Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Consequences of Breaking Faith

One of the unexpected lessons of parenthood for me is the degree one learns to know fear as a state of being. Before parenthood I was fearless, and since parenthood, I have come to know fear in such an intimate way. And while in the midst of fear it’s true - time does slow down so that every moment carries the full weight of an eternity spent in hell.

Every parent who has witnessed their child have an grave accident, every parent who has stood vigil as their child slips into the grips of a serious illness or who has received the dreaded call advising them that their beloved son or daughter has been injured knows this demon.

I reminded of my own sojourns into the heart of fear when I read of the kassam attacks launched yesterday which left two fourteen year old boys gravely injured in Israel and but for grace it might have been my beloved 14 year old son. Jerusalem Post reports:
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the Kassam attack on Sderot that wounded two ninth-grade boys, one critically, on Tuesday evening. The rocket was the seventh to have been fired at Sderot since Tuesday morning.

Shortly after 10 p.m., the Red Alert alarm sounded throughout Sderot; 10 seconds later, the rocket landed near a group of schoolchildren who were headed for the nearest shelter. Ninth-graders Matan Cohen and Adir Bassad, however, had no time to reach the shelter and were hit by shrapnel. The two were evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, where doctors began operating. (..)

Doctors told an Israel Radio interviewer shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday that Bassad, who suffered hits to his chest and stomach, was not yet stabilized, and a surgical team was battling to save his life. Cohen, whose major wound was to his leg, was reported stabilized. A number of other people were reported in shock.

One of the medics who treated the boys reported that one of them was likely to lose his legs. One of the boys had a bone sticking out of one of his legs, he said, and the other's ankle was completely twisted. Meanwhile, the scene outside was chaotic as agitated residents came out of their homes to survey the damage. Cars windows were smashed, and the upstairs windows of homes in the vicinity were completely shattered. Frustration and anger were the prevailing emotions at the scene of the attack. "Our children are getting hurt over here and nobody's doing anything about this," one resident shouted.

So much for the alleged harmlessness of Kassams or the Olmert Administration policy of restraint when confronted by flagrant violations of the “truce”. An emergency security meeting was held by the Olmert Administration after the harm done these two young boys which has only just now freed the IDF to act to when it observes imminent kassam attacks from being launched reports the Jerusalem Post:
Israel will continue to adhere to the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and will demand that the Palestinians take immediate steps against those firing Kassam rockets, it was decided at the end of an emergency meeting between Prime Minster Ehud Olmert and leaders of the security establishment on Wednesday morning.

The meeting was called after the previous night's rocket attack on Sderot that wounded two boys, one critically. Nevertheless, Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz instructed the security establishment to target Kassam rocket launching cells, something IDF troops have refrained from doing in recent weeks.

The defense establishment has been instructed to take pinpoint action against the rocket-launching cells," Olmert's office said after the morning meeting. "At the same time, Israel will continue to abide by the cease-fire."

It astounds me that any government would order its security to forces to idly stand down when it observes a terrorist cell making preparations to launch a rocket attack against its’ own civilian population base, but apparently, maintaining this sham of a ceasefire was far more important than fulfilling a government’s primarily reason for being – the security of its people.

And it is only now when the children of Sderot bleed in the streets the government gives the IDF permission to take action against imminent attacks is nothing less than a travesty of the highest order. What cold comfort Olmert Administration offers to the parents of the children of Sderot. It almost makes me wonder if Olmert is aspiring to be the first Jewish Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

I can only hope that the families of those two boys live to witness their sons dance at their weddings.

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