http://sderotmedia.org.il/bin/content.cgi?ID=942&q=3

Photo:Direct hit by a missile in a house

In Danny’s words, “After 29,000 aerial attacks in ten years, we do not see any light at the end of the tunnel”.

On the other hand, Danny Dahan said, pointing to Gaza, “The Gaza economy is booming, Israel does nothing to stop the munitions supplies to Gaza”. Dahan was referring to Israel continuing to allow hundreds of trucks of supplies and the famous monthly Brinks cash vehicle to Gaza. Dahan also referred to the fact that Israel does not kill Hamas leaders who give orders to shoot, following the precedent set when Israel killed Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin in 2004 years ago, with little condemnation.

Dahan, like many other people in Sderot and the collective farms in the area, also remarked that the people of Sderot feel isolated and abandoned by fellow Israelis who live in the center of the country.

Dr. Adriana Katz, the director of the Mental Health Center for Sderot and the Western Negev, observed this week that the population of Israel in the south is not coping very well with the continuing attacks. Dr. Katz reported that she has only three staff members to treat more than 3,000 active cases of people experiencing extreme mental health stress. Dr Katz’s appeals for more staff from the Israeli government and international relief agencies have fallen on deaf ears.

Photo: Damage to chickencoop/ 3 injured

Yet millions of dollars have been pumped into Sderot and the Jewish communities that are contiguous to Gaza for health, education and social services. Why is their mental health center not seeing that aid? No one in any governmental office will respond to that question.

You will not hear a word of criticism of the Israeli government or the Israel Ministry of Defense from the mayors of Jewish communities that border Gaza.

Three mayors with whom we spoke said, each of them in their own nervous manner, that “it is not their job to criticize how the Israeli defense establishment reacts to the Gaza attacks”.

The mayors would not comment on the decision of the Israel Defense Department Civil Administration to continue to dispatch a monthly Brinks cash vehicle which contains $13 million in cash dollars for UNRWA in Gaza, even though the UNRWA administration in Gaza remains totally under the control of the Hamas affiliated Islamic Bloc Trade Union.

Israeli municipalities exist by the grace of the Israeli government

Israeli municipalities will not bite the hand that feed them.

Yet the Israeli government feeds the hand that bites them.

Israeli security sources report that Hamas simply takes the monthly cash allocation to UNRWA and uses it to purchase munitions from the Gaza tunnels.

No one in Israel’s defense establishment will explain why Israel does not bomb ALL of munitions tunnels from Gaza.

A question most often asked is what people can to help the Jewish communities who live under massive lethal attacks at this time.

The bottom line is for people who do not live in Israel’s pummeled southern region, whether in Israel or abroad, to publicly raise their voice and to show solidarity with the people of Sderot and the Western Negev

Support could be characterized by vigils outside of Israeli consulates and outside of media centers, to demand the following steps be taken by the government of Israel

1. Allocation of funds to hire ten more mental health professionals at the Sderot regional mental health center

2. Closure of ALL munitions tunnels into Gaza

3. Cessation of all cash deliveries to Gaza.

4. Execution of the Hamas leadership, applying the precedent of Sheikh Yassin,

Now that Israel is about to embark on an election campaign, and with the US in the final stages of its election campaign, it would be most appropriate to ask these “four questions” of every politician, in the weeks and months to come

The time has come to transform the “Gaza policy” into an election issue.

In the words of my mentor in community organizing, Prof. Eliezer Jaffe “a problem is a problem when someone makes it into a problem”

Photo credit: Ronit Minaker, Spokesperson Eshkol Regional Council

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.