Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25

Friday

Day 9 of the War

Woke up to good news. Humanitarian ceasefire. That's a 5-day period when there's no shooting but also no agreement for a lasting calm. By the end of breakfast, news clarified there are still negotiations.

What is the mood here? Already yesterday one could feel the tide turning. The sirens were aimed at high value targets as a last chance of  success: the nuclear energy plant in Dimona, the biological research facility in Rishon, the major city of Tel Aviv, and the crazy barrages in areas next to Gaza to intimidate. Hamas was aiming for shock and awe. A lucky victory would have propelled their oppressive rule. 

Once the IDF got the population out of an area, got it to abandon the human shield stance it was ordered to take and initially complied with, once soldiers got in and looked around, it was so clear - to all locals - and finally to more and more world politicians - what neighbors Israel is dealing with. Missiles and launchers found in a second UN refugee school! Missiles and launchers in their hospital! When the IDF couldn't get the terrorists to stop shelling from the hospital, they made sure it was empty, and had to destroy a hospital to stop rockets. Such a sad state of affairs, all around. So how do Israelis feel? Sad it took 32 lives, including 2 Americans and a Frenchman, to deter rockets and cross-border kidnap attempts. Clear about the necessity of discovering and busting up tunnels. 32 dead. 31 tunnels. Would a ceasefire allow the IDF to keep looking for tunnels? Can the IDF increase the 31 without adding to its 32 and to Gazan casualties? Will Hamas comply? They've acted like thugs. They rule Gaza like a gangland. Gaza deserves better. 

Israelis can't live with that next door. They feel the price was high but that the job must be finished. They want to aim for a long period of quiet, based on mutual prosperity. Israel has always been ready to help the Gazans build enterprises. Israelis excel at making the desert bloom and flourish. And Gaza is not scrubland. The Strip is fully lined by the nicest beach property in the area, with the whitest sand. It's stunningly beautiful there. Bet you didn't even know that. 

Five-day humanitarian ceasefire is not off to a great start. My daughter attended a wedding yesterday, well timed to coincide with a day of no casualties. The soldiers attending saw an arch that was a chupa instead of a wide tunnel opening. Today that same area, Ga'ash, was just now fired upon, along with heavily populated neighborhoods north of Tel Aviv, including the shiva house of a fallen American soldier. While Israelis are steadfast in Operation Protective Edge they are glad to have Egypt as a diplomatic ally in this war; Egypt understands Hamas, and they don't like what they see. They keep trying to broker an agreement, though ceasefire agreements with Hamas haven't always held. In fact they never do. But today we are more optimistic here. The IDF defended this country and 'operation bring Dad here after the first week of war, just as it ends' just may have worked. My phone is glued to my side and I have 2 extra chargers. Maybe it'll be a Shabbat with shalom, sundown is still hours away. Maybe Jacques will even get that hug he said he won't leave without.