoud Abbas is a peculiar thing.

A year ago, the New York Times reported that the PA had managed to run up a deficit of more than half a billion US dollars in 2011 alone, and was borrowing heavily from unspecified banks. The financial crisis, according to PA prime minister and famed economist Salam Fayyad, was due to the failure of the PA's sovereign friends to make good on their pledges. "Of the $971 million pledged by donors for this year, $330 million of it has been paid so far," said the July 2011 report, quickly adding that "Fayyad said the current financial crisis had no bearing on the Palestinians’ readiness for independence".

Ready for independence or not, the PA has now managed to run up an electricity tab of more than NIS 700 million. That's how much they owed the Israel Electric Company as of September 1, 2012. Today Israel's minister for energy said he will be instructing the IEC "to take all necessary steps to collect these debts, with all the implications that may arise”. Does he mean to turn off the power to the Abbas regime? Maybe.
"The accumulated electricity debt is another sign of the Palestinian Authority’s mounting cash crunch, which it largely blames on a sharp reduction in foreign aid since 2011" [Source: The Times of Israel today.]
In tough economic times, you make tough economic decisions. Unless you're the Palestinian Authority. Contemplate this report from tonight's news:
Cash-strapped PA spends $4.5 million per month paying Palestinians in Israeli jails         
Despite the Palestinian Authority’s financial hardships, it spends tens of millions of shekels on paying security prisoners held in Israeli jails, and last year Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tripled their monthly pay. Starting in 2003, Palestinian law mandated the dispensation of a monthly salary of NIS 1,000 to security detainees sentenced up to five years in prison. A life sentence earned NIS 4,000 per month. An amendment of the law in January 2011 enacted by Fayyad increased the salaries by an average of 300%, Channel 2 reported on Monday [today]. As of May 2011, the PA spent NIS 18 million ($4.5 million) per month on compensating Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisonsA prisoner sentenced up to three years in prison received a base salary of NIS 1,400 per month, for 3-5 years that rate increased to NIS 2,000. A NIS 300 bonus is added for a wife, and NIS 50 per child. According to the Channel 2 report, the PA-funded salaries are an equal opportunity benefit; members of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all receive them. [The Channel 2 news report in Hebrew is here]
The report goes on to say that murderers get paid more, the longer their incarceration. To illustrate, it brings the case of the multiple murderer Abdullah Barghouti, sentenced in 2004 to 67 life sentences - one for each of the lives he snuffed out. He's also the man who built the bomb that murdered our daughter, Malki. As a convicted murderer on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs, he qualifies for a monthly stipend of NIS 4,000. This will rise automatically next year to NIS 6,000.

Who makes available the funding that allows the PA to conduct its unconscionable, terror-encouraging financial policies? Well, quite a number of people, if you're asking. And some that may be quite close to where you live.
  • "Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip receive one of the highest levels of aid in the world..." [Wikipedia
  • In the last five years, the U.S. government has poured at least $4 billion in aid to the Palestinians, with very little to show in return – except more terror and corruption...  Since 2008, annual U.S. bilateral assistance to the PA has averaged over $600 million, including $513 million for the current budgetary year... Time has now long come to ask whether the U.S. should continue funding at all. Last week [April 2012], in a virtually unprecedented move, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overruled a House Foreign Affairs Committee hold on $59 million in funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA), thus blatantly disregarding the integrity of Congress. The money was ‘held’ by request of Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), largely out of concern it may reach the hands of Hamas and be used to commit acts of terror against Israel and the United States. According to a State Department official, Secretary Clinton released the funds, because they were viewed as providing “critical support to the Palestinian people and those leaders seeking to combat extremism within their society and build a more stable future.” [Source: Time for the U.S. to Stop Funding the Palestinian Authority, April 20, 2012. Author: Arsen Ostrovsky]
  • In the 2008 Paris Conference [source], 11% of the pledges for the PA came from the US and Canada, 53% from Europe... and a mere 20% from the Arab countries - much of which was never delivered.
  • "The majority of aid to the Palestinian Authority comes from the United States and European Union. According to figures released by the PA, only 22 percent of the $530,000,000 received since the beginning of 2010 came from Arab donors. The remainder came from Western donors and organizations. The total amount of foreign aid received directly by the PA was $1.4 billion in 2009 and $1.8 billion in 2008. [Source]"
Sixteen months ago, we complained bitterly in this blog [see "20-May-11: Rewarding the Palestinian Arab terrorists: is this being done in your name?"] about the powerful symbolism at work in this shabby affair. 
The PA is chronically short of funds, and is perpetually requesting handouts. Yet it has sufficient disposable cash to make the decision this week to channel funds to the terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons. Evidently Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts have a sound understanding of the message they want to convey to their people, and how best to deliver it. It's humiliating that we, victims of these convicted jihadist terrorists, parents of murdered children, have to raise our voices about this - and evidently we are alone in doing so. Where are the European, American and Australian voices of outrage at what is being done with taxpayer funded aid money, and in their names?  
Allow us to ask again, as we did in May 2011: Where is the sense of shame on the part of those who sign the aid cheques to the Palestinian Arabs? Where is the fury of those voters in Western, aid-giving countries whose political representatives allow this to go on without so much as a whimper?

