Sderot: Iran and A Cinemateque

by Findalis

Just 2 separate articles on the occurring violence that is happening in Sderot from Gaza:

by Noam Bedein

While the world follows Iranian developments from the grandstands of YouTube, the people of southern Israel have had front row seats for some time now.

When Iran’s protege, Hamas, staged a coup in Gaza that placed 1.4 million Palestinians under ‘Hamastan’ military rule, no one thought of how southern Israelis would be affected. Located less than one mile away from Sderot, Gaza’s dramatic developments would come to affect everyone in the region.

Before Israel disengaged the Jewish communities from Gaza in August 2005, the Palestinian Authority had promised vast properties of some of these communities to Hamas. Four months later, in January 2006, Hamas won a stunning victory in the Palestinian Authority legislative elections, which resulted in the Mecca Accord of March 2007, which obligated the PA to share all foreign assistance with the Hamas organization.

All this placed Hamas in a strategic position from where it could launch attacks on Israel, even before the Hamas military coup.

Iranian Hamas terror tactics have dominated the lives of the people of Sderot. A town battered by sustained attacks for eight years, Sderot has become the only city to remain under continuous siege in the 21st century.

Sderot woman overlooks her home, damaged in a Qassam attack during the recent Gaza war.
Photo: Noam Bedein

In 2008 alone, the Hamas-controlled Gaza regime fired over 3,300 rockets, mortars and Grads towards the Western Negev and southern Israel, 50 percent more than the previous year.

Five months after Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has fired over 215 rockets during the Hamas-Israel ‘ceasefire.’ Is anyone even keeping track of the number of failed ceasefires that Israel has held with Hamas in the past two years?

For Sderot residents, the knowledge that this has been Israel’s third failed ceasefire with Hamas is not surprising.

In a June 17 appearance at the Knesset, Israel Security Agency director Yuval Diskin warned that “Hamas is continuing to increase its strength, manufacture longer-range rockets and smuggle rockets of a far superior quality,”. In that light,every citizen of southern Israel knows that a massive escalation is around the corner, which will force more than one million Israelis in southern Israel into the seeming safety of protected rooms and bomb shelters.

Shoshana Swissa, a kindergarten teacher in Sderot recently told Sderot Media Center that ”Even today, in these relatively quiet days in Sderot, every single morning we exercise a drill for the 3-year-old children in our kindergarten. The staff teaches them how to run in 15 seconds towards the safe room when the Color Red alert siren sounds. ”

Turning the Gaza Strip into an Iranian military buffer zone

During Israel’s second ‘ceasefire’ with Hamas, between June 2008- December 2008, Hamas did not waste any time building up its military capabilities. Israeli intelligence sources confirm that Hamas dug between 400 and 600 smuggling tunnels that connected Sinai and Gaza in order to “import” guns, missiles, explosives, money,and terrorists, along with oil, fuel, metal, cloths, electronics and even a lion for Gazan’s zoo – earning the Hamas regime between 30-50 million dollars a month from the digging of the tunnels and the goods smuggled through.

The Iranian influence and involvement with the Gaza Strip peaked during the summer of 2008, when hundreds of Iranian missiles were smuggled in, to be fired massively only a few months later at southern Israelis during Israel’s last military operation in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Hamas regime trained tens of thousands of children and woman in Gaza during summer 2008, in anticipation of an Israeli counterattack to the Hamas reign of missiles.

Accepting Iran, accepting Hamas

Hamas today has become more acceptable as a resistance organization among political sectors worldwide. The most recent acceptance overture was made by the former US president Jimmy Carter, who visited Gaza this June and asked the European Union to take Hamas off the charts as a terrorist organization.

It should come as no surprise that a terrorist organization like Hamas, which has killed and wounded thousands of Israeli by suicide bombings and rocket fire, is now accepted as a legitmate governing body. If Iranian President, Ahmedinejad is invited to open a UN Conference on Human Rights and is then invited to meet with the Swiss President, then Western embrace of Hamas is just around the corner.

In the meantime, Sderot and southern Israel can only gear up for another round of rocket fire in the near future.

