Stories From The Gaza War You May Have Missed 4
(January 13, 2009)
Israeli School Children Traumatized by Rockets
On January 12, 2009, students in southern Israeli towns were allowed back to school for the first time since the operation began but under strict guidelines that required classes to be held in protected buildings and shelters.
Shlomit Amichai, director-general of the Ministry of Education, told a press conference last week: “It's a matter of national importance; we must return the children to their regular routine despite the fact that the current situation is not routine.”
Natan, a 17-year-old high school student from Ashkelon is still scared. “We’ve had eight schools and kindergartens (in Ashkelon, Beer Sheba and Ashdod) hit directly by mortars while they stood empty. I’m not ashamed to say I’m terrified.”
Sderot has experienced eight years of rocket attacks from Gaza. According to a January 2008 report by the Israel Trauma Centre for Victims of Terror and War (Natal), at least 75 percent of children aged 4-18 in Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress, including sleeping disorders and severe anxiety.
— UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Life Under Rocket Fire
A Chabad elementary school was peppered with shrapnel from a rocket attack. An employee at the school said it was a miracle that no one was hurt. “The rocket landed in the exact spot the buses unload the students for school. If there had been class today, the rocket would have hit at the same time the buses would have been there. It would have been a disaster.”
— Jerusalem Post, (January 12, 2009)
“Egypt is not willing even to open its borders to wounded people from amongst the civilians. Israel does this. Do you know that several of the wounded are in Barzillai hospital in Ashkelon that is under constant missile attack? And in Soroka hospital in Be'er Sheva? And at least one in Hadassah hospital?”
— Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor at the University of Colorado Naomi Gale, (January 12, 2009)
“People in Ashkelon have 20 seconds to find shelter from the rockets, lucky new homes have bombs shelters.But what can you do if you find yourself in the middle of the street?
The distance from my house to the bus station is five minutes. Last week, a minute after I got off the bus the alarm sounded, I ducked near a parked car until the sound of the rocket explosion was over. Two minutes after that another alarm sounded, this time I ran for shelter under a building, other people stopped their cars and left them with a running engine to run for shelter.
One evening my baby niece was in the tub playing with her rubber ducky, and the alarm sounded. We barely had 20 seconds to run for shelter. I instantly leaned over to cover my niece with my body to protect her in case that rocket hit the house.
My 85-year old grandmother also lives in Ashqelon and is confined to a wheelchair. For her, 20 seconds are not enough time to find shelter. My brother and I had to move her bed into the shelter room to make sure she was safe at all times.”
— Tzvi Raviv, Jewish Agency for Israel Shaliach and Israel Program Coordinator at Hillel Foundation of Orange County
Aid Comes In, Hamas Steals It
Hamas is confiscating food donations sent into Gaza. Reports point in particular to the confiscation of flour and its sale, often at outrageous prices.
On Sunday, in a Hamas Internet forum, surfers complained about the confiscations of flour donations in Dir-al-Balech by Hamas. There is also a description of how Hamas transfers the donations to its own warehouses and distributes them to only two bakeries - Albana Bakery and Al-Tzalah Union Bakery - both belonging to Hamas.
— Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
Another Hamas War Crime
The Israeli Arab weekly newspaper Kul Al-Arab called Gaza Strip residents to find out what they were experiencing. Khaled, from A-Rimal, said: “We the children, in small groups and in civilian clothes, are fulfilling missions of support for the [Hamas] Resistance fighters, by transmitting messages about the movements of the enemy forces, or by bringing them ammunition and food. We ourselves are not aware of the movements of the Resistance fighters. We see them in one place, they suddenly disappear, and then reappear somewhere else. They are like ghosts, it is very hard to find them or hurt them.”
— Kul-Al-Arab, (January 9, 2009) translated by Palestinian Media Watch