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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An Unspeakable Choice

I was listening to the radio in the car on the way to work and stumbled on a talk show featuring people from Sderot (the southern Israeli city which has been under almost constant missile attack since the end of dissengagement). 

The format of the show was pretty straight forward: People from Sderot were calling in and being interviewed about how their lives had changed since the Qassams had started falling.

My sympathies have always been firmly with these Sderot residents.  It was pretty clear to anyone with half a brain and a map that once disengagement was completed, Sderot would come under daily bombardment.  It was also equally clear that the government wasn't going to do much more than posture thanks to the socio-economic make-up of the city's population.

Yes, you understood me correctly.   It has been clear for some time that the Israeli government places a higher value on the lives of Tel Aviv residents than it does on the lives of those who live in less, um, shall we say cosmopolitan communities around the country.

You can go ahead and argue this point 'til you're blue in the face.  But before you do, can you honestly tell me with a straight face that the IDF would still be sitting on its hands if hundreds of missiles had already fallen on Dizengoff or Azrieli? 

Gee, it suddenly got quiet in here!

Yes, our government seems to have an extremely high threshold for pain... other people's pain, that is... which is why I found this radio talk show at once moving and infuriating.  One after another I heard the angry callers yelling about their feelings of abandonment and isolation. 

As a religious setter I have some idea where they're coming from.

As I was pulling into my office parking lot a woman came on the line and was asked by the interviewer how her life had changed since the Qassams had started falling.

I was ready to turn off the car, but something stopped me.  Perhaps it was the tired sigh that escaped her lips while she was formulating her answer.  Maybe it was the complete lack of expected anger in her voice that caught my attention.  But whatever the reason, I sat there with the engine running, waiting to hear what she had to say.

After a moment she said something that didn't seem to make any sense.  She said that the hardest part for her was deciding where her children would sleep.

The interviewer also seemed confused by her response and asked her to explain what she meant.

As she began speaking, you could tell from her tone that she felt she was explaining something that should have been fairly obvious... as though she was telling a child why the sun came up in the morning. 

She patiently explained that there wasn't enough room in their 'armored room' * for her entire family.  It went without saying, she continued, that she and her husband slept outside the armored room.   But they (thank G-d) have a big family, and each evening she struggled with the terrible decision of which children would sleep unprotected in their bedrooms... and whether to spread them out around the house or put all of her 'precious eggs' in one basket.

Like a kick in the gut, it suddenly dawned on me that this poor woman is forced to play a daily shell game with her precious children, knowing that if (G-d forbid) one of the dozens of missiles fired each day lands on her house, she will have to live the rest of her life with the consequences of her unspeakable choice.

I can only hope that someone in the government was also listening to the radio on the way to work.

*  By law, all Israeli homes must be constructed with a concrete and steel reinforced room where the family can take refuge in an emergency.  These rooms tend to be rather small and are meant for brief occupancy... not to provide sleeping accommodations for an entire family.  Ours doubles as a library/storage room.


Posted by David Bogner on June 20, 2006 | Permalink


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Nobel Prizewinner Shimon Peres' quote of the day is the cherry on top:

"I don't understand what the hysteria is about. Kiryat Shmona was shelled for years."

Excellent, excellent, yet awfully depressing post.

Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Jun 20, 2006 2:43:27 PM

Excellent post.
The governments Impotence at this daily missile barrage is appalling. It’s a sad, sad state that 60 years after the Shoah and the creation of the state, Jewish children still run in terror as missals fall on their school and Jewish mothers fear for there children’s lives as they tuck them into bed. All this and with no response from the Jewish state.
Many of those who supported the disengagement claimed that if we get attacked from Gaza we will be able to hit back full force. Well, where is the response. The only sharp reprimand I see is that of Peres to the people of Sderot. (Please see Jameel above)
It’s truly heartbreaking to see the fear and frustration of the people of Sderot and governments total lack of compassion.

Posted by: David | Jun 20, 2006 3:02:57 PM

It makes me wish that we could move the Knesset to Sderot for a month -- and make the MKs sleep there, too.

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 20, 2006 3:06:17 PM

Rahel: And move the MK's families their as well.

Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Jun 20, 2006 3:12:44 PM

I'm depressed. Thank you for writing about this.