Monday, September 03, 2012

3-Sep-12: When you're under constant attack by terrorist fanatics, even the burglars have murder on their minds

From far away, it may seem surprising that Israelis still continue to seek normal relations with the Arabs with whom we share so many aspects of life. Anyone in doubt about this needs simply to walk into any Israeli hospital. 

The lifting of a gag order yesterday (Sunday) about a criminal prosecution is a fresh cause for consternation about neighbourly relations. It's a case that started out as a burglary - not an uncommon crime here. But it has become something much more unsettling. 

In suburban Ra'anana, a few minutes drive north of Tel Aviv, the apartment of the Lerner family was robbed in October 2011. The Haaretz account yesterday says police established that entry had been achieved by the use of the front door key. It soon emerged that the building contractor on the property next door had been given the key. It then somehow ended up in the hands of one of the construction workers. Police were called to the scene, and while questioning him, Eyal Lerner collapsed and eventually had to be rushed to intensive care where his life was saved. Soon afterwards, his wife and two and a half year old son as well as one of the police needed urgent hospitalization as well. Suspecting poison, the police carried out tests; these  established that bottle of grapefruit juice and of water along with other food items had been tampered with, and contaminated with large, probably lethal, doses of pesticide.

The suspects are Hossam Abd El-Rahim, 37, from the Israeli Arab town of Tira; and Otman Nas'ara, 47, from the town of Beit Furik in the West Bank. The name of the third suspect remains subject to the gag order. All were charged yesterday with conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary. 

The authorities who went to Nas'ara's home in the West Bank were attacked by rock-throwing locals. Undeterred, they found poison in his home and have charged him with attempted murder. He admitted the charge, citing - as Haaretz calls them - "nationalistic motives". Everyone in our postal code understands that's a common euphemism for terrorism.

El-Rahim who was arrested in Tira denied the murder allegations. They had nothing more serious in mind than "a routine burglary" and Nas'ara acted alone, said the accomplice. 

Israel National News says the thieves had access to the home because the Lerner's knew the contractor next door and trusted him, and gave him the keys. Eyal Lerner told Israeli radio: “It was not difficult to realize that we were burglarized, because the television was missing. Our camera also disappeared... We lock the apartment a lot better now.

With most construction sites in Israel employing large numbers of Arab workers, it's likely that more people will be locking their apartments better now too. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

2-Sep-12: Another rocket attack today just before 11 pm

One more time, the Tzeva Adom missile warning sounded throughout southern Israel's Eshkol region just before 11 tonight (Sunday) [Hebrew source] in the third incoming rocket attack of the day. Ynet and Times of Israel both confirm it was a Qassam rocket.

[From the Gazan side of the fence, the EU-funded 'Gaza NGO Safety Office' reported on a pair of GRAD rockets having been fired in the general direction of Israel around 2:10 this afternoon by "Pal. ops... from E of Al Qarara"Assuming that's accurate, then the past hour's attack is today's fourth.]

