According to several reports – Hamas has “officially” ended the “truce” that has lasted for the past few months. What this means is that Israel is likely to be targeted with rockets and missiles (60 or more in the last week). Because we are heading to elections, the government will not want to appear weak and so, perhaps for the first time in years, may well act decisively rather than risk the political damage and lost votes of the entire southern region (at least).
A few years ago, after such a barrage, Hezbollah decided to take advantage of the trouble on the southern front and started heating up the north. They shot thousands of katyushas at Israel’s northern settlements, driving over one hundred thousand residents to flee or suffer under the bombardment. Over 100 people were killed, hundreds wounded, millions of dollars in damages. Nothing says they will this time again – on the other hand, they have tens of thousands (40,000 last I heard) rockets – more than they had before the last war (thanks to Syria and Iran’s restocking).
In a few weeks – Elie moves to the north for training – that puts him back in range of Lebanon/Syria. And last week there was talk of moving his unit down to Gaza. He tells me that they will put them far enough back that they have the ability to hit all of Gaza with their artillery – and out of range of the kassem missiles (I think…definitely out of range of the mortars)…but probably not out of range of the katyushas.
Elie tells me that I shouldn’t worry – that the katyushas are not accurate and can’t really be aimed. They are simply shot in a direction, meant to terrorize and why, he asks, would the Palestinians try to aim at a small base in the desert when they can aim at a large Israeli city like Ashkelon and terrorize many.
Elie tells me that I shouldn’t worry – that with the first warning of an incoming missile, he and his troops can quickly get inside the armored vehicles for shelter. They are fortified and would/should protect them.
Elie tells me that I shouldn’t worry – that Israeli artillery is accurate and can hit the targets, that he’s trained and knows what to do. I am once again amazed at my ability to function on one level, even smile and teach a class and answer questions and converse on the phone while having this place in my heart that desperately wants to call and ask him where he is, what he is doing, if he has heard of any plans to move the unit. Hamas has canceled the truce – what that means for Israel is clear. They have restocked, they are ready.
Elie tells me that I shouldn’t worry – what an absurd thing to say to a mother.