Kassam rockets at the Sderot Police Department

Gaza Border

Courage and Determination
along Israel's Gaza Border

This website is dedicated to those individuals who live in the Sderot, Israel, area, and are within range of the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza in the past several years.
 

March 1, 2008 - movement on the Gaza border
Israel responds to attacks on Ashkelon:
New and more powerful rockets have been used against one of Israel's larger cities


It is March 1, 2008, around 3 a.m. "“Tseva adom, tseva adom,” shrieks the speaker mounted on the building next to the apartment where I am staying on Kibbutz Nir-Am. "Color red, color red," is the English translation. This means that in about 15 seconds or less, a rocket fired from Beit Hanun in Gaza will hit somewhere nearby.

My first impulse is to run. But for most people in this area, at 3 a.m. there is nowhere to run, no safe area. Public shelters are in the street, or outside somewhere. There are few homes with "safe rooms," a constant request made of the government.

As I am writing this the alarm sounds again, so I sit here, breathe deeply, and count: eight, nine, ten, boom.... then another boom. Two rockets falling close by and exploding.

In the two weeks I've been here rockets have fallen all around the kibbutz where I'm staying, three falling within a few hundred feet of my building. Forty were launched on Wednesday the 27th. Now it's the first day of March, barely, and the Israelis are rumored to be moving toward the border. I can hear heavy machinery somewhere in the distance.

People in this area have lived like this for eight years. It is unimaginable to me that they can go on, but they do. Some have left, most have stayed. Many more would leave if they could sell their homes, which have lost half their value. But many will not be moved. "This is my country," I am frequently told. "We want to live just like people do in other countries."

So what do you do when the rockets are falling, and there's no place to go? Go crazy, or go back to sleep. I choose to go back to sleep.

helicopter

Early a.m., first daylight, Israeli helicopters are in the air.

helicopter

Gaza burning
Early morning March 1, 2008. I ride down to the military post which overlooks the Gaza border and the city of Beit Hanun.
Smokes rises from Beit Hanun, probably from Israeli ground or air strikes. Bursts of automatic weapons fire can be heard,
then silence. This goes on for an hour or so, and then I ride down one of the roads close to the border.

tanks waiting
I pass a number of military vehicles which are waiting for something. This is not a large-scale invasion. There are none
of the huge convoys of tanks and equipment lining up to enter Gaza. Later that might happen, as it has happened in
2004 and 2006 and other times. But now seems to be a waiting time.

armored bulldozer
Heavy equipment, including this armored bulldozer, is moving toward Gaza. But only a few machines are on the move.

convoy
A convoy sits beside the road. Gaza is in the background, just a few hundred yards away.
Smoke from Israeli strikes can be seen. Later in the day (photo at bottom of page) this unit or another can be
seen inside Gaza, preparing the ground for something.

tank crew
Another tank crew sits near the border, waiting.

inside Gaza
Inside Gaza, this telephoto shot shows an Israeli unit preparing the ground for some future activity.
Unlike almost any place in the world, Israeli citizens are able to watch some of their wars.
The country is so small, less than one-third the size of my native Virginia, that many vantage points are available.