If Iranians really want to know where all their money from the sale of oil is going to they only have to look at 3 places: Their nuclear program which IS attempting to build an Nuclear bomb, Hamas and Hezbollah. With poverty in their own land, food prices soaring and violent crackdown on dissent, Iran is more concerned with providing weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah, then anything else. If you ever wondered where the Kassams that Hamas still fires into Sderot and the rest of Israel come from, look no further than Iran.

by Anav Silverman

In a region where rockets have hammered civilian residents for the past eight years, the local Sderot Cinemateque remains a popular pastime for residents looking to enjoy a film. As the only rocket-proof cinema in Israel, the Sderot Cinemateque was built eight years ago, right around the time when the first Qassam slammed into Sderot.

The rocket-proof cinema allows local residents to enjoy a film uninterrupted when the rocket alarm, or Tzeva Adom sounds to warn residents of impending Qassams from Gaza. It remains a popular hangout regardless of rocket fire.

A week ago, I had the opportunity to watch a film at the Cinemateque during the eighth annual Cinema South Festival which was held from June 7-12. The festival features the films of graduate students studying in the Department of Film & TV at the local Sapir College. The festival also screened Israeli films that were awarded top prizes abroad as well as international films from Mexico, Hong Kong, and France.

International festival guests included filmmakers Carlos Reygadas from Mexico, Thierry Michel from Belgium, Osvalde Lewat-Hallade of Cameroon and Abi Feijo from Portugal among many others.

I had the opportunity to watch Ajami, one of the featured films of the festival,along with the hundreds of other area residents and international guests. Ajami, named after the largest Arab neighborhood in Jaffa, was co-directed by Israeli Yaron Shani and Jaffa-born Arab, Scandar Copti. The film tells the story of two Muslim Arab brothers and is set against the background of a revenge murder, gangs, Bedouin revenge squads, a Christian Arab godfather and Israeli police.

Ajami was filmed in Arabic -and most of the actors were from the Ajami neighborhood. The mostly Israeli audience at the Sderot cinemateque, myself included, followed along by reading the Hebrew subtitles below.

The film has won international acclaim and was shown in France’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival this past May.

In an interview with the New York Times, the directors of the film, Copti and Shani described their relationship outside of directing of the film, to which both wrote the script. When Shani’s city, Ashdod, was targeted by Gaza rockets in the recent war, Copti called him and said “Take your daughter and your wife and leave.” According to the NYT article, Shani does the same for Copti. Both the directors and the cast where present at the screening in Sderot.

There was something quite unique about watching Ajami in an Israeli rocket-proof theater on the Gaza border. In area that has been devastated by rockets and trauma, it is cultural events like the Cinema South Festival which brings hope for a normal reality that citizens on both sides of the Gaza border continue to seek.

Strange that a movie theater has to be bomb-proof, isn’t it? But that is the reality of life in Sderot. Sderot is a small town that has faced the brunt of rocket attacks for 9 years now. Israel was guaranteed that if they “ethnically cleansed” Gaza of all Jews the rockets attacks would cease. The Israelis did just that in 2005, and the attacks got worse.

Now President Obama is singing the same song: “If you “ethically clean” Judea and Sameria of all Jews, there will be peace!”

Right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn for those who believe this lie to buy.

Unless the PA is willing to be demilitarilized, there can never be peace. Strange as that sounds, it is not Israel who is anti-peace (regardless of what the Useful Idiots of Free Gaza keep saying), but it is the thugs and murderers of Hamas and the PA who will never accept a Jewish nation, never accept Israel and never stop their attacks.

Yet the world loves Hamas. It cries make peace with Hamas. How can one make peace with them when they have openly stated that their goal is the total destruction of Israel and the death to all Jews world-wide?

Again I ask you, my reader to pray for the people of Sderot, to pray for an permanent end to the rocket attacks, and if you are able to, to donate a few coins to the Sderot Media Center. They do such good work in the city of Sderot. Just click here and follow the instructions. All the funds collected go directly to helping the people of Sderot.