Posted tagged ‘Sderot’

Has Hamas given Israel’s local economy a boost?

July 25, 2010

The fall out from the Turkish flotilla, originally sent to bolster the Hamas regime in Gaza, continues to reverberate in the commercial world.

There is no doubting it. Until June 2010, bilateral Turkish-Israel trade was continuing to reach new heights – over US$1.5 billion annually. And the defense sector was one of the main beneficiaries.

Today, Israeli and UN led commissions of inquiry fill up the news print. On the ground, 10s of thousands of Israeli tourists have abandoned Antalya and other Turkish resorts in droves – replacing them with the hotspots of Crete, Cyprus and Eilat. Several Israeli supermarket chains have declared that they will order less products from Turkey.

Britex is a small Israeli importer and distributor of textiles. As their Turkish suppliers have raised prices, the company has responded by moving to other sources. According to their CEO, orders are up 30% ever since.

Negev Textile Ltd is located in southern Israel near Sderot, which has seen thousands of missiles land on the town from Gaza in the past decade. The company dyes textiles and has suffered from Turkish price competition in recent years. Suddenly, its all change and the clients have started to storm back.  

When Fatah launched the Intifada in 2000, little consideration was given for how the local population may suffer economically. Much the same can be said for the Turkish government, where its support for the flotilla has been followed by a down turn in parts of its own economy. 

And in the meantime, the tactics of Hamas has resulted in a micro boom for some Israeli manufacturers.

Gaza – with peace like that, who needs….

December 21, 2008

Thursday morning. 6.30am. I am sitting quietly in my kitchen, when the radio announced another Kassam alert in the Sderot region. Hence began the last day of a 6 month ceasefire, when Hamas and its allies have launched 236 non-guided rockets and mortars into Israel.

Move forwarded another  two and half days. As my peaceful Sabbath ended, my mobile beeped a message at me. 10 rockets and 24 mortars had been fired on the day of rest. The targets – Bedouins, Jews, tourists, whoever was in the path of terror.

This has become a humanitarian problem! Over the past few years, over 20% of Sderot’s population have been fled. Trauma levels became intolerable a long time ago. The papers show pictures of kids running in to schools, escaping the path of the deadly weapons.

Yes, during the truce, Israel has responded sporadically. So, is there a difference between the two sides? Well consider these facts.

Christian communities. In Jerusalem, the municipality has been handing out Christmas trees to the needy. In Gaza this year, the American school and the YMCA have been bombed, and the culprits have not been apprehended. Strange, as hamas controls the region with an iron fist.

Prisoners. Last week, as part of a good will package, Israel released around 230 Palestinians prisoners, all of whom had received constant Red Cross supervision. Hamas holds one prisoner, Corporal Gilad Shalit, who has spent over 900 days in captivity, without one visit from any overseas go-between.

Protests. A quick search will find a myriad of  overseas bloggers, resident in Israel, whose writings strongly oppose the country. In Gaza, the distribution of newspapers such as Al Ayyam and Al Hayat al Jadida are prevented. they do not support Hamas opinions.

Pilgrims: The New York Times reported that Hamas refused to allow 2,000 pilgrims to join the Haj pilgrimage. In parallel, Israeli authorities are working even closer with the Bethlehem municipality to ensure that Christians are able to visit the holy sites over Christmas….And so the list goes on.

Before the truce ended, Israel sent a high ranking envoy to Egypt to see if the agreement could be extended. The Hamas leadership made an announcement, carried on the international media, that such a deal was not on offer.

Would you allow a “peace” like that on your borders? Is that the kind of future you want for the Middle East? What will make Hamas learn that this is not the way to bring quality of life for any of the people involved?

Kassam rockets – how terror against civilians becomes permissible

November 21, 2008

Ashkelon is a growing costal city. For tourists, it is replete with Roman ruins. In biblical times, the Jewish prophet, Samson, conquered the Philistines nearby. Today, Ashkelon’s new power station provides Hamas – ruled Gaza with approximately 70% of its energy requirements.

Ashkelon is home to over a 100,000 citizens, trying to live their lives in peace.

Instead, the residents live with the ever present threat of Kassam rockets, launched almost daily from Gaza. Take November 14th, when 4 of the 122mm Grad class rockets were launched at the city. One landed in the main shopping centre.

For those who do not know, a rocket is not a sophisticated weapon and cannot be properly directed, unlike a missile. Thus, a rocket’s targets are randomly picked out. Frightening! In fact, it’s downright immoral and disgusting.

There are those who try to explain away the actions of the perpetrators. The weapons are used for defensive purposes only, it is claimed. But Ashkelon has no military structures. Its hospital (which treats Palestinians as well), the academic college, schools, and even the power station itself – they have all been targeted by Palestinian factions.

Others argue that the Palestinians have a legal and moral right to reply to incurssions by the Israeli military into Gaza. OK, but none of that gives Hamas or the Islamic Jihad a mandate to target civilians, aimlessly. 

Check out this link. It shows Kassam missiles, being fired aimlessly from a school vicinity. If you ask me, the groups responsible for such actions are using politically acceptable spin to cover their own crimes.

I spoke to a leading businessman, who lives in Ashkelon with his family. He explained that an outsider cannot understand what it is like to cope . You may get a few seconds notice, before the “incoming” lands. The proverbial “whoosh” becomes as chilling as the deafening explosive destruction of the final impact. Where did it land? In the neighbour’s garden? The industrial zone? The roof of our local grocery?

Why should they have to live like that?

Ashkelon is under attack. And the world does not care! The UN’s meagre response is to demand that Israel desists from protecting itself against the launchers of terror. Viva Munich and 1938…. only 70 years ago.