Beyond the Cusp

July 14, 2019

The Forgotten People are the Israeli Public

 

We hear almost incessantly about the plight of the Palestinian Arabs never stopping to wonder how their lives differ from that of Israelis. We are referring to daily life along with the occasional trip to see a doctor, go to Tel Aviv to get goods not available in our town, take a trip to Jerusalem to visit government offices or to simply look at all the sights or a myriad of other items. The first things we will talk about are the regular obstacles and things which make up an average week. Should we decide to go to either mall in town, there will be the checkpoint where we walk through a magnetometer checking for metal no matter how small and any bags you have are gone through by one of the people at the checkpoint. Just to get this out of the way, there are checkpoints all over Israel even to include restaurants, office buildings, train stations and on and on meaning that it is possible to have to pass through three or four or more on a badly planned day. Additionally, there are security cameras in places throughout town. Some are looking for shoplifters while others are actually for security. Checkpoints and monitoring cameras are simply part of life in our current state of the world. We take them as a necessary part of our being kept protected and safe. Even with all the precautions keeping one safe, often you just worry if you really are being kept as safe as possible, and you accept that some balance has been attempted, but, yes, checkpoints can be a hassle, more so when you are late and barely have time to catch the right train.

 

The biggest difference between residing in Israel and the Palestinian Arab regions is economic. Do not take that to mean that there are no wealthy Palestinian Arabs, as there are many who have gotten quite wealthy often through providing the terrorists with their tools of their trade. Others were favored by the leadership, be they Hamas or Palestinian Authority (PA), and thus given special treatment which provided them with a steady and quite sufficient cash flow. This is much the same as it is in many places except theirs is on steroids. If the PA or Hamas are not getting their “rightful” cut of your business, then you will soon find yourself out of business and replaced with somebody more appreciative. In Israel there are stratification in wealth with some who have become extremely wealthy and those who are barely getting by. The housing makes this quite apparent. The main difference is in Israel the government is restricted by the rule of law under which the government and its officials are constrained to work. The Palestinian Arab governments are rule of man where the people with political power can use such unrestrained for their own purposes. In Israel everything lives within the same set of rules, not so much under the PA and even worse under Hamas. Your opportunities being greater in Israel is largely due to the fact that the government is constrained and not taking half of the profits and using it in a terror war against Israel. This also puts a damper on the Israeli economy as there is the added cost of providing security which requires a virtual war footing 24/7 and yet Israel has managed to be a successful economic nation.

 

There are a few things which Israelis suffer through silently, for the most part with this article an exception, which the Palestinian Arabs do not suffer of which the most obvious is the fear of being caught in a terrorist bombing. We hear some claiming that they have to fear being caught in a bombing raid from Israeli fighter jets, this we will get to in a later paragraph. Then there are terrorist attacks such as stabbings, vehicular ramming, shootings, stones slinging and other forms of attacks. Fortunately, these are a rarity in our little town, probably because we are considered to be in the boondocks and rarely merit attention, which can be a good thing. Still, when we take a trip to Haifa, our chance of being in a terror attack likely doubles, Tel Aviv it becomes four-fold and going to Jerusalem makes such nearly ten-fold a problem and we will not even talk of Hevron or visiting Joseph’s tomb or other places which require visiting around 2:00 AM with a full IDF escort platoon or company as if the visit is discovered, the visitors will require a military styled extraction as a riot with fire-bombs, rocks, bottles and anything else being hurled at the “invasive Jew.” Even visiting the Temple Mount, one runs a risk of having a riot break out or a shooting to occur threatening their safety. Visiting the Western Wall one can sometimes find that there are those from upon the Temple Mount hurling sometimes sizable rocks down on those praying below and this is a three to four story fall where the rocks pick up their share of momentum. All of these terrorist threats do not exist for the Palestinian Arabs as the Jews are not seeking to murder every last one of them as they are attempting, or at least desiring, for us.

 

About that threat of being caught in an Israeli airstrike, that is a fairly rare occurrence with the exception of when there is open warfare. If one reads the reports on the Israeli retaliatory strikes, they will find that any number of buildings have been hit and there are no or extremely few casualties and rarely fatalities resulting. The IDF is ordered to strike buildings known to be vacant and often when an Israeli strike has been provoked, Hamas or the PA make sure to keep their forces out of harms way. Further, Israel targets military forces and structures and attempt to avoid civilian structures with the exception of targeted strikes on leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups. When strikes are formulated by the Palestinian Arabs, they target Israeli civilians and often the most vulnerable, our children. One deadly example is pictured below where a mortar struck a kindergarten play area fortunately a mere hour before the children arrived. The attacks are often planned to coincide with the times when children are on their way to or from classes. Even the disjointed and varied schedule has little effect as they simply observe and choose the best times for killing the children to attack. Israeli strikes are usually executed in the early, early morning when there are few if any people who might be hurt or worse. That is a major difference. Israel attempts to minimize civilian casualties while the terror groups target Israeli civilians, which includes sometimes Israeli Arabs.

