The War in Gaza

Just connecting to the news for the first time in a week, I realize that I am near the war zone of the action in Gaza. The bombardments I hear are not  routine, but a steady ratcheting up of action. There is a massing of Israeli troops in our area and the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Israeli territory has unleashed a very strong response. I need not repeat what is on the news nor editorialize on the events as they unfold. Everyone is following this story carefully here.

 On my way back from the Negev, we stopped at the “Black Arrow”  memorial which commemorates those Israeli soldiers  who died conducting reprisal raids in response to unremitting terrorism from Gaza when it was under Egyptian control from 1953-56 which killed 500 Israelis and wounded over a thousand. So, 53 years ago similar terrorist raids and counter raids were occuring as today on the Israeli border from Gaza.

There is a large Israeli military build-up in this area and I photographed some of the troops and tanks who are staged here (photos will follow). We also went on a hill facing Gaza with a beautiful memorial of wind chimes built by the parents of a 19 year old from a local Kibbutz, who was killed when two army helicopters crashed in the North. From this hill we can see Gaza (photos to follow) and how close (about one mile) it is to Sderot where Gazans fire Qassam rockets into the town. Satellite TV film crews were on the hill taking video of Gaza which I presume then gets globally beamed.

Gaza from a distance looks like any city and it is hard to comprehend how centers of population that are so close to each other can be so different and hostile. I joked to one of the Alumim kibbutzniks that when I return to the Bay Area I will be able to tell the difference between artillary shells and sonic booms should they happen in San Francisco. But the joke does have a larger meaning. We do not worry when our children go to school whether they will be blown up in the school bus. When our kids leave home to university we do not worry they will be in harms way as the Israelis do when their children serve in the army. We do not have barbed wire fences around the perimeter of our communities as they do here in Alumim. We do not have security people checking our bags when we go to stores, malls and restaurants. In many ways every day Israelis are reminded that there are people who are always trying to kill them and their loved ones.

I met a woman about my age when I saw the sun set at Mizpe Ramon. Here we were on an observation deck at the top of a glorious canyon with the  magnificent soft dusk light illuminating the landscape. We both acknowledged our gratitude to witness this majestic glory. Within a minute of conversation she said to me, “I have two children who were already in the army and two more who are now serving…and for what? The problems will never end here.” Even atop Mitzpe Ramon the world is very much on the mind of an Israeli mother. When I remember her it will be hard for me to take our relative security for granted when I return to the Bay Area.

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10 Responses to “The War in Gaza”

  1. Bernie Says:

    Very good, Jeff. We are looking forward to the pictures as well as your thoughts about the mother’s concern – Thanks – B

  2. Antibush Says:

    Bush is forever saying that democracies do not invade other countries and start wars. Well, he did just that. He invaded Iraq, started a war, and killed people. What do you think? Is killing thousands of innocent civilians okay when you are doing a little government makeover?
    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!

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  10. A Month in Israel : We Blog The World Says:

    […] blogging on-site and how this not only changed but enhanced his experience. He writes about the War in Gaza here and his posts over a month period talk about tourist sites as well as his reflections about the […]

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