From Sderot: Cease-Fire? Rockets And A Plumber Named Joe

Cross posted from Monkey in the Middle by Findalis

Every day for 8 years rockets have fallen in the Western Negev. The primary focus of these rockets has been the city of Sderot. Sderot is less than a mile from Gaza, and Hamas has made it a focus of its attacks in an effort to drive the citizens out of it and annex it into Gaza. Founded in 1951, Sderot attracted settlers from all walks of Israeli culture. Before 1990, Sderot was noted for cultural achievements. It was the center for underground music and is best noted as the birth place of Israeli poet Shimon Adaf.

Here now is the news from Sderot:

Cease-fire or Please-fire?
By Rob Cohen

As the conflict in Gaza entered its 19th day (or 8 years and 19 days depending on your perspective), the world increases its pressure for cease-fire talks to stop being talks and become reality.

According to reports Hamas are getting closer to sitting down at the table and have provided Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, with detailed proposals of their demands. In turn the Egyptians, appear to not be entirely comfortable with all elements of the plan, according to, saying that, “We will tell the Israelis what we have obtained from our brothers Hamas,” “There are Hamas positions that we will discuss with the Israelis in the context of all the elements of [Egyptian] President [Hosni] Mubarak’s initiative. We hope that things will move forwards but we will not enter into details.”

Talk has emerged of a week long humanitarian cease fire but it isn’t clear where this idea originated. Reports in the Jerusalem Post suggest a clear rift between Israeli PM, Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni. With Barak seemingly floating the idea of a longer ceasefire through less than official lines. It is becoming apparent that the forthcoming elections are encroaching into the way the conflict may be managed by Israel’s leaders, and a cease-fire may be being viewed as a please-fire, with votes up for grabs.

Pensioners Minister, Rafi Eitan, had foreseen the possibility of the politicisation of the conflict from the outset and called for a postponement of the elections until after the conflict had ended. Thus far those calls have been ignored.

“The people of Israel must be given an opportunity to vote for their new leaders with clear heads, it is impossible to make rational judgements while the country is being hit with missiles and while its sons and daughters are involved in defending its citizens from attack” Said Noam Bedein, Director of the Sderot Media Centre.

Read more here.

A cease-fire will just embolden Hamas and give it a chance to regroup, rearm and attack. Any cease-fire must come with the release of Gilad Schalit and a total cessation of all rocket fire. Without that, a cease-fire only benefits Hamas and Israelis will have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Qassam causes heavy damage to Sderot home
By Anav Silverman

Rocket attacks continued against Israel on Thursday, as an Egyptian brokered ceasefire was being discussed in Cairo. Palestinian terrorists fired over 25 rockets from the Gaza Strip throughout Thursday morning. Six Israelis were severely wounded in Be’er Sheva, including a woman and a seven-year old boy, when Palestinian terrorists fired two Grad rockets which exploded in the city. One rocket directly hit a car.

Most of the Palestinian rockets fired on Thursday were launched in the early morning between 7-8 am.
A Grad rocket landed in Gedera, causing no casualties or damages. Earlier in the morning, a Qassam rocket slammed into a house in Sderot, causing heavy damage to the home and to the cars parked nearby.

The occupants of the house, an elderly couple who have lived in Sderot for eight years, raced to their bomb shelter as soon as they heard the Tzeva Adom (Code Red), the siren warning of rocket attacks coming from Gaza. The husband saw a shower of glass exploding everywhere from where he stood in the bomb shelter and understood that the rocket had hit their home.

Read more and view the video here.

The rockets haven’t stopped. Their range is getting larger each week. Pretty soon Tel Aviv, and Dimona will come under rocket attack. And the world still says nothing. Their silence is deafening.

But not the silence of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber. He is in Sderot coving Operation Cast Lead. His words are the words of the average American. He hasn’t been bought by Saudi Oil Money, nor has any friends in the PLO or Hamas. He speaks for Middle America, with common sense and wisdom.

Worse than a Stinking Drain: Joe the Plumber Wants Average Joes to Know the Truth
By Rob Cohen

Many people come to the Sderot Media Centre to be given a first hand insight into the impact of the 8 years of “rocket reality” in the Western Negev; journalists, film-makers, diplomats, politicians, presidents and prime ministers. However, this week, in a slight departure from the usual visitor, the “Joe the Plumber” straight-talking club hit town harder than a Qassam! Joe visited Sderot with the Government Press Office director, Danny Seaman.

Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, hit the headlines during the US presidential election for giving it straight to Barak Obama on his tax policies. Now it seems he has a new role of reporting on the world’s affairs for the world’s “Average Joes” – people who want it said straight “I want the average American Joes to understand the story here from the point of view of someone like them,” he said.

And Joe is angry! Having had a tour of Sderot by Noam Bedein, Director of the Sderot Media Centre, seeing some of the surrounding areas and having spoken to some of the residents of the area, he is very angry. He is angry at what has been happening here for the past eight years, he is angry at what innocent citizens have had to endure, he is angry at the way the world condemns the actions of a democratic state in defending its citizens, he is angry at the Israeli Government for waiting so long before taking action and he is angry with the way the media has covered the story.

So angry that when he got his opportunity, surrounded by the world’s press on a hill overlooking Gaza, he took the opportunity to remind them that the reporting needs to properly reflect the situation here, that this isn’t just a story about the problems the Palestinians in Gaza face. This is a story, about more than 1 million Israelis, trying to go about their daily peaceful existence under constant fear of rocket attack. “I know if I were a citizen here, I’d be damned upset.” He commented. “I’m a peace loving man, but when someone hits me, I’m going to unload on the boy. And if the rest of the world doesn’t understand that, then I’m sorry.

Read more and watch the video here.

Joe has experienced a rocket attack. He has seen the suffering. He has witnessed the horror first hand. And we all should be to.

Like always I ask my readers if they can spare a few dollars to send to Israel. To the Sderot Media Center. It is more than a clearing house for information and news. It has become a center of help in Sderot. Your donation helps rebuild shattered homes and lives. If you wish to give, just click on the logo below. And remember to keep the people of Sderot, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and the South of Israel in your prayers.