 

Remains of Tail Section of Mortar Striking Kindergarten Play Area

Remains of Tail Section of Mortar Striking Kindergarten Play Area

 

Mind you, there is one threat which actually targets our little town along with everywhere within Israel, and that is Hezballah. Hezballah is a terror army under direct control of Iran who also has provided them with weaponry including a large supply of rockets and missiles. The estimates range around one-hundred-fifty-thousand rockets and missiles. The fortunate break, if it can be considered as one, is that as we are a smaller city and reside rather close to the Lebanon border, the rockets (rarely missiles as we do not have targets that important to the terrorists) they strike us with have smaller warheads, usually between fifteen and forty pounds of high explosive or incendiary agents (see tables below). Still, having three to five hundred of such projectiles striking in and around your town can make for a really bad day. Have it happen for ten, twenty or over thirty days in a row and life approaches unbearable. This is something which, believe it or not, you get accustomed to as just one additional potential threat which can ruin one’s life. We understand that the damage caused by these “smaller” warheads is nothing compared to four-hundred-pound warheads on their larger missiles. Still, one really does not wish to be anywhere close to a missile strike. These threats were much of the impetus for the development of Iron Dome which is capable of severely reducing the risk for Israelis being struck in any such attack. The problem should Iran order Hezballah to start launching their rockets and missiles in great numbers, when they are launching hundreds of these every hour, even the Iron Dome has its limitations.

 

Hezballah Rocket and Missile Types and Sizes

Hezballah Rocket and Missile Types and Sizes

 

There is one other threat which Israelis face that the Palestinian Arabs only need worry about misfires or faulty guidance systems, and that is the threat of an attack directly from Iran. Such an attack would most likely be targeting Tel Aviv metropolitan region, nowhere in Israel is all that far outside of this area and thus potentially could be struck. Iran would only be firing missiles and there is the potential for these warheads to carry anything from explosives and incendiaries to nerve agents, biological agents and other chemical agents. The nerve, chemical and biologic agents are all qualified as weapons of mass destruction and constitute war crimes should they be employed. Iran could not care less about such niceties. They would launch anything and everything if it might add to the body count in Israel. This includes nuclear warheads should Iran possess such weapons, and we fear they have a stock of nuclear warheads and potentially thermonuclear warheads. These missiles would need be intercepted by David’s Sling or the Arrow systems which are designed to intercept ballistic missiles, exactly the variety Iran would utilize in such an attack. Are they as effective as the Iron Dome? We need remember that we only know of the effectiveness of the Iron Dome because it has been tested in actual conditions during the last set of rocket barrages out of Gaza launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We hope to never find out exactly how well the anti-ballistic missile systems work as we would just as soon avoid any situation under which they would be tested. The fact that the United States placed a THAAD system in Israel to provide further defensive capabilities should Iran attack Israel is another sign of how serious the situation has become. This was a precaution provided for these times when tensions between the United States and Iran are running high and keeping in mind that Iran has promised to destroy Israel within an hour after any American attack upon Iranian assets. This means that Iran already has missiles targeting Israel ready for launch as soon as the word is given. But you get used to such things.

 

Life in Israel is good and always a bit interesting. Fortunately, these interesting items mostly include trying something new for lunch, watching the local schools play sports, wondering if the movie will be any good, and other normal items. Then, in the back of your mind, you have these other little elements which cause an entirely different kind of excitement, the not so pleasant kind. We all know of the threat and sometimes even discuss what we expect, what we should expect and what we fear we need to expect. One-hundred-fifty-thousand rockets and missiles is a terrible and real threat. Hezballah is the largest and best armed non-state military. The reality is that Hezballah is to Lebanon what the IRGC is to Iran. So, the next time somebody complains about how the Palestinian Arabs have to pass through checkpoints, please inform them that Israelis also are required to pass through checkpoints as part of their everyday lives as well. When their complaint is that the Palestinian Arabs have such a poor economy compared to Israel, tell them it is their terrorist governments which steal most of the funds and take a lion’s share of the economy to operate their terrorist attacks and to line their own pockets. And lastly, when they claim that the Palestinian Arabs reside under constant threat of attack, please do not let that lie pass unchallenged as the attacks Israel directs are targeting buildings used by the terror outfits and Israel attempts to minimize casualties while the threats against Israelis are targeting the public at large. Finally, there is always the threat sitting on the northern border of Israel in the form of Hezballah and the threat off in the east known as Iran, and that last threat very probably is a nuclear armed state. The main difference is that the Israelis do not have a propaganda system in place around the world financed by billions of petro-dollars and supported on virtually every college and university campus in the forms of BDS and the plethora of Palestinian Arab rights groups and other groups disguised as human rights groups which are in reality anti-Israel teams used to attack any time Israel defends herself. These are the realities which are clouded in a storm of anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic hatred which is poisoning much of the Western World and already has inundated most of the third world nations. Strip away the lies and propaganda and the picture radically changes, but we do not expect such a miracle for the time being and still hold out hope the Messiach will soon arrive and all will be repaired one way or the other.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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