Mortar Shell in Bethlehem's Path
Ashkelon's Industrial Park Hit
Bethlehem lies in the West Bank. A group of Palestinian Christians were going through on their way to Bethlehem for Christmas when a mortar shell landed at Israel's passenger crossing with Gaza. They were just missed.
Ashkelon is one of Portland, Oregon's sister cities. Baltimore, Maryland also is their sister city. It has been of great interest to us. One reason is that it has the only hospital in the area in which both Palestinians and Israelis use.
Abt 100 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza at Israel in the past two days. Though no one was killed, there has been property damage. All the Israelis numbering in the tens of thousands have been told to stay indoors. The children are all panic-stricken here. So the civilians are under a terrible ordeal, nevertheless. It is a miracle that there were no deaths at this rate. Ashkelon's Industrial Park, which lies south of the city, was hit by a long-range-rocket, one probably procured from Iran.
Despite all this, Israel's Defense Ministry planned on opening two cargo crossings Friday. They do not want any humanitarian crisis, but intend to keep up the pressure to stop the incessant attacks.
The Palestinian President Abbas, recognized only in the West Bank, made his first visit to Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank. 500 Jews live there in several neighborhoods. Unlike the USA, he finds this intolerable to have someone living there who are is not a Palestinian Arab. He demanded that the settlers get out. "Hebron is ours, and they have to leave if they want peace," he said. I find this shocking as an American and an Israeli where I had many Palestinians living in my building in Safed, Israel. My apartment was on David Eliazar, right across the street from the junior high where all sorts of children attended. I had several Circassians in my English class. Hebron was originally a Jewish city that underwent a slaughter by Arabs in 1929 when 700 Jews lived there. Hebron lies 18 miles south of Jerusalem. It is an ancient Jewish city full of history for the Jews. It now has 170,000 Palestinians living there.
Israel's Ehud Barak has made an appeal to Gazan citizens to pressure their Hamas terrorist leaders to stop the attacks. By nightfall 3 rockets and 15 mortar shells had exploded in Israel. Evidently the citizens couldn't stop the terrorism, as I explained in yesterday's blog.
Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak had a meeting with Tzipi Livni and is pushing restraint but she has had it. She told him that "enough is enough," "When there's shooting, there's a response. " I'm sure that Egypt would never put up with Israel firing barrages like they have been receiving without retaliation.
Israel has been warning the terrorists and the world that they will have to take responsibility to stop the attacks. This is going to be a difficult task since terrorst launchers are always placed in crowded areas for this very reason. In February, Netanyahu will possibly be elected as Prime Minister again. He is advocating tough action against Palestinian militants. Livni says she feels the same. I'm not sure if Israel can wait for Netanyahu to take over and retaliate. It could happen pretty soon.
The Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon has a lot of rockets stored. Last year two were fired into Israel. Now the Lebanese army officers said their troops discovered 7 Katusha rockets set up with timers ready to fire near the border with Israel. Their troops were dismantling them.
Update: GREAT NEWS. PASTOR HAGEE OF CUFI HAS GIVEN BARZILAI HOSPITAL IN ASHKELON A DONATION OF ONE MILLION TO FORTIFY THE HOSPITAL AGAINST ROCKET ATTACKS!!!!!!!!! Giant thanks to this wonderful organization and for all it does for Israel. PASCA (Portland Ashkelon Sister City Association) will send a letter of appreciation to them in Texas.
The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia; Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder,D.Phil,Editor-in-Chief