The Hamas regime in Gaza shelled Sderot and the Western Negev 55 times between yesterday and Saturday.
Yesterday morning, one of those shells devastated a home in Sderot.
Maya Iber, the homeowner who was also hurt, described the attack.
“I was sitting there in the corner; I heard everything moving and a loud boom, I shut my eyes, and when I opened them, the whole house was full of smoke,” Ms. Iber said. “Afterwards I understood that it hit my home. A person builds a home, and then can’t receive children or grandchildren, how is this possible? Now I want to leave the city.”
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Also yesterday morning, a young worker from Thailand sustained light injuries from shrapnel in Moshav Netiv Haasara near Gaza, from a mortar shell that exploded in one of the farm greenhouses, where damage also caused to the green houses.
During these attacks, the Israel Air Force sought out and two rocket launch crew in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.
At yesterday’s cabinet meeting, the cabinet discussed the deteriorating situation in southern Israel. Most of the ministers supported a large-scale military operation in Gaza.
However, the Israeli Army chief of staff and the Israel Defense Minister proposed only a limited response.
Speaking on Israel Army Radio, Israel security cabinet member Minister Yitzhak Herzog justified the defense minister’s policy: “We have to be those who will choose the precise timing, location and manner of the operation. It may be difficult, but we have to clench our teeth, and we will eventually reach the moment of the suitable response that will lead to the solution we want.”
Israel Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, former Israel Minister of Defense and former Israel Army Commander in Chief, launched a vociferous attack on Israel Defense Minister Barak: “The person sitting in the 14th floor of the Defense Ministry should rid himself of the illusion that this truce is good for Israel, and should take action. Are we waiting for children to be killed? For people to be injured?”
Commenting on the situation, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror wrote in the Yisrael HaYom newspaper that “we are now paying the price for the abandonment of Gaza. The abandonment began in 1994 following the Oslo Accords, which led to a significant reduction in the IDF’s ability to prevent fire from the Gaza Strip and smuggling under Philadelphi Road. The abandonment was completed in 2005 by an irresponsible act known as unilateral withdrawal, which led to the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas and the buildup of Hamas as a real military force, which threatens the entire southern part of the State of Israel.”
A Kadima member of Knesset, Shai Hermesh, former regional mayor of the Shaar Hanegev regional council near Gaza, added in the same Israeli paper that “the residents of Sderot and the Gaza perimeter are wondering when the government lost its sovereignty over the region where we came to build our home. The government’s top security officials engage in empty talk, while the Hamas militiamen sit opposite us, scornfully firing.”
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert added “it is no secret that last June, we decided on the cease fire agreement; we did so with more than a few doubts and hesitations. The State of Israel has always hoped for and wanted quiet for the residents of the south and that they should enjoy genuine calm and be free of the threat of unceasing Kassam and mortar attacks that have disrupted life in the south for a very long period. Naturally, we also wanted the absolute cessation of all other acts of terrorism and weapons smuggling. It was on this basis, with more than a little hesitation, but out of the assessment that this was the way to act responsibly, we decided then to act toward the selfsame calm. It was clear that this calm could exist only as long as it was upheld.
“The calm could exist only as long as it was administered by both sides and not with one side relentlessly launching Kassams and mortars, thus repeatedly disrupting residents’ daily lives…
“The scenarios are clear. The plans are clear. The determination is clear, as is the significance of each step. A responsible government is neither eager for battle, nor does it shy away from it. The State of Israel will know when to respond correctly and with the necessary responsibility.”
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .