Monday, February 9, 2009

A view from the Israeli Gaza border

Citizen journalist Michael Totten, who has been featured on these pages before, is the kind of journalist that MSM types ought to emulate, but don't. He writes this article from the border area of Israel about what it's like to live with rockets from Gaza raining down every day. The city of Sderot has had rockets land every day but 4 during the past 8 years.

"Thousands of rockets have fallen on Sderot. And every rocket launched at the city triggers an air raid alert. Everyone within ear shot has fifteen seconds to run into a shelter. Imagine sprinting for cover 5,000 times.

Do you know what it's like raising children in that kind of environment? It distorts their perception of the entire world.

Michael Yon visited the border with Gaza just after I did. “According to a pamphlet from the Sderot Information Center,” he wrote, “a kindergarten teacher asked her pupils, 'Why does the snail have a shell?' The children answered in chorus, 'So it can be protected from the Kassam rockets.'”

“You have to remember,” Major Deutsch said, “that the damage isn't the number of physical casualties, it's the number of people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The kids in first grade in Sderot were born when rockets were being fired at Sderot. They have lived their entire lives having to think that when they leave the house, when they're walking down the street, when they're playing ball, that they have fifteen seconds to hide from an incoming rocket. And it's not only the kids, it's the parents. I have a friend who won't drive with two kids in the car. If the alert goes off he doesn't want to have to ask himself which of his kids he is going to save. He and his wife don't go out to weddings, bar mitzvahs, or things like that at night because they don't want to leave their kids with a babysitter.”

The report has a number of pictures as well. It's worth the read.

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