Letters from the Gaza War - 2008-2009

  January 14, 2009 – day 19  
Hi all,

The situation seems to be winding down slowly. All 3 kids are in school today for a short day. Nadav (10th grade) went back yesterday and today they have a day trip to Jerusalem. Eitan is in a bomb shelter and Hela (6th grade) oldest at her school also is in a bomb shelter. They are only short school days as there is no real recess (they are forbidden to go outside) and also it is nerve wracking and exhausting to teach under these conditions and to take responsibility for a group of kids…not your own. Monday Hela went back for the first time and out of the 9 kids who usually travel from Hazor only 4 girls went. 3 parents decided they didn’t want their kids traveling and several are away. As they arrived at the school (still outside in the mini-van) there was an alert siren and a missile fell somewhere in the distant general area. They say they were pretty level-headed and ran to the teachers’ room-the closest building but not missile-proof. Hela has decided that there are too many siren-like sounds in our daily lives. Every time the air conditioner or the fridge turn themselves on we jump. Lots of other sounds too. I taught Monday and Tuesday in bomb shelters in Ashdod and have been home again since. Tuesday after a very quiet day one missile fell in Ashdod hitting the sidewalk beside a row of kindergartens. The closest one just collapsed completely-like a house of cards. What would have happened if there had been kids inside? We have been more lucky than anything else as there have been many direct hits. It is the first time since the law to build safe rooms in every apt. that they are being used and there have been complete houses destroyed with everyone in the safe room unscratched. Jay’s brother Mark has sent us several interesting-blood curdling links from youTube. Despite denials this is a direct quote from a Hamas head a year ago:

“For the Palestinian people death has become an industry at which women…excel…That is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly… in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine . We desire death like you (Israelis) desire life.”

How do we deal with people who have decided that death is the way to do business? Who don’t really care for the well-being of their people? At present there is an internal fight going on with Iranian based Hamas saying-no ceasfire…ever… and the Gaza Hamas saying enough dead it is time to stop. The southern towns have gone back to school as ALL their classrooms are bomb proof or have access to safe rooms. We see on the T.V. that they also have “safe spaces” on the streets at major intersections . A safe space is like an oversized solid cement phone booth where you can hide if there is a siren when you are walking quietly down the street to buy milk or go to school. This week they installed one by the bank in the town right beside us. There was just a break for news on T.V. and 3 rockets were fired from Lebanon on the North. The Hamas may desire death but we are not willing to live like this. What would the U.S. do if some military group in Mexico decided it wanted San Diego back now that it was a booming city and started to shell 15 missiles a day.  For the most part they land in the water or on empty parked cars or in playgrounds or gardens…every so often there is a direct hit. Not really dangerous but making every one scramble for shelter 15 times a day. It is hard to imagine that it would take very long for the U.S. to respond. Of course there is nothing like a good war to make us forget that there is a severe draught with no rain in sight. In Gaza there is none, 20,000 soldiers are not showering and everyone in the southern part of the country showers as fast as possible so as not to get caught in the raw during an alert siren. One positive point for the eco-system.

Bye Tzippi
    to cease fire