Israel lost 3 soldiers, had a few wounded, lost 8 civilians to a terror attack with an equal number injured severely enough to need hospitalization. Palestinian rockets now reach Ashkelon regularly, not just Sderot and the Western Negev. The rockets falling on Sderot and Ashkelon also have improved accuracy significantly and continue to land on people, homes, hospitals, day care centers and factories.
There are no simple solutions to the terrorism Israeli civilians face, but it feels as if with Ashkelon – a real city of some size and with some facilities of strategic value – in real rocket range, the situation is going to change soon. Hamas’ rocket strategy was to prevent the Israelis from dropping out of Gaza entirely. The idea was to keep the Israelis involved and “responsible” with respect to this territory. Hamas appears to be on the verge of getting their wish, although I don’t believe there will be a big incursion of significant duration.
None of this matters to the families on both sides who have lost their family members this week. Innocent civilians were killed on both sides, even if how they were killed differs greatly. For those shaking their heads and equating the manner in which the innocent civilians were killed, a little reminder: Israel targets terrorists and fighters and the Palestinians almost always target civilians and civilian teenagers.
Regardless, the loss for both sides is great and greatly saddening. One can only wish that the Palestinians would finally get a leader who truly seeks peace and has the authority to actually negotiate a treaty. It seems to me the Israelis are ready to deal.
Rina Castelnuevo, photographing for the NY Times, as always captures the moment in a special way. Look at the grief and quiet rage on the faces of those who attend the funeral for the boys and young men who were murdered yesterday while they were studying in a library of a school. There’s a hollowness, a frustration and deep, deep rage – perhaps what the terrorists were trying to achieve.