Sderot is not alone: Within a week, about 100 mortar shells have been fired at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the western Negev. Unlike the city that is plagued with Kassam rockets, no Red Color alert was activated in the kibbutz, since it only warns against Kassam rockets. Therefore, the members only found out that they were being shelled after they witnessed explosions in the center of the kibbutz.
The residents of Kerem Shalom, who had been accustomed to the quiet of a remote community, were forced in the past few days to get used to the threatening sounds of explosions and living in a constant state of anxiety. Allegedly responsible for the extreme and dangerous change is a terrorist cell that is targeting the kibbutz: The shells it has fired have fallen next to the dining room, in the chicken coops, among the members’ rooms and near the kibbutz secretariat.
In the kibbutz, where 20 adults and 19 children live today, the residents are pinning their hopes on the closure of the Karni Terminal, the reduction of activity at the Sufa Terminal-and the move of the main activity to the new terminal at Kerem Shalom, which was built on kibbutz land. According to the plans, the new terminal-which is strategically situated at the Israel-Egypt-Gaza Strip border triangle-will serve as a hub around which cooling rooms will be built for storing agricultural produce, as well as warehouses and a parking lot. All this is contingent on having the Palestinians halt the terrorist activity in the area. Kibbutz manager Ilan Regev believes that the terminal will help the kibbutz receive dozens of new families.
Meanwhile, no one in the kibbutz can explain the fact no one has been hurt. Even the shell that landed in the middle of one of the chicken coops, say kibbutz residents, did not scratch a single chicken.
Anat Politi, who is in charge of the lunchroom, readily recreated the fall of the mortar shell near the lunchroom: “I heard a loud boom, and the entire fortified building shook. The fire bothers us. We are citizens and it is annoying that the terrorists fire at us. It is mainly scary because of the kids.”
Wanted Arab Murderer Hid Under Pregnant Woman’s Bed
Another case of exploiting Palestinian civilians for terrorist purposes took place on Sunday in a United Nations UNRWA Palestinian refugee camp near Nablus:
In IDF activity to eliminate terrorist infrastructure in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp, the soldiers combed the area from house to house. In one building they encountered a pregnant woman who was sitting on a bed and refused to get up, saying that she did not feel well. She even swore to the soldiers that there was nothing out of the ordinary under her bed, and with bitter tears begged not to be forced to get up.
After the soldiers made it clear that if she did not get up of her own accord, they would use force, the Palestinian woman consented to vacate the bed. Then the soldiers discovered a hideaway under the bed, in which wanted man Ahmed Yousef Iah al-Az, 36, one of the leaders of the Hamas infrastructure in the UNRWA refugee camp, was hiding. The wanted man was arrested and turned over to the security forces for questioning. A military source said, “once again we see that the terrorists do not hesitate to exploit the population to assist terror.”
A few days ago, an elite IDF force arrested a senior Hamas militant disguised as a woman in Ein Beit Ilma. In another case that took place a week ago, the IDF enabled international organizations to enter the camp and assist its residents. One of the wanted men seized the opportunity and came out of a house dressed in an UNRWA vest. The man was spotted, identified by the army and arrested.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007