Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Israel...Circling Back?

The last few days have seen some very troubling incidents and they continue to grow. Here are a few of them:
  • A Palestinian woman, supposedly seeking humanitarian aid, threw acid in the face of a soldier at a checkpoint.
  • A Palestinian man stabbed a soldier and stole his gun. He was arrested; his accomplice has not (yet) been caught.
  • Rocks were thrown at a car on Highway #6. Three people injured.
  • Three yeshiva students were wounded by Arabs throwing rocks on in Jerusalem's Old City.
  • Two Israelis were wounded on Tuesday afternoon in a rock attack in Samaria.
  • Arabs threw a firebomb at an Israeli car on Monday night.
  • A kassem rocket was fired into Sderot (no injuries).
  • A nine year old boy was stabbed 9 times by a Palestinian who fled to a nearby village.
  • Warnings from Sinai of an imminent attack on Israelis (which most will likely ignore again).

The list goes on, as does the frustration of knowing that we might be spiraling again into more violence. No, it isn't a "cycle" of violence because that would imply two sides participating in the attacks. It is most definitely political and planned. It is no coincidence that this increase in violence comes along with increased demands, more rhetoric and terror alerts.

But there is humor, even in such dire and serious events. The humor came as I was driving home from Elie's base the other day. The radio announcer was talking to an Arab merchant in Sinai, asking him whether Israelis were listening to the warnings. He announced that some 30-40% of their income comes from visiting Israelis and that the Egyptians are not pleased that Israel is warning our citizens not to go to Sinai. Of course, there have been at least two deadly attacks in the past, that came on the wake of such warnings, but that is neither here nor there to the many merchants who are gleefully looking forward to our upcoming holiday season and the many tourists they hope will arrive.

So, the radio announcer asked Musa what he thought of the warnings.

"Walla, there are a lot of Israelis here," Musa said on the radio.

When asked about the threat of terrorism, Musa answered, "Walla, I don't see any terrorists."

No, Musa, who works in a tourist environment that stands to lose up to 40% of their income should Israelis decide to believe one of the world's most accurate intelligence sources, didn't see any terrorists.

Now there's the one to ask.

And a final note, since this is, after all, a blog about soldiers and such. The government official who was asked about the warning explained very clearly. We can all hope that the warnings are wrong or that simply by publicizing our awareness of the threat, we can deter the terrorist organizations from going through with their plans, but if they do, suggested the government official, who will be expected to go in to Sinai and rescue our civilians?

Despite clear warnings, should anything happen (God forbid), it will be up to our security forces evacuate, protect and deal with the threat.

Musa doesn't see any terrorists - let's hope we Israelis are just as lucky!

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