Posted by: Alice | Jun 20, 2006 3:35:37 PM

That poor woman and her family! I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to have to make that decision every night.

Peres is an a@@hole. I can only hope that the radio program was listened to by many in Israel.

What happened to the Isralei government? Are the days of Entebbe and the Magic Carpet gone?

Posted by: seawitch | Jun 20, 2006 3:44:19 PM

Once again, the old Talmudic saying is confirmed: He who is compassionate to the cruel will, in time, become cruel to the compassionate. (That means you, Peres.) What a horrible story!

Posted by: Psachya | Jun 20, 2006 4:07:40 PM

If my grandpa were still alive and I described to him what happens in Modern-day Israel, he wouldn't believe a single word... he always had this notion of the Jewish State as being perfect, but little did he know that even King David once had a heart so cruel that he put one of his own soldiers in the battle front so as to covet a married woman...

Posted by: pk | Jun 20, 2006 4:39:51 PM

Heartbreaking! Is it blasphemous to tell the woman to move away? This sort of thing is terribly unhealthy, even if it's for a good cause.

Posted by: I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. | Jun 20, 2006 4:42:00 PM

seawitch ... patience, my friend. The likes of Peres have lived in the glory of Entebbe and the Magic Carpet and they seem to have misplaced alot of their priorities, the youth (future leaders) have lived in the shame of the disengagement and constant attacks, hopefully they shall set the priorities back to order.

Posted by: pk | Jun 20, 2006 4:52:26 PM

OMG that was a chilling answer. I thought immediately of my Mother's Holocaust experience. She was hid in a chicken coop by a righteous Polish woman. When the SS stormed the place, they had to decide who would get shoved into the sub-bunker, and who would be left exposed for the Germans to take.

Her sister was left out, and was murdered in Auschwitz at the age of 4.

My God. What are we talking about here?

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jun 20, 2006 5:05:09 PM

Wow, I'm stunned, but unfortunately not surprised. It reminds me of Sophie's Choice.

Posted by: Cruisin-mom | Jun 20, 2006 5:07:30 PM

Jameel... Shimon Peres was waiting at the bottom of the stairs when I walked off the airplane back in 2003. I shook his extended hand (and the hand of the man standing next to him; Ehud Olmert). It's enough to send one on an OCD-like hand-washing jag.

David... You're a doctor so you should know better. Impotence suggests the inability to act. What we're seeing here is a conscious decision not to act. I dont know the medical term for that, but barring an insanity defense it smells a lot like capitulation. Sorry to paint such a dark picture for a potential oleh.

Rahel... Unfortunately our county's history is blemished with far too many instances of development towns and people who aren't lillywhite Ashkenazim being used as buffers and cannon fodder.

Alice... I wish I didn't have to. For me it feels like kicking my horse to death while we're still in the middle of the desert.

Seawitch... The leaders who had the stones to act decisively are all gone or retired (or at least should be).

Psachya... It would be one thing if we were taken by surprise. But the current government (and those who elected it) who insisted that disengagement would provide us with the ability to deal decisively with our enemies were warned about this and said it would never happen.

PK... Israel is a real country full of human beings. That is something many people (like your grandfather) have trouble understanding. But if we continue to try to appease our enemies I fear it won't be a real country for too much longer.

I'm Haaretz PHD... We're talking about an entire city! Where can they all go? The real estate value (for those who own their homes) is in the basement as a result of the missiles... and even the renters can't afford to start anew elsewhere. And if some way was found to compensate everyone and evacuate Sderot... what then? We leave a huge ghost town as proof to the Palestinians that we will continue to retreat at every provocation.

Pyschotoddler... The difference is that during the holocaust we lacked the means to defend ourselves. What is the IDF for if not to defend the lives of Jews?

Cruisin' Mom... That was my working title for this post. But just before I published it I changed my mind out of fear it would trivialize the situation to invoke a Hollywood movie.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 20, 2006 5:27:05 PM

Trep- Actually a huge number of "impotent" patients have the ability to act but for psychological reasons cannot.

I agree that the difference is that here there seems to be a conscious decision not to act.

Dont be sorry... I will be making aliyah because no matter how crazy / depressing the reality, i want it to be my reality.

