- When they hear the siren sound, Israelis have 15 seconds to run into a shelter before rockets hit.
- On Tuesday, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of rockets into Israel from Gaza.
- The attacks could do lasting damage to the peace process in several different ways.
The siren blares. You have 15 seconds to sprint to the nearest shelter before an incoming rocket hits your city.
Imagine being old, or infirm, or a child who is alone. Imagine being a parent with too many children to carry by yourself. Imagine living in a place where you wake up in the morning anxious about whether or not there’s a shelter right near the street where you need to run your errands.
Israelis don’t need to imagine. For many of them, the sirens and the rockets are their reality.
On Tuesday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel from Gaza, according to reports from the ground. Israeli critics consistently point to the lopsided ratios of casualties on the Israeli side compared to the Palestinian side – likely, today will be no different. But that no one has died is due not to a lack of Palestinian effort but to Hamas’s general ineptitude and Israel’s Iron Dome system.
However, many in the political arena have already issued condemnations. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, tweeted that “it is UNACCEPTABLE to indiscriminately fire at civilian communities!” He said he is “deeply concerned by today’s rockets fired by Palestinian militants towards Southern Israel, one of which hit close to a kindergarten.”
“Such actions,” he said, “undermine efforts to improve the situation in Gaza.”
Emanuele Giaufret, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel noted that “as kids were preparing for school this morning a barrage of rockets from Gaza fell on Southern Israel. One landed outside a kindergarten.”
“I know the resilience of communities in Southern Israel but indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and to be condemned unreservedly,” he tweeted.
Ireland’s minister of foreign affairs, Simon Coveney, tweeted: “I strongly condemn firing of rockets from #Gaza at Israel today –I continue to advocate strongly for people of Gaza who live in impossible conditions – but this Hamas led violence undermines Palestinian cause + is counterproductive to political progress.”
The damage to the Palestinian cause was made materially clear Tuesday, when many of the buildings in the Gaza strip lost power thanks to an errant rocket that damaged facilities that provide electricity to the strip.
For that, and for much of their suffering, Palestinians can thank Hamas.