Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13

NYC

Latest ceasefire expires tonight at 5pm New York time, which is midnight in Jerusalem, the cradle of civilization, or the center of religion, an arena where man’s ideas are formed, even if they are unformed, and often uninformed.

I am still war-logged, as talks drag on between Israel, Egypt, and a strip ruled by terrorists, using the West Bank, former terrorists standing as a wildcard for the best chance to create a peaceful solution. If the past holds, a fiery chat will end with rocket fire by Hamas, who has already sustained damage though not beyond repair. Worth rebuilding, coastline along whole western side. 



Erez in the north is the crossing where Hamas blocked Gazans from visiting the clinic for wounded. It used to be open, pre-Hamas. It is near Beit Hanoun from where Hamas fired rockets on Israel's coastal cities, Ashqelon and Ashdod, and if you keep going, Tel Aviv.

Stretching toward the sea in the south is Khan Younis. Israelis destroyed a terrorist compound there. The family left when the IDF called and sent an empty bomb as the roof as a knock before a real one, but the family decided suddenly to backtrack and play human shield. Don’t know if game would have worked, but they ran back too late, surprising the IAF who could not stop the ordered strike in time. Like your mom said, once you start crossing the street, don’t turn back, keep going to the other side, so you don’t confuse the drivers. Mom knows best.

In one neighborhood Hamas built more than an Osama-type compound - the whole town was a military base. Shujaiya was inhabited effectively for the military: Hershey Pennsylvania for war, not chocolate. Bombs in hospital, houses, schools, and mosques. The hardest fighting and most IDF deaths came in Shujaiya. You don’t even see it on this or on most other maps. Hershey/Shujaiya was a place kept under wraps. It is in the middle of Gaza (across from Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where a tunnel led and where tunnel terrorists killed IDF soldiers guarding the kibbutz). Shujaiya's hospital was military HQ, the engineering room of the factory, as it were. Here is a video 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O9AHzUKYk8

of its bombing, the after explosions of caches in the basement, and the call between an IDF woman and a Gazan to make sure the hospital was empty. Yes, the IDF telephoned Shujaiya’s hospital. (And someone answered...) Gaza and Israel are neighbors, and you still can sense the strong contact between the sides built up over the pre-Hamas years. Shujaiya will be rebuilt with international funds and hopefully with no more arms. 

Shujaiya and Rafah are where two kidnappings of slain soldier’s bodies took place. Recovering these two bodies is part of today’s negotiations.

Rafah is next to Egypt. As soon as Morsi was deposed, Egypt's military flooded 1,000+ tunnels with sewage from Egypt's side of the border to stop Hamas entering. Hamas smuggled goods on which it took 25% tax, the bulk of its revenue, but also created terror chaos. Egypt did not want Hamas' Muslim Brotherhood anymore than they wanted Morsi's, whom they luckily threw out before he could convert Egypt to fundamentalism (like Turkey).

Israel and Egypt as allies, against all odds, against Hamas.

New axes are forming, in unexpected ways.

Here is how I think it lines up: 

Standing with Israel         
Egypt, US, China, Australia, Canada, India, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia

Standing with Hamas
Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Qatar, Russia, Africa, South America

Fill in other countries. Arabs are on both sides. So is Europe... they will get tested over timeJews, the wandering people, live in both axes, and in Israel they live all mixed together, with freedom of religion and a strong army that politely calls and knocks before entering.

I hope this ceasefire is final, because politeness is hard under rocket fire, and Hamas may not agree to cease firing while it still has 3,000 rockets.

If talks stall and firing resumes, I just hope Israel keeps it in the air.

Uh oh, Middle East time, not 5pm yet here or midnight there, but rockets are firing.