Posted by: David | Jun 20, 2006 5:45:32 PM

So sad. So awful.

To the first commenter: The government IS doing something. It shells the Palestinian towns from which they are launching missiles all the time, such that Palestinian civilians live in fear of the Israeli shells as well. You know, the child killed in the car the other day, along with about 7 other civilians? That made the international news? But Sderot doesn't?

I am NOT making a "moral equivalency" argument. Just saying that Israel is NOT just sitting on its hands, as anyone who reads the int'l news knows --- since they pretty much ONLY report what Israel is doing in response, and not what the Palestinians are doing to begin with!!!

And, yes, Shimon Peres is an ass.

To the commenter who suggested moving out of Sderot: Part of what David is alluding to in his post is that the residents of Sderot are generally too poor to have many choices in where they live.

David, I have a theoretical question for you: If the rockets were falling on Dizengoff, what would you WANT the gov't to do about it? I'm having a hard time figuring that out myself. There are not many good choices here. No good choices about where to put your children to sleep in Sderot . . . and no good choices about how to fix that.

Posted by: sarah | Jun 20, 2006 8:08:12 PM

Isn't this another example of the cruel calculus of cost analysis?

(A)What has been the damage from rocket attacks so far, in terms of deaths and damage (and no, I am not saying that even one death is OK)? Sure its easy for me to say since I don't live in Sderot, but we often ask some to bear the burden for all and in the end psychological harm is hard to quantify.

(B) And what would be the cost of what it would take to stop the attacks?

If A>B, then do B. If B>A, then do not do B, even if A>0.

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | Jun 20, 2006 8:38:04 PM

This is absolutely horrible. If, as Sarah says, the government is indeed doing something, that something is clearly not enough. And how will we know when the measures they take are sufficient? When the shelling stops. It's either that, or sending out the message of weakness... the message that only reinforces the motivation to target civilians.

Posted by: Irina | Jun 20, 2006 9:31:16 PM

several issues with the post:
it was excellent and brought home the real issue in s'dorot. even if everyone moved out what of the power plant? the only time the world has ever had any respect for Israel was when it dealt from a position of strengh. kindness is a demonstration of weakness to the gaza community. I think that even according to the geneva convention if human shields are wounded or killed in defense that is not a crime against humanity especially when they actively participate.

Posted by: dave | Jun 20, 2006 10:09:52 PM

From where I sit the writing is on the wall.

Sderot is simply an indicator point for Israel. The terrorists are obviously winning and eventually will wipe Israel off the map.

I guess so many of you keep thinking that eventually the powers that be, whoever runs your country, will wake up and smell the coffee. It looks to me that somewhere close to half your nation are now craven appeasers who have already given up. Their reaction to Amona was a crystaline example. Then after that to go on and elect the obviously corrupt Kadima and the criminal Olmert ... icing on my theoretical cake.

Bit by bit Israel is being destroyed from within as it's citizens capitulate and identify with their torturers. Stockholm syndrome writ large.

I also see all Israel as an indicator point for the world. Evil is on the march world wide and the so called 'good' people are mostly doing nothing.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 20, 2006 10:17:05 PM

I've been thinking about this more . . .

Like I said, Israel has no good choices.

It IS responding, and those responses are obviously not good enough.

But the current response ALREADY kills Palestinian civilians -- more by far than have been killed in Sderot, though this is due more to luck than to lack of the Palestinians' trying.

If Israel were to start doing MORE, then without question, MORE innocent Palestinians would die.

One can say "that wouldn't be OUR fault, why do the terrorists hang out near civilians, etc"

But regardless of whose "fault" it would be, or whether Israel could really be "blamed" for killing more people, the fact remains that it's a choice between the innocent people in Sderot, or the innocent people on the other side. Israel can sacrifice its own civilians, or it can be goaded by the Palestinians into enacting the very genocide for which we are already falsely accused. Whether that would be the terrorists' "fault," the fact remains that the choice currently lies with Israel, not with the terrorists. A terrible choice, but still within OUR power to make.

Since there have not been, thank God, that many deaths in Sderot -- again, due to luck-- I can understand Israel opting not, at this point, to, say, pepper all of northern Gaza with all the power they've got, wiping out hundreds of thousands of people in the process.