Within the Eshkol region, as we noted this morning, some thirty-one communities exist, in an area of less than 300 square miles in the north-western corner of the Negev desert: 14 kibbutzim, 15 moshavim and two residential communities for a total population of about 12,500. No injuries resulted from tonight's attack on civilian targets, but this was not the intention of the jihadist rocket-men who, as we accurately observed this morning (admittedly, it doesn't take much insight), will certainly be trying again soon.

Watching how entire communities react to the Tzeva Adom warnings might surprise you. Try it: click on the following YouTube link to watch an unremarkable instance of the scene that has been played out literally thousands of times in Eshkol and other parts of southern Israel:

The patience and forbearance of the Israelis living in the communities close to the Gaza border is close to superhuman. The malice and barbarism of the jihadist thugs who fling these explosives over the fence under Hamas supervision - hoping, praying, that anything Jewish is going to be damaged or worse - is sub-human.

2-Sep-12: Mid-morning rocket attack - second of the day

The Tzeva Adom missile alert was heard throughout the Sdot Negev region at 09:45 this morning, Sunday. Seconds later, residents heard an explosion, and shortly afterwards there were reports of a hit on an agricultural community and damage to buildings and equipment. The Sdot Negev region is in the northwest part of the Negev desert. Its 7,000 residents live in 12 moshav communities, 2 kibbutzim and 2 community settlements, all of them affiliated with the Hapoel Hamizrahi national religious movement.

In keeping with the national desire not to make things easier for the terrorists, we do not want to disclose the location of the hit, though we see the Jerusalem Post did say where a short time ago and then removed the name from its report [source]. Jpost said the mid-morning rocket was a GRAD, the kind that has a longer range than the more common Qassam, and that damage was caused to a greenhouse.

We get some of our reports of rockets and mortars via direct eye-witness testimony from the field. This one is an example. We have to confess that it's disturbing how so many of these attacks go unreported. It's not as if these are accidents. They are, without exception, acts of war directed explicitly at civilian populations, but the utter apathy of international human rights and peace-promoting bodies (no names needed) speaks for itself. Foreign news services almost never pick up such reports unless there are dead and injured. Israeli news channels suffer from terrorism overload and filter many of these attacks out. The residents of the targeted areas however have neither editors nor remote control devices that allow them to switch these events off.

2-Sep-12: First day of the week, and a school day. How surprising that there's a rocket attack on southern Israel at 7 am?

Incoming missile sirens sounded at about 07:15 this morning (Sunday) in the Eshkol region of southern Israel [Hebrew source]. No official confirmation at this stage, but it appears a mortar or a rocket [UPDATE 10 am: Times of Israel and Ynet now say a mortar] crashed and exploded in open fields. Eshkol is made up of a cluster of  thirty one communities arrayed across an area of less than 300 square miles in the north-western corner of the Negev desert. The 31 are made up of 14 kibbutzim, 15 moshavim and two residential communities for a total population of about 12,500 - all of whom awoke this morning, as on so many before it, to the sounds of a hate-based attack that makes no distinction between military or civilian; Arab or Jew, strategic target or school bus. This is why the men doing the firing fully deserve to be called terrorists.

As far as we know at this stage, the attack an hour ago produced no casualties on the Israeli side. This was not the intention of the jihadist rocket-men who will certainly be trying again soon.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

1-Sep-12: 10 pm rocket attack on southern Israel

In the Ashkelon area on Israel's south Mediterranean coast, the missile sirens have been sounding since about 10 this evening (it's now 10:15pm, Saturday night). A Hebrew online forum contributor [source] says there were two crash/explosions, both in the industrial zone of the city, and as far as we can tell, no serious damage and no injuries. But the intention of the rocket men of Gaza, well-equipped and highly motivated, was and is to keep firing their rockets in the general direction of anything Israel so as to strike something and cause pain and damage. Anyone visiting our blog knows the number of such indiscriminate firings since Hamas took over in 2006 and imposed an iron-fist regime over Gaza, is in the thousands. Firing explosive rockets and mortars at Israel is explicitly approved by the thuggish Hamas regime, designated globally as an outlawed terrorist regime [source]. The designation and the criticism actually do nothing to stop the rockets - that's a mission that the IDF owns and only the IDF takes measures, regularly, to curb and repel the deaths, destruction and mayhem that the terrorists of Gaza so desperately wish upon us.