A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 22, 2008 Israelis Identify with Sderot
Today 10,000 Israelis from all parts of the country went to do their Shabbat purchases in Sderot to show their solidarity with the people of the city. The air force kept planes overhead at all times to lower the chances a successful Qassam launch. The Israeli government keeps changing its mind about whether or not it will be able to reinforce the homes in Sderot. At first they seemed to be waiting for the anti missile defense to become activated. Yesterday, Ha'aretz reported that unfortunately the range to Sderot was too short and the weapon would not be effective.
Unfortunately, we are living today with a policy of the 1950ís that built towns such as Sderot, Ma'alot, Shlomi and Kiryat Shmeona, on boarders. Residents of Sderot are the unwitting victims of an ongoing war that Israel cannot afford to lose against to Hamas.
Israel is facing two equally poor choices and has clearly picked a third path. The first choice is to occupy Gaza again. The army continues to be against this path not only because it is (in lives), but because no one has come up with a suggestion of how to get out. The second most discussed option is talking to Hamas, but all that does is put off a confrontation until the future when they will be better armed and prepared. The third option that Israel seems to have picked is to keep up the military pressure on Hamas. Israel has been increasing pressure that at times includes plans to eliminate Hamas' political leadership. It is not clear that it will work, but it seems the best of the worse choices. Unfortunately for the people of the Sderot, there will be no respite.
Minister of Defense Barak will be briefing the cabinet on the new plan to seal the border with Egypt. That has become necessary due to the open border that has developed between Egypt and Gaza. There is probably another pressing reason for it: in the last year 11,000 Africans have crossed the border, 700 of them from Darfur. Without rehashing American immigration arguments, whether Israel needs guest workers or not, it certainly does not need those who arrive illegally and without any control.
There was a simultaneously funny and sad piece on the Weekend edition of Israeli news Channel 10. The team made up a fictional American Indian tribe named SNOKALMAN and then put together a fictional conference on their plight. You should have seen how many members of the Knesset were ready to attend the conference in NY to discuss their plight.