Unfortunately, it looks like a case where Israel is choosing -- and may be right to choose -- to do only as much as it is doing until more people in Sderot die.

An unspeakable choice, indeed.

If anyone can think of "the third way," some method for Israel to more effectually stop the rockets without killing more innocent Palestinians than those who are already dying, please post it here. I'm sure everyone, including the Israeli government, would love to hear it.

Posted by: sarah | Jun 20, 2006 10:33:52 PM

Timidity in the face of such evil only encourages it. Israel dares not back down.

Please permit me to add a slightly off-topic point. It seems to me (and I speak as a Goy) that anti-Semitism has always been the truest barometer to measure the extent of the world's evil. I could write a dissertation on why that is, but the short version is: "For three and a half millennia, Israel has been the symbol of moral truth." (True, Israel doesn't measure up to the morality it represents -- just as America has fallen short of the freedom it symbolizes. But regardless, as long as one Jew remains, the promise of God's justice stands.) I've read the end of my Bible -- YOU WIN!

Posted by: Bob | Jun 20, 2006 11:05:41 PM

Good post. That brings it right home.

Posted by: mirty | Jun 21, 2006 12:17:33 AM

Oh, I so wish Shimon Peres could be required to swap houses with that woman and her family....and he be required to bring his extended family to live there with him.

Having said that, I grew up with the legacy of the wartime bombings of London all around me; I very narrowly escaped being becoming one of the victims in my pram, and my grandfather was killed in one of the raids in 1940.

Britain and the US virtually bombed German cities flat, but it did not stop Hitler from continuing to send rockets over to London till the launch sites could be physically overrun, and the cost in soldiers' lives in achieving that was enormous.And those sites were huge and hittable, not like the infinitely moveable launch sites now being used.

The current efforts of the US and allied forces plus Iraqi govt forces in Iraq demonstrate how fantastically difficult it is to eradicate determined terrorist bombers, especially if they have terror supporting states behind them.

So I doubt even carpet bombing Gaza would do the trick.

I think the Israeli army is getting better at targeting the launchers. But of course every error is turned into an atrocity story by the world press.

Thanks for doing your bit to publicise the plight of the people of Sderot through this very moving story.

Posted by: Judy | Jun 21, 2006 12:36:09 AM

One note:

I'm no military expert, but from the rumblings I've seen from the IDF general staff, they *do* believe there is a partial solution to Kassam fire.

The solution is to commence a ground invasion of the northern Gaza Strip... and to say there for good. They'd stay out of the cities/towns (or 'refugee camps', if you must), but occupy much of the northern region from which most of the attacks are mounted. Kinda tough to shoot at Sderot if your launch sites are currently controlled by heavily armed Israeli troops/tanks.

Of course, there are problems: First, there would inevitably be moderate to high levels of civilian collateral damage - first, in the initial assault, and then continuing at lower levels indefinitely. Secondly, this scheme puts Israeli soldiers in a fair amount of danger. Certainly, their job is to put their lives before Israeli citizens, but is the potential cost worth it? Obviously, the Sderot residents would believe so.

The reasons the government is hesitant about authorizing this are probably varied. I think Peretz wants to establish credentials as 'restrained' in his response to attacks (though somehow, at the same time appearing to be a strong leader). Additionally, the entire government might feel foolish about 'reoccupying' parts of the Gaza Strip so soon after disengagement, even if it is only a military presence. It would presumably legitimize the suggestions by many who protested disengagement that it was a military mistake. Lastly, there is the inevitable bogeyman of 'international opinion' that could get in the way.

Long story short? When the pressure gets sufficiently high from domestic sources, Israel will act in a much more decisive manner.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 21, 2006 4:28:50 AM

I agree with Sarah and the President of Kippot Srugot (PKS): Yes, the situation in Sderot is horrible. It is also horrible, in my opinion, that the media has turned the Kassams falling on Sderot into a populist, classist issue. It is not. It is an issue of Realpolitik and geographical location.

What would the government do if Kassams were launched on Tel Aviv and Ramat Hasharon? Location makes this a rhetorical question. But okay, let's say, for the sake of argument, that Tel Aviv was under daily bombardment - as it was during the Gulf War, for example. What do you think the IDF would or should do? Everyone says "do something" but no-one says WHAT should be done. And that is because there is nothing to be done.

