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.
 

Kibbutz Nir-Am, Israel
February 27, 2008
"A black day."

rocket strike in playground
This is being written late afternoon on Wednesday, February 27, 2008. So far 22 rockets have been launched from Gaza toward Sderot and other communities along the border. Tragically, a student at Sapir College has been killed. Two rockets have landed on Kibbutz Nir-Am, where I am staying, one in a playground (above), and another near the livestock area of the kibbutz. There have been no reported injuries, but there were a lot of panicked parents. There was a child care area within fifty feet of the rocket strike. Shrapnel and the explosion blew out windows all around the area. "It is a black day," says an older gentleman as he sweeps up glass at the local store.

father and son
A father protects his son as they hide behind a wall waiting for a rocket to fall.
This is between when the rocket struck the farming area and the rocket landed on the playground.
When the "color red" alarm is heard, people get behind walls, trees, anything solid.

kassam strike near horses
The kassam that fell here exploded but could not be immediately found.
Searchers were still looking when the second rocket hit (photo above.)

bomb squad
The bomb squad digs out the remains of the kassam that hit in the playground.

As I write this at 5:44 p.m. Israeli time another alarm is given, and another rocket hits nearby. This day is not over yet.
Updated at 7:15 p.m. - Over 40 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza.



Roni Yehieh, 47, a father of four, has died at Sapir Academic College, their first loss in four years of being bombarded by rockets. It is a tragic loss for his family and for the country. But the students at Sapir have remained strong, and have shown their determination today. David Barnan, the head of the Sapir College students' association, told the Jerusalem Post, "This is our country. We will stay alive, we continue our studies, we will continue to do all the things we need to do, and speaking for myself, I can say we're not afraid of anyone."

I've found this attitude expressed by many people. Some have almost a "so what" approach to a rain of rockets. It has been eight years of almost constant attacks from Gaza.

It is now nine o'clock on the evening of February 27, and another rocket has just exploded nearby. Residents have become good at judging how far away the rocket landed by the sound of the explosion. I've been here only two weeks but already I can tell what has hit in farmland and what has landed on the kibbutz. Two have hit today close enough to shake the building I'm in. A routine develops as people rush out and look around, trying to determine where the rocket fell. Soon there is a rush in one direction, and everyone converges on what is just a hole in the ground, and then the army and police show up and make everyone get back.

There is something insane about this from an American perspective. I keep asking what would happen if a town in Mexico or Canada started firing rockets at a neighboring town

 

just a few miles across the border. We would pulverize them. The Mexican or Canadian town would just disappear into a pile of rubble and dust.

I ask an Israeli about this. "You can do that," he says. "You and the Russians would do that, because you are strong and a world power. We are a small country." And he leaves it at that.

But what would happen if Israel reacted by leveling major sections of Beit Hanun? World condemnation? They get that already. More sympathy for the Gazans? The world press already seems to love the Hamas-staged photo opportunities featuring children. Hamas has mastered the use of children for promoting their purposes.

No one has the answers to this low-level war that has been going on for years. But I am convinced of one thing: Hamas has it wrong. They will not make Sderot a "ghost town," as they have proclaimed. Instead they are creating a generation of tough and resilient Israelis who can deal with anything.

"I've never known anything but the bombing," says a young girl. "But I'm not leaving. This is my home."

I wish the guy in the next apartment would quit slamming his door. It sounds like a rocket landing about 800 yards away. Or maybe closer.

Kibbutz Nir-Am, February 27, 2008