I won't repeat much of the war news that's on the site. I'll leave that to the news, though I doubt much of what they say is accurate. Things are moving very quickly, there's a lot to cover, they don't have full access, and most important, the pictures that grab are the ones of buildings being hit, not women and children huddled scared but relatively safe in Israel's bomb shelters and stairwells.
What gets lost, but what is so critical to remember, is the timeline here. Gaza fired on Israel, has been firing for many months and years. They chose the timing of this action, not Israel. To expect any nation to sit quietly while hundreds of thousands of people come under fire is arrogant and naive, and the Palestinian leadership showed both these sins and many others in the last few weeks.
Gaza sent hundreds of missiles at our cities, our schools. Last week, the air force began to fight back. Earlier today, artillery joined the fight, and then tonight, many ground units, the navy, the engineering division and more moved in.
It's 2:30 a.m. - I just got off the phone with Elie. I'd left him a voice message, but not spoken to him since Thursday evening when he told me he was in the war zone. He sent me a message telling me everything was fine.
I quickly typed a message - "I love you. Be careful and call me when you can. Any time." A minute late the phone rang. He's exhausted and off duty for the next few hours. Since afternoon, they have been firing. I asked him what he was firing at - dumb question and of course he couldn't answer. I'm still new at this. I forgot to ask if he's warm, if he's eaten. More dumb questions - of course he's eaten and he's mostly inside the armored personnel carrier, so he's probably warm too. Since Friday, probably not wanting any of the soldiers to give away any plans, all their cellphones were collected and not used. By now, the Arabs know our plans - they can see and hear them, so the phones were returned. While we were talking, I heard some booms in the background.
"That's not us. You'll know when it's us," he said.
"How will you sleep with this?" I asked as yet more booms sounded, some louder still.
"Ima, I'm exhausted. I'll sleep." And strangely enough, two things became clear to me. He will sleep, and so will I.
I'll write more tomorrow, but for now, I only ask you to continue praying for the sons of Israel. What they do, they do because Gaza gave them no choice. They say they don't have food in Gaza - it's a lie. Israel has been sending truckloads and truckloads of food and medicine into Gaza - all along, and even in the last week. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
They say we hit several mosques, places of worship. That too is a lie and our answer is very simple, as I wrote on Friday: A House of God is not an arsenal, and an arsenal is not a House of God. The minute you use a mosque to house explosives and terrorists, it becomes a legitimate target. This is true of your home as well. So, if you are going to store explosives and rockets in your home, the army of Israel kindly requests you not to store your wives and children there too.
For now, psychologically, Elie is exhausted...but fine. He's proud of the work they are doing and believes they will succeed. For the next few hours, someone else is in charge and Elie will sleep. He's safe inside the armored personnel carrier. May God watch over him, and all our boys this night and every night (and day) until they can come back home safely to their mothers.
Good night, my son. Sleep well.