Send ground troops into Gaza? And then what? Re-occupy it indefinitely? Be goaded into a military occupation that will drain lives and resources? To what end?

Shimon Peres is not an insensitive man. He is a politician who dislikes populism - and, I think, hypocrisy. So while Peretz may score some cheap points for hugging crying Sderot residents in front of the TV cameras whilst promising vaguely defined help he knows he cannot deliver, Peres is simply honest: the nation didn't weep for the residents of Kiryat Shmona, so why is it weeping for Sderot?

Posted by: Lisa | Jun 21, 2006 6:08:17 AM

David... I never doubted your commitment for a moment. :-)

Sarah... No, you are 100% wrong. Not a little wrong. Not partially wrong... but all the way wrong. The government is wasting expensive artillery shells firing into open/empty fields and lots well after the Qassam crews have packed up and gone home. We have always had the ability to make this stop pretty much overnight, but our government doesn't have the stomach for it. Here's my suggestion:

Treppenwitz's plan for stopping Qassams overnight: Send a public message to the PA and Hamas leadership telling them that starting tomorrow, for every day that a Qassam falls inside Israel, one member of the PA/Hamas Leadership (including the Palestinian Legislative council) will be targeted with one of our much more accurate missiles. I figure we will burn through two, or at the most 3 PA ministers before they figure out we're not bluffing. Make no mistake, these guys absolutely have the ability to make the missiles stop any time they want to. We just haven't given them a compelling enough reason to do so... yet.

President... This actuary approach to terrorism that the Israeli government seems to have adopted is our national Achilles heel. The terrorists in Iraq are exploiting exactly this weakness on the part of the Americans to very good effect. They know the Americans will adhere to western rules of engagement and that the American public is being demoralized by the slow, but steady death of its soldiers. The terrorists are very careful not to kill too many in one fell swoop because it would require a big response. So far both the Iraqi and Palestinian terrorists have been pretty good at keeping the death toll below the response threshold... but high enough to completely sap the public's will to continue the fight. My suggestion is to lower the response threshold to '1'. Old School Israeli style.

Irina... Sarah is wrong. I am very good friends with Sarah and respect her as a person, as a blogger and as a journalist. She has been a frequent guest in my home and my kids love her only slightly more than I do. But in this case she has swallowed the government's lies and has gotten a bad case of amnesia from them. The Govenrment keeps playing the Jedi mind trick on the public via the media... and heck if it isn't working like a charm!

Dave... Unless I'm mistaken the power plant is in Ashqelon... but other than that I agree with your comment.

Scott... I hope you're wrong.

Bab... Thanks for sharing.

Mirty... I wish someone would print out a copy and hand it to Olmert.

Judy... See my response to Sarah for my plan on how to deal with this quickly and easily.

Matlabfreak... A ground invasion would be the equivalent of a police task force going into a bad neighborhood and arresting all the corner drug dealers. It does nothing about the big drug kingpins and does nothing about the supply side economics of the whole drug selling proposition. See my comment to Sarah for my plan.

Lisa... the media hasn't turned it into a class issue... they have simple (for a change) simply reported the facts on the ground. This is a class issue. Peres honestly thinks the country wasn't bothered by the bombardment of Kiryat Shemonah because nobody he knows or works with was particularly bothered by it. It took a party (the Likud) made up of more than just white, old power, Ashkenazim to finally go into Lebanon and make the missiles stop. Please see my response to Sarah for what I think we should do. It won't happen... but a boy can dream.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 21, 2006 9:32:47 AM

Hey, I said from the outset that if I'm wrong, and there is "The Third Way," I'd be happy to hear it.

I'd be fine with Israel implementing your plan. There are some vague moral problems with it, but not nearly as bad as the problem of leaving Sderot open to martyrdom. If it came up for a vote, and barring anything better, I'd gladly cast a ballot for your plan!

