‘It is impossible to live like this’: The scene in Israel

November 16, 2012

Rockets from Gaza hit southern Israel on Friday, a day after rocket fire from Palestinian militants killed three Israelis. Meanwhile, the Palestinian death toll rose to 21, including another young child.

Israelis from the Southern town of Ofakem take cover during a missile alert at a concrete protections shelter on Nov. 16, 2012. Israel and Gaza militia groups pounded each other, trading airstrikes and rockets in the second day of an Israeli air offensive in which 19 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed.

An excerpt from Haaretz's overnight live blog captures the extent of the rocket fire and chaos:

1:58 P.M. Alarm sounds in Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon (Yanir Yagna)

1:50 P.M. Three Israelis wounded after rocket explodes in Eshkol Regional Council (Yanir Yagna)

1:47 P.M. Rocket fired toward Tel Aviv explodes in open area; no wounded or damages reported. IDF says projectile did not explode on the ground (Yanir Yagna).

1:30 A.M. Alarm sounds in the Tel Aviv area indicating rocket fire from Gaza;  (Haaretz)

1:28 A.M. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay denounces Israel's aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip as well as rockets fired by Hamas militants into southern Israel (Reuters)

1:25 A.M. Iron Dome battery intercepts 4 rockets over Ashklelon; one rocket explodes in open area (Yanir Yagna)

1:23 A.M. Red alert sirens sound in Be’er Sheva and the Ofaqim area (Haaretz)

1:15 A.M. Red Alert sirens, indicating rocket fire from Gaza, sound across Israel’s south (Haaretz)

1:05 A.M. Gaza rocket hits chicken coop in the Eshkol Regional Council; red alert sirens sound in the Gaza envelope communities near border (Yanir Yagna)

The Israeli military also said it hit about 150 rocket-launching sites in Gaza overnight. One strike demolished a Hamas interior ministry building.

In an e-mail posted by Bloomberg's Jake Beckman, a Tel Aviv resident writes how shocked residents of the city were to hear the first air raid alarm in more than 20 years, but adds that the situation in southern Israel is far worse:

We, the Tel Aviv spoiled people, got shocked as 1 alarm played the music. The southern part of Israel is getting hundreds (!!!) of rockets and alarms in the last 2 weeks… and we were quiet… lived as usual …

What I want to say is you can’t understand the fear until you get it yourself… People live there in the south of Israel as they live in a battle field … it’s 2012 and people live in Israel as if it’s a 3rd world war country…

I am looking at myself running as a mouse in a cage to the shelter as the alarm started, calling the family to make sure everybody is ok, and its crazy!

And this is nothing compare to what happening 30 km south from Tel Aviv…

 

A man named Ian from Negev, southern Israel tells the BBC that the bombardment by Hamas rockets has been going on for months:
 

"Although the western world has only noticed the escalation of the conflict in the last two days, we have been hit by Hamas rockets on a day-to-day basis throughout October and November. This continued up until the recent escalation, following the assassination of Jabari. It is impossible to live like this in the shelters every day."

The Israeli Army twitter account posted what it said was an image of a rocket hitting an Israeli family's back yard:

 A few moments ago, Twitter users in Jerusalem also reported hearing air-raid sirens and what one described as "a muffled boom."  The Israeli military later confirmed that a missile had landed somewhere outside the ancient Jewish capital

 Meanwhile, Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told CNN that ground troops may move into Gaza within a day or two.

“We are kind of reluctant warriors. We don’t want to get into Gaza if we don’t have to. But if they keep firing at us… a ground operation is still in the cards…. We have very simple, specific goals," he said. “If we will see in the next 24 to 36 hours more rockets launched at us, I think that would be the trigger.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also showed no sign of backing down:

 

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Olga Khazan | November 15, 2012