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Southern Israel Tenses After Hamas Fires Rocket Into Israel

November 5, 2014

“Who will rise up for me against the wicked?  Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?  Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. … When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”   (Psalm 94:16–17, 19)

On Friday night, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip into Eshkol, Israel.

In response to the rocket, Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Haim Yellin expressed concern saying, “The military achievement of [Operation] Protective Edge is slipping away, without a political strategy to give real quiet to southern residents and all the citizens of Israel.”

After the rocket landed, some area residents began preparing once again for war, accusing officials of neglect, since Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now grips nine out of 10 children in Sderot, which is about one kilometer from Gaza.

Children of Israel's south-Peres-Operation Protective Edge

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres tries to bring some joy into the lives of children in southern Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

Recently, an international psychological expert concluded an assessment of Israeli children growing up near the Gaza border, confirming the widespread damage to their psychological health from the barrage of rocket fire.

According to Eliasz Gocal-Czerwinski, who is the child affairs adviser to the International Human Rights Council’s secretary-general, throughout this region, Israel’s children are under a “kind of emotional siege.”   (Israel Today)

“From my point of view as a clinical psychologist, [I am] concerned about the needs of youth and their development, [which] you achieve not through economics, but through … having a stable and safe environment,” Gocal-Czerwinski said.  (Cry for Zion)

“As you can see, this isn’t safe, not for the Palestinians and especially not for the Israeli children,” Gocal-Czerwinski said.  “You look at people 40–50 years old (who face such traumas in childhood), and the constant fear for their lives, the instability becomes a part of their personality.”

Israel responded to Friday’s rocket fire by closing its two crossings on the Israel-Gaza border to everything but humanitarian aid, which Hamas negotiator Moussa Abu Marzouk rebuked as a violation of the Hamas-Israel ceasefire.

“This is irresponsible behavior and contrary to the understandings reached at the beginning of the ceasefire,” Marzouk said.  (Times of Israel)


Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony on September 13, 1993.

At a rally on Saturday night to honor the memory of Yitzhak Rabin (19 years after his assassination, Yellin urged a military response to either Hamas or “rogue organizations” who attack Israeli citizens but also pressed for a diplomatic strategy.

In Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, Yellin addressed part of his public message to former Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh; several of family members have been treated in Israeli hospitals over the last few years.

“Exchange your missiles for words, swap the tunnels and the darkness you give to your people for the building of a vision, for light, universities, education,” Yellin said to Haniyeh.   “Think about it, if you could send your family members during the war to Ichilov (Hospital), then think what great cooperation we could have if you put terrorism aside and extended your hand to diplomacy.”  (JPost)

Yellin added to the rally crowd, “We have a country with great potential, but for years it has not been able to provide its citizens with real security and the horizons for a real peace.”

“As long as there isn’t a diplomatic solution, we will continue to live from war to war to war,” he said.

Yellin indicated that while the rockets start at a close range, affecting southern Israelis, it is only a matter of time before the center of the country sees fire again.

“The hourglass has already been turned ahead of the next war,” he told reporters. “Today it is Eshkol, tomorrow Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and so the military and political response must be in accordance [with the threat].”

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