Posted by: sarah | Jun 21, 2006 9:56:35 AM

I've been away for a bit on a stateside trip, but started playing blog-catch-up yesterday. I wanted to comment on the parade blog too, but work is demanding a bit of catch-up as well (imagine that!). What a horrible situation for that poor family. I am often struck by a feeling of helplessness when I read these types of stories, but often they are in places in this world where help is literally out of reach. It seems exponentially more tragic when the Israeli government has the ability to help and chooses, for whatever reason, not to. I pray that her family remains safe, and that she remembers she is not to blame for whatever choice she makes. The responsibility should lie with those making that choice necessary.

Posted by: nrg | Jun 21, 2006 10:23:25 AM

Due to the political influence of the the "four mothers" and the like, our politicians are more concerned about using the IDF the way it should be used, than they are about innocent Israeli children being killed. Bottom line - it is easier to get elected (now)if you keep the soldiers from "harm's way" than if you keep civilians protected. After all, how many big shots in the Knesset and the media live in Sderot vs. those who have children in the IDF? In short, we've turned into a country where it is everyone for themselves vs. we are all in it together.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 21, 2006 1:07:01 PM

David - your "solution" is short term.

As is any "solution" that operates within a mindset that forecloses the idea of permanent conquest - including transfer of the Arab population and annexation of territory.

That's what the Palis are trying to do - take back Israel slice by slice.

The election of Hamas indicates that a two-state peace was never really on the Pali's agenda. All the Piece Process has done is give sufficient legitimacy to the Palis to prevent a decisive Israeli victory.

Want a real solution? Let Israel capture - and annex - the northern part of the Strip. Those Israelis overconcerned with the world "liking us" will have to suck their thumbs and hold their security blankies for a week or two - but the violence will either stop immediately, or soon after.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jun 21, 2006 3:00:24 PM

Treppenwitz, I see no "slow and steady" string of deaths like the US is experiencing in Iraq (actual death toll by rocket fire anyone?). This situation isn't demoralizing unless you live in Sderot - or are a Treppenwitz reader :-).

But if we re-sent our chayalim into (G)Aza then we would get what we had before Disengagement: slow and steady death of our soldiers. Now that would be demoralizing.

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | Jun 21, 2006 3:00:47 PM

Sarah...and there is no moral problem with forcing poor people in development towns to choose which of their kids is most important to them... every frikin' night?! A little perspective is all I'm asking.

nrg... You're a mother. Would you feel relieved of responsibility if you were this woman and (G-d forbid) a missile killed the kid you had chosen to sleep outside the armored room? I think not.

Westbank mama... It's worse than that. Listening to Shimon Peres speak it is increasingly clear that it boils down to where the rockets are falling.

Ben David... No it isn't. Mine is an inexpensive open-ended solution that only requires an occasional reminder (a PLC minister turned into a smoking car-swarm) if they allow further attacks. An invasion would open us up to Iraq-style attrition and further demoralize the population.

President. I'm sorry, even the smiley face after your comment doesn't excuse you from the label; Asshole. That you could read my post about the horrible choices people in Sderot have to make EVERY SINGLE NIGHT with their children... and then say : "I see no "slow and steady" string of deaths like the US is experiencing in Iraq (actual death toll by rocket fire anyone?). This situation isn't demoralizing unless you live in Sderot - or are a Treppenwitz reader" is completely beyond the pale. Please don't come back here unless you have your hat in your hand, your dancing shoes on and an unambiguous apology ready for all to hear. If I see the word 'But' anywhere in your next post you're banned for life. Now let's see it. Dance!!!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 21, 2006 3:24:52 PM

"and there is no moral problem with forcing poor people in development towns to choose which of their kids is most important to them... every frikin' night?! A little perspective is all I'm asking."

David, CALM DOWN. I already said "not nearly as bad as the problem of leaving Sderot open to martyrdom."

WE AGREE. Take a deep breath.

Posted by: sarah | Jun 21, 2006 4:07:00 PM

Sarah... Sorry, you got caught in the prop-wash from my anger over 'Presidents' comment. This lady's interview has haunted me since I heard it. Can you tell?

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 21, 2006 4:31:47 PM

President of Kipa... - bottom line - if you had to make a choice between a soldier dying fighting to save other Jews and a child dying in her bed, who do you choose? I have the guts to say I choose the soldier (G-d forbid) and I have three sons. The gutless politicians are choosing the opposite - because of the personal benefit they get from it.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 21, 2006 5:28:17 PM

In theory, your matched assassination plan sounds such a neat and simple solution. My view is that if Israel tried anything like this, the US would pull the plug. It can bring more or less any Israeli policy to a halt by threatening to suspend all arms supplies.

