Saturday, March 17, 2012


Last weekend the IDF targeted a terrorist in Gaza, the head of the Palestinian Resistance Committee, while he was planning another attack on Israel.  After the killing came the Palestinian response, a barrage of rockets on the citizens of southern Israel.  The IDF didn't sit back and watch it's citizens living in fear, they attacked back, targeting a total of something like 20 terrorists in the Gaza Strip.  In response over 300 rockets were fired into Israel over 3-4 days.  There was a ceasefire later in the week but rockets continue to fall, thankfully at a much lower rate.  The Israeli Air Force has also struck back after the ceasefire I'm not sure how many times, I think two or three.  That being said, and even though it doesn't make sense, there is still a "ceasefire" so that's at least better than the situation last weekend.

Because of my job I got to be pretty much in the middle of it.  Of course I only really had to deal with things that were relevant to relations with Egypt which came about every so often over the week, including the fact that they brokered the ceasefire, woo-hoo!  I got to know a lot more information though, because of my location, which was awesome and made me feel kind of important.  It's neat to know about things before anyone else, and to know things that other people can't know, and then to see what gets published in the news and what the public finds out about what's going on.  The not as cool part would have to be hearing rockets falling all day and night for a week.  Now a little bit about that...and I apologize in advance if it is a bit order-less, since I'm still processing the whole week in my head and it is still order-less to me...

Backing up a bit...there were 24 hours between the time when we received information regarding a very probable terror attack that was about to happen and when we received information that the IDF was going to try and stop the attack before it could take place.  Those 24 hours, and especially the few hours between when we found out the IDF's plans and when they took place, had a very eerie calm-before-the-storm feel.  It's hard to explain but we were just slowly getting ready, preparing for repercussions that we knew would come after the IDF took the initiative to defend Israel.  We received many talks from our commander about what to do in case of an emergency or a "code red" siren, who would take over what jobs in the ops room, taking down the helmets and vests that we might have to wear, etc.  We were sitting and waiting (not really, we were busy but in a weird, calm, way) for the inevitable attacks to come. 

Thankfully we only had "code red" sirens twice, telling us that a rocket was headed for our location.  Both times they landed a few hundreds meters in either direction and thankfully not on us.  A code red siren means we have 15 seconds to get to shelter before the rocket falls.  The first code red was when I was sleeping, stupidly without pants on.  It was very confusing waking up to the alert, which isn't very loud, waking up the other girl in my room and then putting on my pants while running to the shelter.  From now on I will always sleep with pants on, I learned my lesson.  Anyway, I left my base one day to do something with my commander and the roads were completely empty.  It was a beautiful 75 degree sunny day without a cloud in the sky and no one was outside, it was such a creepy feeling.  Everyone in the area was told to remain within 15 seconds of a shelter at all times because of the heavy rocket fire.  

During the course of the weekend we laughed and joked a lot, played around with our vests and helmets, danced, sang, and had a very typical Shabbat on base.  The booms heard in the distance were a constant reminder of the situation, but even being so close to the action didn't bring our spirits down.  I think you have to do this in order not to go crazy.  Now I have never been in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Sderot, or any of the other places that are barraged with either bigger, more powerful rockets or smaller rockets at a rate of way-too-many per hour, so I cannot say I would act the same in that situation.  Something tells me, though, that when you're faced with a situation like that you have to try your hardest to keep your mind off of it in order to remain in any way sane.  That's exactly what we did, and it worked perfectly.  Now that I've been home for a few days and have been taken out of the situation I have been thinking about what's behind the rocket firing, and how angry it makes me that the situation is the way it is here.  I'm not going to get into anything because I don't have the energy but damnit why can't people just live together without trying to kill each other, UGH! Is that really so much to ask...

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