Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Sounds of fear

The weather news are unrelenting, snow and coldness have attacked the globe. A winter in Negev dessert means, above all, hard rains which, going together with low degrees, make perceived temperature significantly lower than thermomethers show. Last days we've experienced almost extreme downpours. Waterfalls of rain were streaming down the streets, what made it difficult to go through, cause the level of water reached a height of the ankles and this situation didn't change for few days. The hard rain had also bad influence for all electric installations in local buildings, cause many of them are not air-tight and many people in this town has more important expenditures than preparation for this kind of difficulties, which happen only few weeks during year. But despite this invonvinience, a water is a blessing bringing life in the most basic, agrocultural meaning. It allows plants to grow and gives birth to fresh green in these spreads of stony and sandy land.

The word 'rain' can be doubly understood, in its first, traditional aquatic meanings and more metaphorically, as the rocket rain which fall down on this all over the year and very often isn't noticed neither by Israeli and foreign media. In December we've had three or four (nobody really counts) rocket attacks, but only one has been mentioned on the internet version of Yedioth Ahronoth. People somehow are accustomed to the fact, that the southern district of Israel is a rocket-rainy area. Frankly, the sound of rockets flying over Sderotians' heads is hearable more often than Tzeva Adom informs. January and February were more peaceful, althought sometimes the sounds of explosions wake up citizens in the middle of night, but nobody knows what happened, where and why.

Apart from the fact that the falling water is a real blessing for this land in the environemntal meaning, it brings also the second, maybe not so obvious advantage. The water mixed with powdery sand and undersized stones, which are typical ingredient of the soil here, makes viscous and heavy mud which helps to overwhelm military tunnels from Gaza, which are supposed to be alternative way of illegal transfer to Israel in order to attack civilians. Together with the last series of stabbings in all country, it's the source of the serious fear among citizens in this area, mostly because of its unpredictability. When there is a rocket, locals can be informed by the Tzeva Adom and generally feel protected by IDF. The actions taken from the ground are unexpected and happen without any warning, so people cannot be prepared to defence. 

This matter became especially intensive last time when the silence of night and the calm of a bedtime has been started to be interrupted by talks and sounds of digging and this problem appears not only in Sderot, but in many towns and kibuttzes around. People, who don't want to unveil their identity, say that they hears all these weird sounds in their households. They can't sleep because of the noise of talks and the Kongo machine (used for digging) coming from unidentified source. Some of them thinks sometimes that they misheard something or maybe even some psychiatrical problems have started, what is also not unusual or surprising among the citizens of this area and in most of cases is caused by the war stress and traumas. But the light of day reveals the dangerous true that terrorists are trying to find another way to attack the people, whose only fault is the fact that they are Israeli Jews.

Citizens required a proper security and naturally the Ministry of National Defense is doing their bests to protect civilians, citizens of Gaza can see and hear digging wirk on Israel's side as well. The issue is serious. IDF have been checking every related report by residents in the Gaza periphery. Actually, the special commission is working on the new system which would help to find and destroy new tunnels quickly. US government set 120 millions $ for the 'Israeli invention' for detecting and identying tunnels. Heedless of the fact that some jihad soldiers were perished during their work on tunnels previous week, the Hamas calls for continuation of building the tunnels and making them even more advanced and better developed than during the last Gaza war in 2014. Simultaneously, the collapsing of tunnels isn't a new phenomenon in this area. Each time when there is at least between 100 and 130 mm of rain, the tunnels cave in.
Israel and Hamas have exchanged calming messages, assuring one another that they are not interested in open conflict, but nobody knows how long this quasy-peaceful period can last, especially in the light of these events.

(The post has been based on the information taken from the articles in the Jerusalem Post, Yedioth Ahronoth and Times of Israel)

Photo by The Times of Israel, overlooking the Gaza Strip