And I think the US would do this in order not to be seen to be supporting a state policy of systematically assassinating politicians. Even if those politicians are either actual or front men for terrorists.

Plus Israel would become a total pariah state. You might think this is already the case. But I think this would lead to sanctions and international isolation on an unprecedented level, with very real economic effects. And previous assassinations of top level Hamasniks have never stopped them before.

Posted by: Judy | Jun 21, 2006 5:34:38 PM

westbankmama, if I was allowed to post, I would answer that I prefer to see the limited death toll of Qassams than the much broader death toll of invading and policing (G)aza (which IMHO is the only way to end the barrage).

It isn't that I don't feel for the Sderot mothers but that I also feel for the mothers of chayalim. I won't try to compare the quality of the life of a child to the quality of life of a soldier, but I can compare quantity and a ground offensive and police action would kill alot more people than Qassams are doing.

But since I didn't have the same emotional response as our host did and I tried to approach the issue logically and tactically, I am not allowed to post.

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | Jun 21, 2006 9:52:18 PM

Matlabfreak... A ground invasion would be the equivalent of a police task force going into a bad neighborhood and arresting all the corner drug dealers. It does nothing about the big drug kingpins and does nothing about the supply side economics of the whole drug selling proposition. See my comment to Sarah for my plan.

I never said 'my' plan would work in the long run; merely that it was what I had seen/read/heard of what the IDF was preparing. Israel has a long history of going for tactical solutions for strategic problems. Heck, in the US's 'war on drugs', they've been doing exactly what you said, to little overall effect.

I am not convinced that your method of controlling Kassam fire would work... but I know it will never be implemented. So why bother discussing it?

And I think that everyone - no matter their political orientation - would agree that the only way to indefinitely stop attacks of this sort is to make it so that the Palestinians honestly don't want to carry them out (and not under threat of return violence, which is Israel's current tactic). I have no clue when or how this will happen, or even if it is possible. But all other solutions are band-aids at best.


Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 21, 2006 11:05:49 PM

Uh... ignore that last post. I'll move it to the next day's discussion, which is more directly related to this.


Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 21, 2006 11:09:23 PM

Lisa - has the Israeli press/TV talk shows follow up with human interest stories in Sderot, like this woman? Would her story move the Israeli Public? If the American Jewish Press wrote about it, would it move us enough to try to weild influence? I don't the answer to that, so perhaps, you as a Journalist with many many connections can share some insight?

David - Does Israel have anything that is similar to Dateline or Primetime on TV?

Posted by: jaime | Jun 22, 2006 4:57:00 AM

no "welcome back", "good to hear from you again"?? :-) Ok, fine. And , I know that I am praying for an impossibility in my previous post. Of course I would feel responsible, think that I could have/should have done more to save my child. Prayers don't always need to be realistic, do they? If so, I've got some serious backtracking to do...

Posted by: nrg | Jun 22, 2006 11:11:23 AM

Westbank mama... Yes, even though I will soon have a child in uniform, I can say without hesitation that that is why we have an army. To allow civilians to continue in harms way just to keep soldiers safe is not rational (unless you think nothing but pandering to the electorate).

Judy... Israel is already a pariah state. I would rather be a pariah than a footnote in the history books.

President. you had your 'do-over'. I offered you the opportunity to apologize. Instead you came back without an apology... and thought you'd further thumb your nose at me by using the only word I told you was forbidden. Bu-bye.

Jaime... Israel Television is full of talk shows. Unfortunately they each have fairly narrow political demographics so lack the ability to sway viewers very far.

nrg... WELCOME BACK! :-) I'm sorry, you really were missed around here. Hope you had a good trip and are all caught up at work.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 22, 2006 1:06:09 PM

Good to be here.... don't think I'll EVER get caught up, so am planning Midsummer's Eve barbecue for tomorrow instead...

Posted by: nrg | Jun 22, 2006 1:21:58 PM

Happy Birthday. Always enjoy your posts.

Posted by: Allan | Jun 23, 2006 8:15:57 PM

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