Tuesday, June 23, 2015

23-Jun-15: Rocket sirens are heard across southern Israel tonight... and almost nowhere else

Haaretz ran this photo at the height of last summer's Gazan rocket
barrages on Israel. Seeking cover in the stairwell of an
Israeli apartment building is often the only thing you can do when
those Gazan rockets come flying in, seeking Israeli victims [Image Source]
Yet another Gazan rocket was despatched in the customary Palestinian Arab manner in the past hour. Meaning it was fired off entirely indiscriminately in the general direction of anything Israeli, Did it crash into a school bus? A cow shed? A busy shopping mall? Did it drop short and explode on top of a Gazan Arab home and the children living inside?

The men who did the firing certainly don't care. Nor do the vast majority of the reporters who cover the Middle East conflict beat. A story that focuses on the malevolence of the fighting forces under the Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad banner? Not worth an editor's time. And anyway, news consumers long ago learned to assume the Arab side are capable of any outrage so why bother getting worked up about it?

So who does care? Israelis. It's our side that holds its collective breath as the Tzeva Adom (Color Red) incoming rocket alert system's warning siren is heard. It's our side that has created well-functioning communities, farms, towns, cities, roads, schools, malls, hospitals, homes - and the shelters that are inseparable part of all of them. Because on our side, every injury, every death (Heaven forbid), every disruption to normal, constructive lives counts, matters, has a measurable impact.

From Ynet, posted at 10:40 tonight (Tuesday):
Rocket launched from Gaza explodes near moshav greenhouse
Alarm heard in south shortly after 10 PM; IDF says rocket was launched, but that it was unclear whether it had fallen in Israeli territory.
A rocket launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Hof Ashkelon shortly after 10 PM on Tuesday, exploding near a greenhouse in a moshav. A Red Alert siren sounded in the area during the incident.
From Israel National News:
The IDF confirmed that a rocket launch from Gaza was identified. Reports indicate that a succession of explosions was heard. Just before 10:30 p.m. a rocket was found in the Hof Ashkelon region, having fallen in an open area and caused no damage.
Haaretz reminds readers that the same area, Hof Ashkelon, last came under rocket fire from Gaza a whole ten days ago:
The IDF's Gaza Division said it believes the rocket was launched by Salafi groups, like in the previous incidents over recent months, but that it was still not clear what launched the militants to fire. No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's fire yet. The chairman of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Yair Farjun, said: "It doesn't matter to us who fired the rocket. Hamas is responsible and we won't let them set our daily schedule."
Times of Israel adds
The rocket landed in an open area near the Yad Mordechai Kibbutz just north of the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “Forces are currently searching the area,” the army said. There were no reports of injuries or damage directly after the alarms, which sounded in the communities of Zikim, Karmia, Netiv Ha’asara and Yad Mordechai just after 10 p.m., the IDF said. Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, a former foreign minister, called on the government to take action to end the sporadic rocket fire. “”Whoever is prepared to accept a drizzle — will at the end of the day get a torrential downpour,” he wrote on Facebook. “This situation is insufferable, unfathomable and must be brought to an end.” Israeli planes have attacked targets in Gaza in the past following rocket attacks. Israel considers Hamas responsible for all rocket fire emanating from the Strip. The alarms come a day after the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a report accusing both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of possible war crimes over heavy fighting last summer.
Foreign news coverage will happen, if at all, only when Israel does something military to silence the rockets. Till then, tonight's attack will almost certainly fail to reach the threshold of reportable news.

It's a blessed relief to know that no damage or physical harm was caused tonight, as far as we can know at this hour. But that, of course, was never the intention of the men with the rockets. For them, it's a numbers game. Just keep firing. Some will Fall Short as hundreds have in the past few years, and may kill or injure Gazan Arabs. From an Arab perspective that's a minor issue, with plenty of theological cover and political justification: no terrorist ever lost his job in the Palestinian Arab world for inflicting harm on his own side. Most of those rockets will fall in uninhabited parts of Israel's territory where the explosion will be so minor as to require a search party. But occasionally, (and given the numbers, this happens regularly) there will be a hit, and some injured or dead on the Israeli side, along with significant property damage. And then the rocket men are hailed as heroes. some headlines are published along with some Hamas insiders being interviewed, their bogus "resistance" is back in the news and it's all worth it.

Meanwhile, a metaphysical question: if a rocket was fired into Israel and no one was hurt, and no news channel outside Israel reported it, what are the ways in which Israel brought this upon itself? And how ought the Israeli side to be condemned for whatever response the IDF now carries out?

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