Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rockets from Gaza

Imagine that you lived in Nogales, Arizona, or El Paso, Texas, or Chula Vista or Imperial Beach, California, and every week several missiles resembling the ones pictured here were launched from across the border with Mexico and landed on your apartment building, or on the grounds of your children's school. Imagine that the government of Mexico allowed terrorist groups to operate openly along its border with the United States, and refused to disarm or subdue the terrorist gangs. Imagine that some of the terrorist gangs were actually militias answerable to prominent Mexican government officials. Would our government permit such a situation to continue? How long would it be before United States armed forces entered Mexico, attacking those terrorist groups by land and from the air?

That is exactly the situation in the Negev region in the south of Israel, adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Four Kassam missiles, such as the expended ones pictured above, fell on the town of Sderot on Wednesday morning. (It is already Wednesday morning in Israel as I write this on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.) Miraculously, the only injuries were to bystanders who suffered from shock at the near misses. One missile even landed on gas cannisters, which in Israel provide natural gas to apartment buildings--they did not explode, or serious injuries and loss of life would have surely occurred. Another missile damaged buildings on a kibbutz. On Sunday, a Kassam struck an Israeli army base in the Negev, but failed to explode. The week before, a Kassam hit a schoolyard. (That is the missile in the photo on the right.) In addition to these missile barrages, Palestinian terrorist gangs operating from Gaza continually launch smaller Katyusha rockets into Israel. An account of the recent attacks appears here in Wednesday morning's Jerusalem Post.

This is the part of the price of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. Prior to that withdrawal, the Palestinians were unable to smuggle large Kassam rockets across the Israeli patrolled border. There were Katyusha attacks and motar barrages to be sure, but they were aimed at Israeli army posts inside Gaza and at the settlements there. The settlers in Gaza bravely accepted such attacks as part of their routine, as the price they were paying to settle part of the Land of Israel.

Keep in mind that all of the present Palestinian attacks are aimed at towns and targets within the 1967 boundaries of Israel. They are not launched at "the occupiers." Gaza is entirely free of Israeli occupation--its residents now suffer only from occupation by their own armed competing criminal gangs (which our press calls "militias"). Gaza is run by war lords.

If Prime Minister Olmert proceeds with his plan for a unilateral withdrawal from portions of Yehuda and Shomron (the so-called "West Bank"), the daily barrages of Kassams and Katyushas will become part of the routine in Israel's narrow, densely populated coastal strip, not just the sparely populated Negev region.


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